Chief Executives

Chief executives have the overall responsibility for the operation of the company or organization. A company's objectives and policies are established by the chief executive officer (CEO) in collaboration with other top executives. Chief executives create programs to reach the objectives they set. In large companies a chief executive meets often with subordinate executives to make sure that operations are performed in accordance to the set policies.

A CEO also facilitates business outside of the company. They oversee the budget and make sure that the company's resources are effectively used. A CEO is also involved in meetings with board and staff members in order to decide the level of support given to proposed programs. The chief executive officer reports to the board of directors.

Chief executives employed by the government encourage business investment, nominate citizens to boards and promote economic development for their community. Typically, they rely on skilled personnel to make sure the company operates effectively. However, in small companies chief executive officers usually perform a lot of the important tasks themselves.


  • Support administration and operations of the Board by offering advice and information
  • Oversee design, promotion, marketing, delivery and the quality of products, services and programs
  • Manage the human resources of the company or organization
  • Recommend an annual budget for the Board's approval and manage the companies resources within the budget guidelines
  • Direct fundraising, planning and implementation
  • Ensure the company's objectives, products and services are presented in positive images to relevant stakeholders

Job Characteristics

A chief executive officer should have excellent communication, interpersonal, leadership and organizational skills. They should have an analytical mind and need to effectively work under the pressure to succeed.

Chief executive officers usually have spacious offices and a support staff. Most chief executive officers work more than a forty hour week. Chief executives typically have flexible schedules. Substantial travel is typically part of the occupation. They travel to international, national, regional and local offices in order to review operations and meet with staff, customers and other executives. They also attend meetings and conferences sponsored by associations.

Employment Outlook

The growth rate for top executives, including chief executives, is expected to grow 2% between 2006 and 2016. Since they are essential to the success of a company, their jobs are unlikely to be outsourced to other countries. Employment of top executives is not as connected to business growth when compared to most other occupations.

The growth of top executive jobs is projected to be faster than average in professional, scientific and technical services and employment is forecasted to decline for top executives in some manufacturing industries. Those with extensive managerial experience, notable accomplishments, and the proven ability to improve the efficiency and the competitive position of a company have the best employment opportunities.

Executives of large companies may earn hundreds of thousands to over a million dollars annually. Total compensation typically includes salary, performance bonuses and stock options.

Education, Certification, and Licensing

The education requirements for CEO's varies widely and depends a lot on the type of organization. Many chief executive officers have a bachelor's or a graduate degree in business administration, liberal arts or specialized areas. Top executive jobs are sometimes filled from within the company. Extensive management experience is often required.

Advancing a career can be accelerated by participating in company training programs. Learning the newest management techniques from training programs sponsored by industry and trade associations is also useful for career advancement. Some CEO's become members of the board of directors of one or more companies. They sometimes become the director of their own company.


Major Employers

The leading areas of employment are median to large corporations, nonprofit institutions and public sector organizations.

Schools for Chief Executives are listed in the Browse Schools Section.

Metro Areas Sorted by Total Employment for
Chief Executives

Listed below are the 10 largest metro areas based on the total number of people employed in Chief Executives jobs , as of 2016

Metro Area Total Employment Annual Mean Salary
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim 11,400 $228,890
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach 5,370 $227,420
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward 5,210 $232,560
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell 4,890 $223,970
Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale 4,450 $193,900
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue 3,910 $213,710
San Diego-Carlsbad 2,830 $223,700
Detroit-Warren-Dearborn 2,810 $208,040
Sacramento--Roseville--Arden-Arcade 2,690 $152,930
San Juan-Carolina-Caguas 2,670 $108,370

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Total employment and salary for professions similar to chief executives

Career Stories (Job Profiles) for Chief Executives

To find out more about building a career as Chief Executives, we spoke with professionals in the field across a variety of specialties. Learn about their experiences on the job, the steps they took to complete their education, and what it takes to excel in this industry. Click the link to see a story.

All Types

Source : 2016 Occupational Employment Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, BLS.gov

Most Popular Industries for
Chief Executives

These industries represent at least 1% of the total number of people employed in this occupation.

Industry Total Employment Percent Annual Median Salary
Government 30,100 10% $94,260
Professional And Technical Services 30,080 10% N/A
Education 24,010 8% $123,970
Business Management 22,320 7% N/A
Office Services And Staffing 14,430 4% $157,700
Durable Goods Wholesale 11,120 3% N/A
Banking And Credit 9,580 3% N/A
Construction Trades 9,550 3% $142,850
Insurance 8,860 2% N/A
Medical Office 8,160 2% $146,070
Non-profit 6,770 2% $139,550
Hospital 6,480 2% N/A
Non-durable Goods Wholesale 6,440 2% N/A
Construction 6,290 2% N/A
Metal Products 5,650 1% $154,160
Social Service 4,860 1% $95,370
Machinery 4,510 1% $158,710
Auto And Auto Parts Dealers 4,500 1% N/A
Electronics And Computer 4,310 1% N/A
Restaurant 3,980 1% $116,570
Securities And Investment 3,850 1% N/A
Nursing And Residential Care 3,550 1% $105,830
Chemicals 3,420 1% N/A
Real Estate 3,380 1% N/A
Traditional Publishing 3,130 1% N/A
Civil Engineering 3,060 1% $157,780
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We have some additional detailed pages at the state level for Chief Executives.

Numbers in parentheses are counts of relevant campus-based schools in the state; online schools may also be available.

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