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A chief executive officer (CEO) describes the position of the most senior corporate officer, executive, leader or administrator in charge of managing an organization. CEOs lead a range of organizations, including public and private corporations, non-profit organizations and even some government organizations (e.g., Crown corporations). The CEO of a corporation or company typically reports to the board of directors and is charged with maximizing the value of the entity, which may include maximizing the share price, market share, revenues, or another element. In the non-profit and government sector, CEOs typically aim at achieving outcomes related to the organization's mission, such as reducing poverty, increasing literacy, etc. Titles also often given to the holder of CEO position include president, chief executive (CE) and managing director (MD).
The responsibilities of an organization's CEO are set by the organization's board of directors or other authority, depending on the organization's legal structure. They can be far-reaching or quite limited and are typically enshrined in a formal delegation of authority. Typically, responsibilities include decision maker on strategy and other key policy issues, leader, manager, and executor. The communicator role can involve speaking to the press and the rest of the outside world, as well as to the organization's management and employees; the decision-making role involves high-level decisions about policy and strategy. As a leader of the company, the CEO/MD advises the board of directors, motivates employees, and drives change within the organization. As a manager, the CEO/MD presides over the organization's day-to-day operations. The term refers to the person who makes all the key decisions regarding the company, which includes all sectors and fields of the business, including operations, marketing, business development, finance, human resources, etc. The CEO of a company is not necessarily the owner of the company.
According to a study by Carola Frydman of MIT, from 1936 to the early 2000s, there has been a rapid increase in the share of CEOs holding an MBA; from approximately 10% of CEOs in 1960 to more than 50% by the end of the century. Earlier in the century, top executives were more likely to have technical degrees in science and engineering or law. As of 2016, there were 20 female CEOs of S&P 500 companies, approximately 4%.
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