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A CEO role's responsibilities can vary depending on how the role was defined by the board of directors and how the negotiation went. But I assume that the CEO role has a core set of responsibilities which never change, independently from the company. Some responsibilities might be delegated to COO, CFO, etc., but I assume something will always stay with the CEO, no matter what.

Which responsibilities are always part of the CEO role, independently from the company?

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    Being named the CEO? Might be the only one.
    – Jon Custer
    Jan 18 at 20:49
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    I must chime in and say that I disagree with the current close votes. This is a clear case of "do not foo the bar" type of answer. The key aspect to learn and discuss here is the fact that there are no such "core set" responsibilities. (... although I wonder if this hasn't been asked before... something rang in the back of my mind when reading this post)
    – DarkCygnus
    Jan 18 at 22:57
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    Also note that sometimes the CEO is a managing director, which places even more obligations on the CEO. Jan 19 at 1:22
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    Reopened after discussion on meta (Reopen Request).
    – Lilienthal
    Jan 19 at 23:09
  • Recent evidence suggests the CEO makes money, initiates mass layoffs to make money, abuses subordinates when they are bored with making money, and if they finally get caught, they sell the company and make a ton of money then leave. Maybe Bobby Kotick should write a book on how to be successful with a lawful evil alignment?
    – Trevor
    Jan 20 at 13:55

3 Answers 3

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But I assume that the CEO role has a core set of responsibilities which never change, independently from the company. Some responsibilities might be delegated to COO, CFO, etc., but I assume something will always stay with the CEO, no matter what.

This assumption is incorrect. There are indeed common responsibilities, but there is not a core set "no matter what".

Which responsibilities are always part of the CEO role, independently from the company?

There is no "always". The CEO serves at the pleasure of the shareholders and the Board of Directors. The Board determines the scope and focus of the CEO's work. The lives of a CEO of a large established corporation are very different from a CEO at a startup, for example.

But in very general terms CEOs:

  • Work on internal and external relationships
  • Work on reviewing the business unit's performance and plans
  • Work on strategy
  • Work on culture and organization
  • Communicate with the Board and Shareholders
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The CEO has access to all the information and all the expertise generated by the company. For that reason, that person should have the final say in most operational decisions that are going to affect the company.

The CFO for instance may have access to all the financial information related to the company, but the CFO isn't usually briefed about activities unless they have a direct non-speculative financial impact on the bottom line. And for that reason also, the CFO may have a particularly skewed perspective of the business.

The same goes for the officers in charge of marketing or operations. They may have access to lot of the information, but ultimately, their role limits them to their area and to a particularly skewed perspective of the business.

Obviously, there can be exceptions. Sometimes, the owner/largest shareholder of the company can have the power to replace the CEO on a whim, and for that reason, the owner/shareholder may be the real power behind the company. Or sometimes, the CEO will intentionally refuse to hear about certain things, to avoid potential criminal liability, or to avoid having to testify in civil cases. Or sometimes, someone else is being groomed to take over the CEO position.

But generally speaking, the CEO is supposed to be the center point of all that information and all that expertise generated by the business. And again, this is why they're supposed to have the final say in important decisions.

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The CEO's core responsibility is to implement the directions given to him by the Board of Directors and report the results.

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