If you have ever dreamed of being the boss of your own company, you can achieve that quite quickly by launching your own startup. That way, you automatically have a management level, a C-Level, position and you can claim the corresponding title: Chief Officer (CO). You rarely find that title on its own in job descriptions though. Usually, there is a third word that explains the precise area of responsibility: Chief x Officer (CxO).
C-Level – The Most Important Positions
Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
In startups, the CEO is responsible for the company’s overall direction and decides which strategy to pursue. He/she usually represents the company to the outside, e.g. during business negotations or pitches. If the company has multiple managing positions, he/she is the highest-ranking executive.
Chief Financial Officer (CFO)
If the CEO is the company’s “president”, the CFO is the ”secretary of the treasury”. He/she is responsible for all financial matters and exactly knows which condition the company is in, financially. In startups, he/she is an important contact for current and potential investors.
Chief Marketing Officer (CMO)
As the head of sales and marketing. the CMO knows what the customers need. Advertising, market-oriented pricing, and and efficient distribution using different distribution channels are all part of the CMO’s domain. He/she is also responsible for market research, customer service, and various other activities.
Chief Operation Officer (COO)
The COO coordinates day-to-day operations. Which means that he/she does need to contribute visionary ideas or generate creative solutions. Instead, he/she is responsible for operations and work processes that make the business run like a well-oiled machine.
Chief Technical Officer (CTO)
Also called Chief Technology Officer. The CTO is the technical manager and mainly takes care that the company’s IT infrastructures operates as required. The job of the Chief Information Officer (CIO) features similar responsibilities – which is why the titles are often used interchangeably. If a company officers assigned to both positions, the CTO is usually the CMO’s subordinate.
No Creative Boundaries for C-Level Designations
Several other possible positions exist that might fill a slot on the management level. This depends on the size of the company – and the C-suite’s creative abilities. Since most titles have no strict definition, or are legally protected, there are many ways to play with the CxO abbreviation – talking about CxO, there might even be a CXO (Chief Experience Officer) who is responsible for the way people experience the company. Depending on the precise job description, the job of a CXO might be similar to that of the CMO.
Some titles might be used differently in different companies:the CLO can be the Chief Learning Officer (responsible for corporate/personal training), the Chief Legal Officer (head of the legal department), or Chief Logistics Officer. There is not even a limit to the three characters: There might a CHRO (Chief Human Relations Officer) as head of the HR department, or the CISO (Chief Information Security Officer) as head of the IT security department.
Odd Job Titles
Read about the oddest job titles currently used in the industry.