Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Job Description & Template

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Job Description & Template

Discover the responsibilities of a CEO and get a handy CEO job description template. Learn about CEO salaries, how to hire the ideal candidate, and more.

A Chief Executive Officer (CEO) is the highest-ranking executive in a company. They lead the direction of the business, manage operations and resources, make major corporate decisions, and act as a liaison between the board of directors and corporate operations.

We'll provide you with a CEO job description template designed to attract top candidates for your organization. You will also learn about the salary range for chief executive officers in the US, understand typical reporting structures, and discover the most effective way to hire a CEO.

Further Reading:

What Does a CEO Do?

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) is responsible for setting an organization's overall vision, strategy, culture and goals. They oversee all business aspects --- from operations and finance to marketing and human resources --- and delegate responsibilities to ensure their vision is met and strategies are executed.

They will constantly assess whether the company is moving in the direction they set out through reports from their executive team.

Additionally, CEOs represent the organization in public and foster relationships with stakeholders, including investors and customers.

Based on your organizational requirements, you can select either a full-time CEO or a fractional CEO.

Each option provides distinct advantages, but a fractional CEO can take on all the responsibilities of a full-time CEO at a fraction of the cost.

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Cynthia Lencioni JD/MBA
  1. Executive Leadership
  2. Civil Litigation
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COO | CEO | Fractional Executive | Former D1 Athlete

CEO Job Description Template

About Us

Include a clear description of your company and its focus areas.

CEO Job Description

We are seeking a dynamic Chief Executive Officer (CEO) to lead our company's strategic direction and drive growth.

In this role, you will report to the Board of Directors, lead the executive team, and oversee all departments. Your core responsibilities include setting and executing organizational strategy, building the senior leadership team, managing the overall budget, and shaping the company's vision, values, and culture.

The perfect candidate will possess strategic thinking abilities, strong leadership skills, and a capacity for collaboration with other senior executives. They should have a demonstrated history of guiding high-performing teams and a thorough understanding of business operations, financial management, and market analytics.

Key CEO Responsibilities

  • Shape the company's vision, including short-term and long-term goals.
  • Make high-level strategic decisions that guide the company's direction and support these goals. 
  • Engage with other leaders to get a high-level understanding of the company's operations. 
  • Build and lead a high-performing executive team to achieve company goals.
  • Optimize the use and adequacy of resources, recommending and implementing an annual budget and financial plan. 
  • Regularly review operational performance and strategic direction.
  • Cultivate a positive company culture through inspirational and strong leadership.
  • Make strategic investment decisions (mergers, acquisitions, and partnerships) to drive business growth and profitability.
  • Ensure compliance with legal guidelines and internal policies. 
  • Promote the highest standards of integrity, probity, and corporate governance. 
  • Develop and sustain relationships with important partners, including business partners, major clients, the Board of Directors, and shareholders.
  • Act as the primary spokesperson for the organization, communicating important corporate decisions to the Board of Directors, employees, investors, and the public.
  • Manage the company's risk profile in line with the Board's guidelines. 
  • Handle public relations and crisis management, protecting the company's public image.
  • Oversee negotiation and approval of licensing agreements and contracts with technology vendors and other partners.
  • Keep up-to-date with market trends and industry advancements to foster innovation and maintain competitiveness.
  • Collaborate with HR leaders to approve policies that attract and retain talent while adhering to legal and industry standards.
  • Lead fundraising initiatives in partnership with the Board and executive team.
  • Ensure the Board of Directors is well-supported, providing timely and accurate information for their fiduciary and oversight responsibilities and recruiting new board members.

Required Experience and Skills 

  • Proven experience as a CEO or in other senior executive roles, such as CFO or COO, with a track record of successfully leading and growing organizations.
  • Experience in developing profitable strategies and implementing them.
  • Expert understanding of corporate finance, performance management principles, and financial management, including cash flow analysis and fundraising strategies.
  • Knowledge of various business areas including marketing, PR, finance, and legal compliance, combined with a solid grasp of corporate governance and general management best practices.
  • Exceptional executive leadership skills, with the ability to motivate and inspire employees, build high-performing teams, and foster a positive work environment.
  • Outstanding organizational and project management skills, focusing on operational management and efficiency orientation.
  • Analytical abilities and problem-solving skills to tackle complex business challenges and drive continuous improvement.
  • Exceptional communication and public speaking abilities to effectively convey the company's vision and strategy to both internal and external stakeholders.
  • Ability to work under pressure to meet deadlines and accomplish strategic objectives to deliver value to shareholders.
  • Proven track record in fundraising and securing capital.

Required Qualifications

  • A bachelor's or master's degree in business, accounting, finance, or a related field --- a master's in business administration (MBA) from a top school is preferred.
  • 5-10 years of industry experience.

Salary and Perks

  • Competitive salary with performance-based bonuses
  • Stock options or equity packages
  • Healthcare coverage, including medical, dental, and vision plans
  • Traditional pre-tax contributions to health insurance and retirement plans
  • Paid time off policy and flexible working arrangements
  • Parental leave to support new parents
  • Wellness programs and gym memberships
  • Relocation assistance
  • Funds for professional development

FAQs on CEO Salary, Reporting, and Hiring

1. What Is the Salary Range of a CEO in the US?

In the United States, a full-time Chief Executive Officer (CEO) typically earns between $310,000---$580,000 annually, including benefits such as bonuses, profit sharing, and commissions. On average, their yearly earnings are around $414,000.

The salary range for this senior leader can vary based on factors like the candidate's experience, industry and location, the complexity of the role, and the size of the organization.

However, if you're looking to fill your leadership role at a fraction of this cost, consider hiring a CEO on a fractional basis. (See below).

2. What Is the Reporting Structure of a CEO?

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) typically reports to the Board of Directors.

The senior executive team, including the Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Chief Operating Officer (COO), and Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), reports to the CEO.

However, the exact reporting structure can vary depending on your company's organizational design and size.

3. What Are the Differences between a CEO and Other Key Leadership Roles -- President, COB, CFO, Founder, Chairperson, Owner, and Director?

As we've seen, a CEO is a senior leader responsible for the company's overall management and strategic direction. They report to the Board of Directors.

But here's how other major executive leadership roles differ from that of a CEO:

  • President: Oversees day-to-day operations and reports to the CEO. In this capacity, the president functions as the COO (Chief Operating Officer) and manages vice presidents who oversee different divisions within the company.
  • COB (Chairman of the Board): Leads the Board of Directors, oversees governance, and provides strategic guidance but is not involved in daily operations.
  • Chairperson: Similar to COB, but may also refer to leading specific committees within the board.
  • Executive Director: Member of the Board of Directors, providing oversight and strategic direction, but is not involved in daily operations.
  • CFO (Chief Financial Officer): Manages financial planning, risk management, and financial reporting and reports to the CEO.
  • Founder: The person who started the company and may or may not hold an executive role.
  • Owner: Holds significant equity in the company, and their role can vary from active management to passive investor.

4. How Does the Role of a CEO Differ in Startups Versus Established Companies?

In startups, CEOs are often hands-on with daily operations, including product development, marketing, and securing initial funding. They need to be highly adaptable, ready to pivot strategies, and instrumental in building company culture.

In contrast, CEOs of established companies concentrate on high-level corporate decisions, delegate operational tasks to a larger executive team, and spend more time managing stakeholder relationships. 

5. What Are the Typical CEO Leadership Styles?

Typical CEO leadership styles include:

  • Autocratic: This style involves making decisions independently with little input from others, focusing on control and efficiency. It is effective in crises but can limit creativity and employee morale.
  • Democratic: In this approach, CEOs encourage input and collaboration from their team, promoting a sense of ownership and engagement among employees. This style can enhance creativity and job satisfaction but may slow decision-making.
  • Transformational: These CEOs inspire and motivate employees to innovate and drive change, focusing on vision and long-term goals. It can lead to high employee engagement and organizational growth.
  • Transactional: CEOs who follow this style emphasize structure, performance, and rewards, managing through established processes and procedures. It can be effective in achieving short-term goals but may not foster innovation.
  • Laissez-Faire: Here, CEOs take a hands-off approach, giving employees autonomy to make decisions and manage their work. This can empower highly skilled teams but may lead to a lack of direction if not managed properly.

6. What Are the Common Career Paths to Becoming a CEO?

A CEO's career often begins with entry-level positions and advances through various management roles within the same company or industry, which builds extensive experience and knowledge.

From there, they typically advance into senior leadership positions, such as leading business units, before stepping into the CEO role. They might also take up senior executive roles such as COO, CFO, or CMO before transitioning into a CEO.

Entrepreneurship is also a viable path. Founding and growing a successful business demonstrates the leadership and business acumen necessary for a CEO role. 

7. What Is a Fractional CEO, and What Are the Benefits of Engaging One (Compared to a Full-Time CEO)?

A fractional CEO is an experienced executive who works with your company on a part-time basis, offering the strategic leadership of a full-time CEO without the overheads of a full-time salary.

While many companies traditionally hire a full-time CEO, there are distinct advantages to opting for a fractional leadership role instead:

  • Cost-Effectiveness: Unlike full-time CEOs, who are paid substantial salaries along with bonuses and other perks, fractional CEOs work on a part-time basis for a monthly retainer. For example, through an executive search platform like Go Fractional, you can hire an experienced fractional CEO for a monthly fee ranging from $10,000 to $20,000, translating to an annual cost of $120,000 to $240,000.
  • Flexibility: A fractional CEO can adjust their level of engagement to meet your company's evolving needs. This provides flexibility that is often not available in full-time positions.
  • Wide Expertise: Fractional CEOs have diverse backgrounds across various industries and markets. They bring a broad perspective and skill set, enabling them to quickly identify challenges and implement effective strategies.
  • Objective Perspective: Fractional CEOs offer fresh insights from an external viewpoint. So, they can often spot inefficiencies and opportunities that internal teams might overlook.

We've found that in most cases, a fractional executive leader can deliver more effective results and a better return on investment than a full-time hire, especially for companies looking to scale efficiently.

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Alex Poole
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  3. Business Transformation
  4. Design Leadership
Business Strategy • Customer Experience • Creative Leadership

8. How to Hire a Fractional CEO

The best way to bring on a fractional CEO is through Go Fractional.

We can connect you with a seasoned CEO who is adept at guiding company strategy and leading large teams.

This method saves you the time and hassle of a lengthy in-house executive search.

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Sreenarayan Ashokkumar
  1. Embedded Security
  2. Regulatory Reporting
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  4. Leadership
VP | Executive | Product | Platform | Cloud Security |Tech Transformation | Board Director

Here's how the process of hiring a fractional CEO through Go Fractional works:

  • Reach Out to Us: Let us know your requirements for your fractional executive leader, including industry expertise, specific CEO skills, and level of commitment needed.
  • We'll Find Your Match: Based on your criteria, we shortlist candidates, interview them, and introduce you to suitable fractional CEOs who fit your needs.
  • Meet Your Candidates: Arrange interviews and discussions to get to know the potential candidates better.
  • Seal the Deal: Once you select the perfect match, we handle contract negotiations and paperwork, continuing to support you after placement.
  • Quick Start: Our fractional CEOs are ready to start within a week.

If you're looking for a seasoned CEO candidate who can quickly assume strategic leadership of your company, connect with Go Fractional today.

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