Top executive responsible for a firm's overall operations and performance. He or she is the leader of the firm, serves as the main link between the board of directors (the board) and the firm's various parts or levels, and is held solely responsible for the firm's success or failure. One of the major duties of a CEO is to maintain and implement corporate policy, as established by the board.
The responsibilities of an organization's CEO are set by the organization's board of directors or other authority, depending on the organization's legal structure. They can be far-reaching or quite limited and are typically enshrined in a formal delegation of authority. Typically, responsibilities include decision maker on strategy and other key policy issues, leader, manager, and executor. The communicator role can involve speaking to the press and the rest of the outside world, as well as to the organization's management and employees; the decision-making role involves high-level decisions about policy and strategy. As a leader of the company, the CEO/MD advises the board of directors, motivates employees, and drives change within the organization. As a manager, the CEO/MD presides over the organization's day-to-day operations. The term refers to the person who makes all the key decisions regarding the company, which includes all sectors and fields of the business, including operations, marketing, business development, finance, human resources, etc. The CEO of a company is not necessarily the owner of the company.
Having a degree from an elite school and an exceptional knowledge of the industry in which the company operates are excellent credentials to have. However, those qualities in and of themselves don't guarantee that a person will make it to the top of the corporate ladder. Personality traits may also play a role in an individual's ability to attain chief executive status.
Typically, CEOs are:
Expert communicators, deal makers, and managers
Extroverts who are eager to go out on the road and tell their company's story
Individuals who are able and willing to present a cohesive vision and strategy to employees
Individuals who are decisive, adaptable and forward-looking.
A CEO’s responsibilities: everything, especially in a startup. The CEO is responsible for the success or failure of the company. Operations, marketing, strategy, financing, creation of company culture, human resources, hiring, firing, compliance with safety regulations, sales, PR, etc.—it all falls on the CEO’s shoulders. Being responsible means that the CEO is the one held accountable for the success of the company’s efforts, across the board. But of course, the CEO doesn’t actually do all that work.
Capital allocation is the CEO’s #4 duty. The CEO sets budgets within the firm. She funds projects which support the strategy, and ramps down projects which lose money or don’t support the strategy. She considers carefully the company’s major expenditures, and manages the firm’s capital. If the company can’t use each dollar raised from investors to produce at least $1 of shareholder value, she decides when to return money to the investors. Some CEOs don’t consider themselves financial people, but at the end of the day, it is their decisions that determine the company’s financial fate.
Easiest to measure is a CEO’s capital allocation skill. In fact, financial measures are the ones made public: earnings and share price. But how can a CEO link those to her actual decisions? Working with her CFO, a CEO can devise financial measures appropriate to her business. Sometimes traditional measures are most appropriate, such as economic value added or return on assets (for a capital-intensive company). Other times, the CEO may want to invent business-specific measures, such as return on training dollars, for a company which values state-of-the-art training for employees. By monitoring several such measures, a CEO learns to link her budget decisions with company outcomes. Ultimately, the CEO’s should be creating more than a dollar of value for every dollar invested in the company. Otherwise, her best bet is to return cash to the shareholders for them to invest in more productive vehicles.