Roles and Responsibilities of Chief Executive Officer of a Corporation

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    © Copyright Carter McNamara, MBA, Ph.D., Authenticity Consulting, LLC.

    Adapted from the Field Guide to Developing and Operating Your Nonprofit Board of Directors.

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    Roles of Chief Executive Officer

    NOTE: References to a Board of Directors in the following are in regard to chief executive officers of corporations, whether for-profit or nonprofit.


    • Advises the Board
    • Advocates / promotes organization and stakeholder change related to the organization’s mission
    • Supports motivation of employees in organization products/programs and operations

    Visionary / Information Bearer

    • Ensures staff and Board have sufficient and up-to-date information
    • Look to the future for change opportunities
    • Interfaces between Board and employees
    • Interfaces between organization and community

    Decision Maker

    • Formulates policies and planning recommendations for the Board
    • Decides or guides courses of action in operations by staff


    • Oversees operations of the organization
    • Implements plans
    • Manages human resources of an organization
    • Manages financial and physical resources

    Board Developer

    • Assists in the selection and evaluation of board members
    • Makes recommendations, and supports the Board during orientation and self-evaluation
    • Supports the Board’s evaluation of the Chief Executive

    Responsibilities of Chief Executive Officer

    There is no standardized list of the major functions and responsibilities carried out by the position of chief executive officer. The following list is one perspective and includes the major functions typically addressed by job descriptions of chief executive officers.

    1. Board Administration and Support

    Supports operations and administration of the Board by advising and informing Board members, interfacing between Board and staff, and supporting the Board’s evaluation of the chief executive

    2. Program, Product, and Service Delivery

    Oversees design, marketing, promotion, delivery, and quality of programs, products, and services

    3. Financial, Tax, Risk, and Facilities Management

    Recommends yearly budget for Board approval and prudently manages organization’s resources within those budget guidelines according to current laws and regulations

    4. Human Resource Management

    Effectively manages the human resources of the organization according to authorized personnel policies and procedures that fully conform to current laws and regulations

    5. Community and Public Relations

    Assures the organization and its mission, programs, products, and services are consistently presented in a strong, positive image to relevant stakeholders

    6. Fundraising (nonprofit-specific)

    Oversees fundraising planning and implementation, including identifying resource requirements, researching funding sources, establishing strategies to approach funders, submitting proposals, and administrating fundraising records and documentation

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