Domande di Internet

[] What does a CEO actually do for the company?

Bentornati ad un’altra sorprendente edizione delle domande di cultura generale!

924 utenti della rete avevano questa curiosità: [Spiegami] What does a CEO actually do for the company?

Not a loaded question, I actually want to learn.

From what I see, companies go from CEO to CEO and nothing much seems to change.

And then sometimes a company gets run into the ground, only for the CEO responsible for it to be hired as CEO elsewhere shortly after. it's like their reputation doesn't matter at all. If I did that in my area, I'd have a real hard time getting clients or another good job.

I can see why people think the position of CEO is pointless, but at the same time, companies are paying them millions for a reason. I just want to understand what that reason is.

Ed ecco le risposte:

The CEO is responsible to the shareholders (and often is one) and is frequently the public face of the company.

They are the highest ranked executive at a company and it is their job to set the direction of the company, make very high level decisions, and can hire/fire the executives of the company.

They set strategies like marketing, new product concepts, and generally decide which direction the company is going. Usually basing this on what the shareholders are trying to achieve.

Increase the stock price? Grow the business? Try to get bought out buy someone else? Know full well the business is dying and try to squeeze out every dime they can? etc

They define the direction, set goals, and leave it to the management layer of the company to figure out how to achieve those goals.

How the company operates can have a lot to do with the CEOs background. If the CEO is a salesperson or has a marketing background the company will often try to grow and find more business. If the CEO is an engineer the company will focus on product development and innovation. If the CEO is an accountant, the company will focus on pure profit and reducing internal costs.

The problem with CEOs is finding a qualified one is very hard because the pool is so small. This is partly why their salaries are so high, but it’s also partly a case of keeping up with the Jones’s

CEO pay is often absurd simply because they can get away with it and often get to write their own contracts.

This is a slightly silly comparison, but I often think how much a CEO is like a feudal king. He makes the big decisions — who to invade, what to focus money on, which nobles to promote or behead — and he has a whole structure of layers of authority under him that actually see those things done. Some of his nobles he inherits (executives who come with the company); others, he selects from his personal lieutenants and retainers and puts them in charge of a whole area (organization). If he has good advisors — for the king, his subsidiary noblemen, but also his lawyers and priests; for the CEO, the C-suite executives under him, but also his secretary and his board — he knows a lot about what’s going on and where problem areas are, and can address concerns. If he has bad advisors, things go wonky, and suddenly you’ve got failing divisions or breakaway duchies.

Some kings and CEOs roll into the top job and immediately start beheading everyone who belonged to the former regime, to install all their own people. Others prefer to keep a lot of continuity. Some of them “grew up” in the company (/royal family) and were groomed for the top job; others arrive suddenly, as accidental heirs or as invaders.

Like kings, they have to lead through a combination of authority, intimidation, and persuasion. They have to negotiate and convince their most powerful executives to follow along with them. If the majority of the executives think they’re going the wrong direction, there might be a coup. Meanwhile, the CFO and COO and corporate attorney and HR and CTO and so on are all managing up, like a group of dukes who all want varying combinations of the kingdom’s good and their own good. So the CTO wants to spend on a big AI bet, to advance his influence and success and scope of authority, but the CFO is pushing back because she has concerns about capital debt, and everyone is simultaneously trying to give the CEO good advice but also consider how the the decision impacts their fiefdoms.

Meanwhile, it’s fiefs all the way down … each C-suite executive has their own senior executives, some of whom want to move up into the C-suite or be adopted by the CFO (Duke) as successor; others just want to be left alone to do their business. And at each layer on down to the peasants/serfs/factory workers/retail clerks, who are actually doing the work that makes the thing run. Every manager, all the way up, has choices about good people and bad people, good advice and bad advice, getting the right people in the right roles, and all of those decisions impact how well the whole thing operates. So you choose a Duke who chooses good barons, who choose smart knights, who train the serfs well with their bows and spears, and then you go invade France. If you mostly pick people who pick good people, who pick good people, who put the right people in the right jobs, things go well and now you own Normandy. And if you don’t, well, you get spanked back to your little island and now the board is scheming to have you beheaded and put some other more successful king in your place.

Or more succinctly, there’s a reason Succession was such a good riff on King Lear.

CEO here. It depends on the CEO, the stage of the company, the context, and ultimately the states goals of the board of directors, who are representatives of the remaining shareholders.

For a young organization, a CEO is actually very involved in the day to day. They can be owning product roadmaps and development while they liaise with early clients. They can be sales focused (which is hard, because transitioning that away from the CEO and towards a sales lead has a high error rate, which I’m happy to get into). They can be primarily strategy and fundraising. They can be any combination of the above. But in the first few years of the entity, they are everywhere and doing everything.

As the organization grows, they start to focus more on managing their direct reports, liaising with key relationships (suppliers, investors, customers, other partners) and generally making sure that the org is executing on its vision.

Once they get larger, it is a different game altogether. I’ve consulted for CEOs in large companies before, and there is no single description I feel comfortable giving.

I’ll chip in one thing: as someone who has been critical of former CEOs in the past, it wasn’t until I became one that I understood how Herculean the task is. There are no off hours, the anxiety can be crippling, the reputation risk enormous. And if you’re a good CEO, the thing you spend the most time thinking about is doing right by your team, ensuring you’re creating a good place to work, avoiding at all costs layoffs, and doing your best to make sure your team will look back on this part of their career journey with a sense of pride, gratitude, fulfillment, development, and a sense that they were treated fairly.

Take aside the money, and being a CEO mostly sucks. Most people I know who became CEOs are insecure overachievers who don’t know what they’d do if they weren’t addicted to their work.

CEO are decision makers and run the company basically. A good ceo is hard to find, the person needs to understand the products, finances, market and needs to understand culture of the company as well as needs to make the run company run well. That is a very hard thing to do. It is very easy to fuck up. That is why CEO positions pay well, good CEO’s are very rare and hardly anyone qualifies for that position.

For example, CEO of the mid size company i work for probably knows our products the best in our company. He literally teaches engineers mechanics of the product and how it is supposed to be made and teaches them what our customers expect. He also runs the finances, constantly is in touch with sales team and knows who is selling what at what date for how much and how profitable it would be, he oversees hiring together with our HR as well as Dep. leads. He is basically involved in everything that is done in our company. How do i know all of that? Because i write the programs for him to track all of that. His job is probably the only one in the company i actually would not wish to do. I sometimes see his logs and he regularly works in home till 3 o’clock. I can see how much each dep. works, i can see their logs, there is not a single person in our company that even comes close to amount of job done to our CEO.

The answer to your question is, they basically make the company run well. Running a company well is very hard, it is very easy to fuck up. People who say CEO is pointless have never worked with a good one to understand how much of a difference a good CEO actually is. I suggest those people to set a startup and try to run it.

There is a reason even in USSR there were people who were responsible for running the factories. Position of a CEO is not optional, it is a necessity if you want to make your company run.

I see a lot of answers talking about shareholders and company owners, but if you want a really simple answer, they are the ones responsible for the company as a whole. It’s easy to say that an issue is “not my department” and to pass it off to someone else’s and let them deal with it, but as the CEO, everything is under your purview. If there is a decision to be made that the company can’t decide on, it is your responsibility.

You’re the one that makes the hard calls and faces the consequences of all the decisions. If the company fails, it’s on you regardless of whether or not you did it, because you’re the CEO.