What is a Chief Executive Officer (CEO)?

Definition: The Chief Executive Officer (CEO), often times referred to as the President of an organization, is appointed by the board of directors to be the highest ranking member of management within the organization and responsible for overseeing all company operations.

What Does CEO Mean?

What is the definition of CEO? Regardless of the size or type of organization, the CEO is responsible for every aspect of an organizations success. As the highest-ranking member of management, the CEO is responsible for assembling an executive management team capable of succeeding in all areas of the business.

What are the responsibilities of the Chief Executive Officer? Typically, the CEO will play a crucial role in assigning organizational responsibilities to other C-level members of the organization, such as the Chief Operations Officer (COO), the Chief Information Officer (CIO), and/or the Chief Financial Officer (CFO). Depending on the type of company, public versus private, the overall reporting responsibilities of the CEO may differ greatly.


The CEO is the most powerful member of the executive team within any organization. With that power, comes a lot of responsibility, which includes involvement in the day-to-day operations as well as the long-term strategic planning of the organization. While the roles can differ greatly between industries or company types (public versus private companies), one thing is always certain; the CEO is ultimately responsible for the success of all aspects of the organization.

Within public companies, the CEO is responsible for reporting to the Board of Directors, which acts as a representative body of individuals on behalf of the shareholders of the entity. The CEO is required to implement the initiatives and strategies outlined by the Board of Directors, while maintain focus on the mission of the business. Within privately held companies, the CEO may be the owner of the business, or may be an individual assigned to the role by a group of investors who privately hold the company.

Summary Definition

Define Chief Executive Officer: CEO means highest ranking member of the executive team who is ultimately responsible for the success of all aspects of a business.