CEO (Chief Executive Officer)

The CEO or Chief Executive Officer can be seen as the Anglo-Saxon equivalent of the CEO. If this translation has many realities on the other side of the Atlantic, it is used more and more in France. Focus on this profession and the missions of a CEO.

CEO: definition and translation

A CEO is a Chief Executive Officer. What translation should be given to this profession? In France, it can designate a CEO (President and Chief Executive Officer) or the president of a company. In rare cases, it can also be used to refer to the general manager of a subsidiary of a company in France or Europe. We can use “CEO of TikTok France” to say CEO of TikTok France for example.

How to define the term CEO? A CEO is the highest-ranking director in a company or organization. He is the one who makes the most important strategic decisions and shows that he masters many topics ranging from finance to sales, including marketing and administration.

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The duties of a CEO

The Chief Executive Officer has an important mission that defines his daily life: to lead his company towards success and profitability. His day is often very full and divided between different activities. A CEO’s primary mission is to represent the company externally, be it to customers, partners, or public institutions. So a CEO must have excellent interpersonal skills. The network and networking are also two assets that can make a big difference in appointing the CEO.

The other mission of a CEO is internal and is to provide the various directors and department heads with the main strategic orientations. He therefore regularly exchanges with all stakeholders, from the marketing director or logistics manager to the communications director or the CFO. Therefore, he must be able to master many subjects and in a large company with a complex hierarchy it is important to have a long professional experience before getting the role of CEO.

The CEO of a company must also be an expert in its competitive environment, its market and its product in order to always be able to provide a relevant opinion about the way forward for the organization. Far from being operational, he should nurture a real strategic reflection based on the economy of his sector, but also the national and international economic situation.

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How do you become CEO of a company?

Becoming CEO of a company depends a lot on the type of structure one integrates. There are two types of Chief Executive Officer: the CEO of a startup or SME and the CEO of a large group or an ETI. So how do you become a CEO?

The CEO of a startup or an SME is often the founder. Unlike the Chief Executive Officer of a large group, he often gets his hands dirty, which gives him legitimacy as he directly controls the missions of the operational teams, but also the support functions. Nevertheless, he must be able to take himself out of everyday life to fuel a strategic reflection to lead his startup or SME to profitability.

The CEO of a large group or an ETI is often led and elected by the board of directors. It could be the result of internal promotion, as was the case for Apple CEO Tim Cook. He may also come from a competitor or other company and use his long professional experience to serve a new organization. In order to run a company where there are more departments than in a startup, it is important that the CEO of a large group has a solid professional background.

Also read: The Astronomical Salary of Apple CEO Tim Cook

The skills needed to become a CEO

As mentioned, certain skills are needed to become a CEO. In terms of soft skills, it is necessary to have excellent interpersonal skills and to be able to demonstrate that you have a solid network to call on if needed. The sense of listening is essential to better understand the problems of a branch of society and to know how to adapt. Finally, an analytical mind fine enough to observe and anticipate market developments.

On the hard skills side, management skills are absolutely essential to run your business and your teams. In the largest companies, the degree can make all the difference and leaving a Grande Ecole of engineering or management is an undeniable asset! It is also necessary to have notions of strategy, finance, sales and marketing.

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What are the differences between a CEO and a CEO?

What are the differences between a CEO and a CEO? The question may arise because the roles are similar. The first major difference is in the image that lives in the position of CEO. This feature is indeed much more modern. If in large companies we still use the term CEO in France, in startups, the term CEO is essential. Moreover, with the increasing internationalization of companies and companies, large groups are starting to use the term CEO more and more to the detriment of CEO, which has much less meaning for European or foreign counterparts.

The other difference can be found in the translation of CEO. Indeed, if we tend to translate this function by CEO, in France, power is less concentrated at the head of companies. In the United States, the CEO is surrounded by VPs (or Vice-Presidents) who each manage a division: product, marketing, international, etc. On the other hand, in France we often find the duo president and general manager at the head of a company. The president has a much more strategic and visionary role. He leads the large meetings of the board of directors, but the CEO (or general manager) is much more operational and directs the various branches of the company.

In rare cases, the CEO can only be translated as president. Some French companies are headed by a president, but do not necessarily have a general manager. As you will have understood, it is difficult to give a really clear translation of CEO as it mainly depends on the hierarchical layers of a company.

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CEO salary

The salary of a CEO is very high as this job is very demanding and requires long hours every day. In addition, it also offsets the stress generated by a function whose decisions can have a significant impact on a company’s activity.

In France, the salary of CEOs and CEOs is much lower than in the United States. Often, the CEO is also rewarded in stocks or shares, which encourages him to make informed decisions for the future of a company. Sometimes his financial compensation is directly linked to the results of the company he leads. Again, this is a carrot to push him to make the best choices for his organization.

If you want to know more about the salaries of the CEOs of the largest companies (Coca-Cola, Apple, Microsoft, Intel…), do not hesitate to read our article on this topic. You’ll learn about how their rewards are built, as well as the insane amounts they can receive, sometimes up to tens of millions of dollars a year.

Also read: The Salary of the Presidents of the Greatest World Powers in 2022

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