The CEO, or Chief Executive Officer, is a corporation’s top person - its leader. The reality of the CEO role varies dramatically between companies. Some CEOs are incredibly hands-on, involving themselves in everything from product development to marketing, hiring, and more. While others weigh-in only on the most critical decisions. A CEO’s level of involvement depends both on the size of the organization as well as the CEO’s management style. And note that the relationship between these factors isn’t always what you’d expect. There are plenty of large-corporation CEOs, for instance, who are incredibly hands-on, just as certain small ones are the opposite.
Broadly speaking, there are two types of CEOs: Founders, and non-founders.
Founder-CEOs are those entrepreneurs who start companies and then, naturally, end up assuming the role of CEO.
Non-founder CEOs can enter companies at any stage, although typically it’s later.
There are plenty of notable longer-term founder-CEO-led companies: Amazon and Meta, to name a few. But the most successful corporations, the ones that last, all eventually end up with a non-founder in top position. This, for you, may be an encouraging thought since it means that yes, youcouldbecome the CEO of your favorite company.
For those interested in the business world’s top role, here’s what you need to know about how to be a CEO.
A CEO, or Chief Executive Officer, is the highest-ranking executive in a company or organization. The CEO is responsible for the overall strategy and direction of the organization, and has ultimate decision-making authority. The CEO is also responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of the company, and for overseeing the work of other executives and departments within the organization. The CEO reports to the board of directors, which is responsible for overseeing the CEO and the overall performance of the company. In smaller organizations, the CEO may also be responsible for specific areas of the business, such as sales, marketing, or finance.
As the highest-ranking executive in a company or organization, the CEO is responsible for setting the overall strategy and direction of the organization. This includes developing long-term plans, setting goals and objectives, and making decisions about the allocation of resources. The CEO is also responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of the company, including overseeing the work of other executives and departments, and making sure that the organization is running smoothly and efficiently.
On a day-to-day basis, the CEO may be involved in a variety of tasks and activities. These may include:
There is no one specific path to becoming a CEO, and the route to this role can vary widely depending on an individual's background, education, and experience. That being said, there are some common steps that many people take in order to become a CEO:
It's also important to note that becoming a CEO can take time, and may require a combination of hard work, dedication, and perseverance. It can also be helpful to seek out mentors or advisors who can provide guidance and support as you work towards this goal.
Some of the most important CEO-skills include:
The age of CEOs in the U.S. and internationally varies widely. Some CEOs are relatively young, having risen through the ranks of a company or organization and taking on the role at a relatively early age. Others may have spent many years working in different companies or industries before becoming a CEO later in their career. Some CEOs are in their 30s or 40s, while others are in their 50s, 60s, or even older. There are no hard and fast rules about the age at which someone becomes a CEO, and the age of a CEO is not necessarily indicative of their ability to lead and manage an organization.
As you’d expect, CEOs can earn a significant salary, depending on the size and success of the organization they lead. According to data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for CEO's was $184,460 as of May 2020. However, this number can easily go into the millions depending on the size of the organization, the industry in which it operates, and the specific skills and experience of the CEO. Some CEOs earn much more than the median wage, often earning millions of dollars per year in salary, bonuses, and other forms of compensation.
It's important to note that the amount of money a CEO earns is not necessarily indicative of their value or effectiveness as a leader. The role of a CEO is complex and multifaceted, and the compensation for the role should reflect the significant responsibilities and challenges that come with it.
There have been many famous CEOs throughout history, and the list of notable figures in this role is constantly evolving as new leaders emerge. Some examples of well-known CEOs from various industries and countries include:
There are many resources available for aspiring CEOs that can help them to develop the skills and knowledge needed for this role. Some options include:
There you have it, everything you need to know about how to be a CEO. Whether you’re just entering the job marketing or a long-time executive, it’s always key to have goals, to believe in yourself, and to set positive intentions. If being the CEO of a company and leading others to success and prosperity is what you want then, certainly, it’s achievable.
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