Some of the world's highest-paid workers are corporate officers. Of course, many of them spend decades gaining the singular type of business acumen required to head both small and larger corporations.
In general, corporate officers are paid by the company's board of directors – or in compliance with the articles of incorporation, corporate bylaws or resolutions passed by the board of directors. Frequently, the board selects the most senior corporate officers and then allows one or more of these individuals to select the people to serve in the less senior positions.
Here's a broad overview of the types of positions often filled in many American (and other worldwide) corporations, separate and apart from the board of directors usually voted into their positions by the shareholders.
Major Corporate Officer Positions
The Chief Executive Officer. (CEO). This individual must have a thorough understanding of both his/her business community and the specific field in which he or she is employed. Successful current or past CEOs include Bill Gates of Microsoft, Steve Jobs of Apple, Meg Whitman of eBay, and Jack Welch of General Electric. Each of these individuals managed to create comprehensive and visionary business plans that helped energize their employees. All of them were also regularly involved with implementing decisions made by the board of directors and handling certain broad management duties;
The Chief Operations Officer (COO). This person is often involved each day with creating and managing various sales, marketing, and production projects. S/he is also usually heavily involved in many personnel decisions – at least those at the highest levels. COOs are sometimes referred to as senior vice presidents of their corporations;
Chief Financial Officer (CFO). This professional spends most of his/her time monitoring all the most important corporate financial data and carefully reviewing ongoing costs and expenditures. It’s the CFO’s duty to make regular financial reports to the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission), the board of directors, and the shareholders. This person is frequently viewed as a senior vice president of the corporation;
Corporate Secretary. S/he is charged with keeping accurate “minutes” regarding all board and committee meetings, as well as keeping detailed records regarding all corporate policies adopted (among other duties);
Corporate Treasurer. This person is required to create the company's annual budget and to make sure it's appropriately revised and later proved by the proper parties. S/he also usually chairs the board of directors’ finance committee and reviews various corporate investment activities;
Chief Information Officer (CIO). It's this executive’s duty to safeguard all of the corporation’s computer technologies, databases, and other sources of information against outside (or inside) compromise. The CIO is also normally busy looking for new ways to streamline and improve all corporate business technology activities.
The remaining corporate officer positions often vary from one company to another. In addition to the upper management level comprised of the board of directors, vice-presidents, and other general managers -- there are also usually department managers who have numerous subordinates supporting their efforts.
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