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What is CEO – Definition and Meaning

You must have heard many names in the news, such as Mark Zuckerberg, Sunder Pichai, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and Satya Nadela. These are neither famous actors nor politicians. The only thing they have in common is that they are CEOs of some company or another, and the work they do for their companies has made them famous. But what does it exactly mean to be a CEO? Let us understand what a CEO is, its definition, and its meaning.

Who is a CEO?

The full form of CEO is a Chief Executive Officer. They are one of the top-ranking executives in a company. They are responsible for the overall management and direction of the organization and have ultimate authority over all of its operations.

The role of a CEO varies depending on the size and type of company, but generally includes tasks such as setting strategic goals and objectives, making important decisions, and leading the company’s management team. They are also responsible for the financial performance of the company and are accountable to the board of directors.

In addition to these responsibilities, a CEO is also often the public face of the company, representing it in media and public relations, and serving as the primary spokesperson to shareholders and other stakeholders. They also play a key role in building relationships with other companies and organizations, both as potential partners and competitors.

Becoming a CEO is a challenging and rewarding career path, requiring a combination of business acumen, leadership skills, and strategic thinking. It typically requires many years of experience in a senior management role, as well as an advanced degree in business or a related field.

Definition of CEO

As mentioned above, a CEO is a top-ranking executive officer with various roles to play. Various people have defined their work in different ways. A few of these are mentioned below.

  1. The CEO is the chief architect of the company’s direction and future.
  2. Being a CEO is like being the conductor of an orchestra. You have to bring all the different parts together and get them to play harmoniously.
  3. The role of the CEO is to set the vision and strategy for the company, build the best possible team to execute on that vision and strategy, and then hold that team accountable for delivering the results.
  4. The CEO is the person who sets the tone for the organization, sets the direction, and is ultimately accountable for its success or failure.
  5. A CEO is a leader, not a manager. A CEO is responsible for setting the direction of the company, not just running it day-to-day.
  6. A CEO’s job is to set the tone for the company, create a culture, and build a team that can execute the strategy that will create the vision.

To sum up, people have defined a CEO in multiple ways, but the gist of it is that a CEO is someone who gives direction to the company by setting goals and a vision. This sums up their main task, while everything they do is directed towards achieving this goal or vision.


How can someone become a CEO?

The job of a CEO is quite versatile, so there are several different ways of getting to this position. Let us take a look at the most popular way you can do that.

Becoming a CEO is a challenging and rewarding career path that typically requires many years of experience and an advanced degree. Here are some steps that can help you on your journey to becoming a CEO:

    • Get an education: Many CEOs have a graduate degree in business or a related field, such as an MBA. This will give you the foundational knowledge and skills you need to understand the business world and make strategic decisions.
    • Gain experience: Start your career in a related field, such as finance, sales, or marketing, and work your way up through the ranks. As you gain experience, look for opportunities to take on more responsibility and leadership roles.

Get executive education: Generally, a person can become a CEO after at least 10 to 15 years. Executive education helps a person to update themselves on future technologies and strategies. Hence, getting executive education is preferred by a lot of people on the route of becoming a CEO.

Berkeley Executive Program in Management (Berkeley EPM)

The Berkeley Executive Program in Management (Berkeley EPM) is a general management program that prepares you for the next level of leadership. This program is created in such a way that it helps transform proven leaders into global executives ready to lead the charge. The Berkeley Executive Program in Management encourages its participants to reflect, enhance strategic thinking, and develop authentic leadership. It is designed to create an immersive, relevant and dynamic learning experience for senior executives, ready for the next level of the leadership challenge. It includes modules on advanced management competencies, leading innovative change, etc., which are a must for a person in C-level positions, to ensure growth of the company.

MIT Professional Education Technology Leadership Program (TLP)

This is a multi-modular program delivered by MIT faculty on campus and live virtually and geared towards the development needs of the next generation of technology CEOs, CTO’s, CIO’s and emerging leaders.  The program is designed for technology leaders and experienced practitioners from large corporations as well as startups – innovation-oriented firms who are focusing on leveraging emerging digital technologies to remain relevant and competitive in the marketplace. After completion of TLP, you will be a part of a cohort of global leaders and practitioners. You will also become an integral part of the global MIT Professional Education network and will be considered alumni of TLP as well as MIT Professional Education.

MIT Professional Education | Technology Leadership Program

UCLA Post Graduate Program in Management for Executives (UCLA PGPX)

It is an extensive general management program offered by the UCLA Anderson School of Management, one of the world’s top business schools. It is a part-time program with a modular format that provides great flexibility for busy professionals, while the UCLA faculty and industry leaders ensure that the program covers all aspects of best-in-class management education expected from a highly respected and globally renowned institution. The UCLA PGPX will put you on the map of global leadership, with a combination of strategies, skills, and acumen that will stretch your thinking and hone your abilities as a leader and manager capable of achieving remarkable growth in your business. This program has been designed to expose the participants to management and business leadership essentials in an extensive general management curriculum that is designed to be experiential in learning and applied in focus.


Accelerated Management Program (AMP) from the National University of Singapore Business School

In this 9-month program, you will build a solid foundation in strategy, leadership and finance and gain critical skills in emerging areas such as digital business and transformation, marketing analytics and growth hacking, as well as other cross-functional business skills to develop a growth mindset for your business, organization and industry. Participants are prepared to leverage accelerating trends in emerging technologies and changing business models and learn to use strategic insights and leadership practices to establish themselves as transformational business leader. It is a comprehensive learning journey that will help build future-ready capabilities through real-world case studies and interactions with faculty in a live-online format, using research-driven insights to drive growth. This program enables you to meet other high-achieving peers from around the world, develop a global perspective and the expertise to apply this knowledge.

  1. Build a strong network: Building relationships with other professionals in your industry can help you get ahead. Attend industry events, join professional organizations, and make connections with other leaders in your field.
  2. Develop leadership skills: As you gain experience, start developing your leadership skills. Learn how to lead teams, make strategic decisions, and communicate effectively with different audiences.
  3. Seek out mentorship: Find a mentor who is a successful CEO or business leader. They can provide guidance, advice, and help you navigate the challenges of the business world.
  4. Find the right opportunity: Once you have the education, experience, skills and network. Look for opportunities to become a CEO, whether that be within your current organization or at a new company.
  5. Be prepared to take risks: Being a CEO is not always easy, and you may have to make difficult decisions, take risks and handle pressure. But if you’re willing to work hard and put in the time, becoming a CEO is definitely an achievable goal.

It’s worth noting that the steps and the time required to become a CEO may vary depending on the industry and the company, and the path is not always linear. But by following these steps, you will be putting yourself in the best position to achieve your goal.


As a CEO, you have to perform a myriad of duties to handle the overall management of the company. They play a pivotal role in the growth and success of the company. This person is accountable to the board of directors and is often the face of the company to stakeholders, investors, and the public.

The CEO is the highest-ranking employee within an organization; their primary job includes reporting to the board of directors, setting and executing growth strategy, allocating capital and building and overseeing the executive team.

A managing director is someone who oversees the overall company’s management. They are answerable to the company’s shareholders. On the other hand, CEO is a not accountable to shareholders but directly answerable to board of directors.

A CEO can only be hired and fired by the board of directors of a company. This gives the chairman of the board power over the CEO. If a board feels that a CEO is not performing at acceptable levels, they can fire the CEO and replace them with a new one.

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