You will probably have come across the term CEO in your company before, so you know what it means. At least when it comes to an American or international company. Here’s what this position is all about.

Clarify meaning – Chief Executive Officer or Managing Director?

These two terms have long since found their way into everyday working life in Germany. But if you ask different people, you will always get contradicting answers.

  • According to abbreviationfinder, the term Chief Executive Officer or CEO comes from the USA.
  • This position designation in a company is not automatically common in English-speaking countries worldwide. You will find that England and the Commonwealth member states prefer to use the job title ‘Managing Director’. And they mean exactly the same position.
  • In terms of Chief Executive Officer, the CEO is always the managing director of a company.
  • Incidentally, you cannot, as is often claimed, derive from the CEO what type of company a company is. A CEO or a managing director can be the managing director of a sole proprietorship, but also a freelanceror the chairman of a public company. He just runs the company’s business.
  • The Managing Director does exactly the same thing in England and the Commonwealth. At the same time, however, in the USA a managing director is only to be found at a middle management level, so it has a different meaning there. So misunderstandings are the order of the day.
  • In Germany, the American version has become more and more popular. But since Germany, like England, is European, this too can lead to confusion.

Further use of the designation CEO

You will also find the CEO worldwide in other positions and in a modified form. And there are some positions whose meaning is quite different. Here the CEO is usually wrongly assumed.

  • For example, the term CEO has been modified to mean chief finance officer (CFO) for a company’s chief financial officer. Here, too, misunderstandings quickly arise, as some consider this to be a typo.
  • You will also notice that in some states a politician is called a CEO, such as in Hong Kong.
  • The CEO is never the chairman of the board of directors of a public company. Because: Although the chairman of the supervisory board has a lot of influence and power, he never manages the business. Its meaning and function is quite different. A supervisory board chairman always bears the title “Chairman” (quite correctly: Chairman of the Board).
  • In Germany, the term CEO – presumably because of the possibility of misinterpretation – still only has a job-descriptive character. Although it is used in job advertisements and organizational charts, under commercial and company law the title CEO is only a description of the function.

CEO Guide

CEO Guide