CEO vs President

Difference Between CEO and President

CEO (chief executive officer) is at the most senior executive position in an organization (mostly an entity with a separate legal existence) who is responsible for making major decisions for the organization and to supervise each and every activity as to whether it is being conducted as per the objectives specified while on the other hand, a President of a company refers to the person who is leader of a particular segment or of critical area in a company instead of leader of the whole company.

Who is a CEO?

The highest-ranking executive in a company is a CEO (Chief Executive Officer). Their primary responsibilities are making corporate decisions, looking after the overall operations, and the resources of the company. The CEO always acts as the main point of communication between the board of directors and corporate operations. The CEO also has a position on the board

The role and responsibilities of the CEO are not fixed buy vary from company to company depending on the size and the overall structure.

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Who is a President?

The President is mainly considered as the leader of the organization. The relationship between CEO and President varies depending on the structure of the organization. The role of the President is loosely defined. The powers of the President vary widely in different companies and these powers can come in practice only by law

In an organization apart from the products, services, and strategies the manpower makes continuous efforts and strives for the organization’s progress. CEO and President are the two key people who hold the strongest position in the organization

CEO vs President Infographics

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Key Differences

  • Chief Executive Officer is the most senior officer in any organization while the President is subordinate to the CEO. Also, the Chief Executive Officer is accountable to the board of directors while the president is accountable to the CEO. Shareholders are the ultimate owners of the company and the Board of directors is accountable to the shareholders
  • President looks at micro-level things and is responsible for handling short-term goals. He/she is responsible for the handling of regular business operationsBusiness OperationsBusiness operations refer to all those activities that the employees undertake within an organizational setup daily to produce goods and services for accomplishing the company's goals like profit generation.read more, logistics, and employee management. On the other hand, the Chief Executive Officer has to look at things from the macro perspective and has a long-term vision. His job is to formulate plans, forecast growth, and strategies for the companies future. In small organizations, the CEO is responsible for taking responsibility for both the micro and macro perspectives
  • CEO’s prime focus is to maximize a company’s wealth which will help him build the legacy and goodwill for his organization. In the case of a public company, these factors are synced in the company’s share price returns. As discussed earlier, Presidents goal is short term hence his prime motive is a year on year profit maximization
  • CEO looks after the plans and President looks after the execution
  • CEO’s motto is ‘Doing right things’ while President moto is ‘Doing the things right’. President strives for efficiency while CEO strives for effectiveness
  • Success to the CEO is organizational substantiality while for the President it is organizational growth
  • Legacy achieved is the way to measure CEO’s performance while the performance of the company is the way to measure Presidents work

Comparative Table

CEOPresident
RankingCEO is considered to have the highest ranking in the organizationPresident is second in charge, and directly below the CEO
RoleIt can be said that the CEO makes a promise to the company and sets the long-term visionThe President is in charge of converting the vision into reality by effective execution and keeping the promise
FunctionOperation Management, strategy formationFinancial management and effective execution of the strategy
Reporting HeadBoard of DirectorsCEO and Board of Directors
Other ResponsibilitiesCEO may also function as the President and the Chairman of the Board of DirectorsMay work as a Chief Operating Officer
SubordinatePresident, CFO, CSO, CAOTop-level management, Vice presidents
Decision LevelMore involved in macro-level decisionsInvolved in micro-level decisions, more involved in employees
Seat in The BoardThe CEO has a permanent seat in the BoardThe President may or may not have a seat in the Board
Key TasksCEO makes sure the board has all the information, they scan the environment for opportunities and growth prospects. They set budgets, make the organization focus in the right direction, build a suitable culture and lead the teamMainly the Presidents task includes implementing objectives, marketing strategies, looking after sales, research and development. Key tasks may also include optimization of processes, design, and framework and shaping the future of business
Measurement of SuccessA CEO’s success is measured by how the company gains a competitive advantage in the market through innovations. CEOs’ performance can be evaluated using metrics like earning per shareLike Earning Per ShareEarnings Per Share (EPS) is a key financial metric that investors use to assess a company's performance and profitability before investing. It is calculated by dividing total earnings or total net income by the total number of outstanding shares. The higher the earnings per share (EPS), the more profitable the company is.read more, return on equity, revenue growth, operational cash flow growth. In case the company is publicly listed then the stock performance over time is the ultimate measure of the success of a CEO’s performanceThe President is the successor of the CEO. The performance of the President is critical on his/her relationship with the CEO. The most difficult part for the President is an organizational relationship. Presidents performance can be measured by the execution gap ie the difference between the promises set by the CEO and the actual execution in places
PerspectiveUsually, the perspective of the CEO is long-termThe perspective of the President is long-term
Prime focusThe main focus is on wealth maximizationThe main focus is on Profit maximization
Striving FactorEffectivenessEfficiency
Final ResultCreating a strong LegacyHaving a strong performance

Conclusion

Looking at the above points the difference between the roles and responsibilities of the Chief Operating Officer and the President may be quite clear, these differences specifically apply to large organizations. In small organizations that lack financial and human resource accounting, it is possible that both these roles are performed by a single person.

These roles might differ in terms of focus, areas of expertise, knowledge, skillset, vision, view, etc but the ultimate objective of both these roles is the company’s growth and success

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