Corporate roles may vary from one corporation to another, depending on size and business activities. To ensure that your corporation will be able to run smoothly, you need to create the appropriate roles and fill them with the right people. In order to do that, you must have a clear understanding of the structure of a corporation and all the important management and operational tasks that need to be performed.

Roles Within a Corporation

When you start a corporation, you are required to appoint a board of directors. This is something you must do, regardless of the size and structure of your company. Unfortunately, there are no fixed rules for structuring a board of directors, which may leave you wondering how you should go about organizing your upper management. In the management of a corporation, there are three types of stakeholders, including:

  • Shareholders – Owners of the corporation who have received shares of stock in exchange for assets.
  • Directors – Individuals who are appointed by the shareholders to supervise the management of the company.
  • Officers – Individuals who are appointed by the directors to manage the company's day-to-day activities.

These roles intersect in many corporations. For instance, there may be a Chief Executive Officer who also owns shares of stock and sits on the board of directors.

A board of directors can vary greatly in size, from one to thirty or more. According to a GMI Ratings study, the average size of boards of directors was 11.2 members in 2014. While your board of directors needs to hold regular meetings, it may also comprise of smaller committees. Most boards have the following committees:

  • Executive committee
  • Compensation committee
  • Audit committee
  • Nominating committee

Job Titles of Corporate Executive

With the letter “C” meaning “Chief,” C-level jobs are high-ranking executive titles. Executives who hold C-level positions are typically the most powerful and influential individuals in a company. They make important decisions, have a demanding workload, and therefore earn high salaries. Appointed by the board of directors, these officers are in charge of the management and daily operations of a corporation.

C-level positions can be found in many companies across all industries. The skills and experience levels required from these executives may vary from one industry to another. Nonetheless, almost every C-level position requires leadership skills and the ability to devise and execute strategies to support the corporation's goals.

The popularity of the internet and the rapidly growing startup world have caused C-level jobs to proliferate. Now, companies are hiring for new roles, such as Chief Privacy Officers, to protect corporate and user data and Chief Experience Officers to manage users experience with websites, apps, and products. Although there are more C-level positions now, the three most common positions in corporations across all industries are still the same, which are:

The responsibility of a CEO is to manage the overall path of a corporation. As the highest-ranking member of the C-suite, he or she is in charge of hiring and firing all the other executives in the company. The CEO will receive praise when the corporation succeeds, but he or she will be held accountable if there are setbacks or failures.

A CFO is the individual who oversees the financials of a company. Besides accounting, budgeting, and reporting, he or she may also be responsible for forecasting and investing. The CFO is the highest-ranking executive in the finance department and manages the financial functions of the company.

A COO is responsible for the day-to-day operations of a corporation and often supervises the Human Resources Department. Since he or she reports directly to the CEO, the COO is regarded as the second in command.

There are many C-level positions that can be found in corporations, including:

  • Chief Accounting Officer (CAO)
  • Chief Administrative Officer (CAO)
  • Chief Applications Architect (CAA)
  • Chief Contracting Officer (CCO)
  • Chief Compliance Officer (CCO)
  • Chief Data Officer (CDO)
  • Chief Development Officer (CDO)
  • Chief Information Officer (CIO)
  • Chief Investments Officer (CIO)
  • Chief Information Security Officer (CISO)
  • Chief Marketing Officer (CMO)
  • Chief Product Officer (CPO)
  • Chief Procurement Officer (CPO)
  • Chief Risk Officer (CRO)
  • Chief Security Officer (CSO)
  • Chief Technical Officer (CTO)
  • Chief Underwriting Officer (CUO)

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