What is meant by a CEO?
Definition: CEO comes from the US and stands for ‘Chief Executive Officer’. In German-speaking countries, the abbreviation CEO is mainly used for the managing director or executive board member of a company, occasionally also for a board chairman or general manager. The “German CEO” largely corresponds to the managing director in his function
The role of a Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
A Chief Executive Officer (CEO) occupies the most senior management position in Anglo-Saxon companies. He bears the main responsibility for business decisions, is the link between the most important committees, represents the company with his person and shapes its image in public.
The exact tasks of the CEO depend on the size, culture and structure of the respective company. In large companies, for example, the CEO restricts himself to the most important strategic decisions and the management of the overall business. In contrast, the CEO in smaller companies usually has a more practical function and also takes care of the operational business.
CEO definition in German
CEO stands for Chief Executive Officer and is usually equated with managing director in German. In practice, the functions usually match. But legally there are differences between ‘GF’ and ‘CEO’. The CEO is also defined inconsistently in different cultures.
CEO instead of managing director: This English term is used more and more frequently in German company descriptions, system representations or means of communication. This can be seen as a result of globalization and the international positioning of many companies, but also the frequent adoption of Anglicisms.
CEO = managing director? These are the differences:
- There can be several managing directors in German companies. According to the Anglo-Saxon understanding, there is only one CEO in every company. He is the sole or highest responsible person at the top of the company
- Unlike the term managing director, the term CEO has no legal relevance in German. Rather, it is used as a functional description. In Anglo-Saxon it has legal force
- The term CEO is used worldwide – but interpreted differently. In many countries, the people referred to as CEOs are not at the top, but at a lower level in the hierarchy. In addition to them, there is, for example, a Chief Financial Officer (CFO) or Chief Operating Officer (COO) in such cases.
CEO: duties and functions
In the German-speaking world, the CEOs are usually responsible for the typical managing director functions. For example, you are responsible for strategic direction, market positioning and the achievement of corporate goals. They form the highest decision-making authority in management. In stock corporations they also report to the board of directors.
The CEO in franchising
In franchising, the term CEO usually refers to the founder or managing director of a franchise system operating as a GmbH. Among other things, he takes on the strategic direction, ensures a convincing positioning, controls the achievement of corporate goals and controls the system headquarters, the company’s own operations and its franchise network. Important tasks: see duties of the franchisor and division of labor in franchising, including, for example, know-how transfer.
If the franchisor operates as a stock corporation, the initiator usually takes on the role of chairman of the board and often later changes to the position of chairman of the supervisory board.
More abbreviations of titles
The following Anglo-Saxon professional titles from management are increasingly being used in local companies:
- CBDO: Chief Business Development Officer
- CCO: Chief Content Officer
- CEO: Chief Executive Officer
- CFO: Chief Financial Officer
- CHRO: Chief Human Resources Officer
- CIO: Chief Information Officer
- CKO: Chief Knowledge Officer
- CMO: Chief Marketing Officer
- COB: Chairman of the Board
- COO: Chief Operating Officer
- CRO: Chief Risk Officer
- CTO: Chief Technology Officer
- CVO: Chief Visionary Officer
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