“What’s in a name?” William Shakespeare famously asked in Romeo and Juliet. In today’s corporations, the more suitable question might be: “What’s in an executive job title?” The answer: Quite a lot.
This document describes in a few words the 100 most popular executive jobs that we have found at the 75,000 most successful companies that we follow.
Each executive job title reflects the function, the seniority and the authority bestowed on each executive.
Collectively, these job descriptions reflect the present tense functional priorities of the 21st-century corporation.
Vice President, Senior Vice President or Executive Vice President
For identical functions, of course, each company has its own way of recognizing its executive seniority of its executives: Some companies will have Senior Vice President reporting to the CEO and Vice President reporting to its Senior Vice Presidents; other companies will have Executive Vice Presidents reporting to the CEO and Senior Vice Presidents reporting to them. There are many other ways.
In the list below, we focus on the functions and not the seniority of executive titles themselves. We precede each management function with Vice President since it is the most frequent prefix in companies with annual revenues exceeding $100M. In each case, the title Vice President may be replaced with Executive Vice President or Senior Vice President and sometimes other titles.
In the text that follows, here is how these 100 executive jobs are divided:
1. The Board of Directors
The board of directors is empowered by the shareholders to hire (and fire) a company’s key officers and to vet the accounting, the budget, and acquisitions. The company shareholders (the company owners) elect for a three to five-year term typically four to twelve Directors.
Chairman of the Board or Chairman of the Supervisory Board heads the board of directors, sets the board agenda and submits resolutions to the vote of the directors. The Chairman of the Board is elected within the directors by the directors. Sometimes the Chairman of the Board is called the Lead Director. The board of directors usually meet between six and 12 times a year.
Director or Member of the Supervisory Board. Each director participates in six to 12 board meetings a year. Some directors can be nominated to some board committees consisting of two to three directors who work on recommendations to present to the board of directors. Example: The Committee of Nominations and Remunerations would recommend the compensation for key executives; the Committee of Audit and Compliance would verify the regulation conformities usually with the assistance of auditors.
Independent Director: The board of directors is usually comprised of two types of directors: Executive Directors (those employed in senior roles by the corporation e.g., the company CEO) and Independent Directors (those not employed by the corporation). Independent Directors are usually shareholders selected for their expertise.
Director, Employee Representative: In the company status or by law, some director positions might be reserved for employee representatives. These representatives are elected by company employees and not by the shareholders.
2. The Big Bosses
Chief Executive Officer (CEO): The CEO is the Boss and has the full authority of the company operations and strategy. Sometimes the role is combined with the role of Chairman of the Board (or Chairman of the Supervisory Board). This role is called President or Managing Director in some countries or in some legal forms of companies.
Chief Operating Officer (COO): This decision-maker oversees the daily operations of the company and reports to the Chief Executive Officer. He or she is the most senior operational executive within the corporation. Not all corporations have COOs; sometimes the operational functions of a COO are delegated to individual divisional heads.
Vice President, Division or Vice President, Region: In companies operating globally, the sales and operational functions are either divided up by product/service lines or by geographies. Example: Vice President, Americas; Vice President, Europe Middle East, and Africa or Vice President, Asia and Pacific.
Vice President, Country: Some vice presidents are tasked with managing the sales and/or operations of a specific country. They will usually report to a regional senior vice president (e.g., A Vice President, Germany would report to a Senior Vice President, Europe).
Vice President, Office: Large corporations with extensive office presence, sometimes assign a vice president to oversee the operations and/or sales functions of specific offices (e.g., Vice President, San Francisco would report to the Senior Vice President, North America).
Most of the functions below usually report to the General Counsel or the CEO.
Vice President, Legal or General Counsel: is a corporation’s most senior legal officer responsible for all legal matters confronting a corporation including contracts, intellectual properties, litigations, and regulatory compliance.
Chief of Staff: The Chief of Staff coordinates the CEO agenda and the Executive Committee Agenda. This function is instrumental when many fast decisions are to be shared with several executives before being submitted to the Chief Executive Officer.
Secretary: A corporate secretary prepares, documents, follows and files decisions taken by the Chief Executive Officer and its Executive Committee. A board secretary would handle the same responsibilities for decisions by the Chairman of the Board and its board of directors.
Vice President, Compliance: The Vice President, Compliance is responsible for understanding various regulatory and accreditation requirements and ensuring that the company is in full conformity with these obligations. These roles are particularly common in highly regulated industries such as banking, insurance, and pharmaceuticals.
Vice President, Corporate Responsibility: The Vice President, Corporate Responsibility assesses and manages a company’s ethical and community responsibilities ensuring both regulatory compliance and satisfactory interaction with core external audiences, including communities, customers and relevant interest groups.
Vice President, Contracts: A Vice President, Contracts may function on a corporate level or sometimes a business unit level and maintains responsibility for the assessment, initiation, negotiation, and renewal of contracts with vendors, customers or partners.
Vice President, Fraud: The Vice President, Fraud maintains responsibility for protecting a corporation from external or internal fraud and, when incidents of fraud do occur, investigating them. With the vast growth of cyber-related crime, the focus of this position often is on securing confidentiality, privacy, and payments.
Vice President, Intellectual Property: The Vice President, Intellectual Property centers on the management of patients, rights, and brands. This position is focused on protecting the company knows how and eventually filing, buying, leasing or selling rights or patents.
Vice President, Public Affairs: Especially important in highly regulated industries, the Vice President, Public Affairs is usually charged with interacting, representing or lobbying for a corporation before governmental and regulatory audiences.
Vice President, Regulation: Companies are sometimes required to navigate cumbersome and complex regulatory environments. The Vice President, Regulation is responsible for understanding, complying and influencing these regulatory obligations.
When they exist, most of the functions below report to the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and sometimes to Chief Executive Officer (CEO):
Chief Financial Officer (CFO): The Chief Financial Officer is a corporation’s most senior position responsible for finances, including accounting, cash, credit, forecasting, and reporting. The CFO presents the financial results to the shareholders, often reports directly to the CEO, and is sometimes a member of the Board of Directors.
Vice President, Accounting: The Vice President, Accounting, sometimes titled Chief Accounting Officer, is a company’s senior accounting executive responsible for all internal and external corporate accounting functions. This is a fiduciary role where incumbents can be held personally accountable to the shareholders if accounting is found to be misleading.
Vice President, Administration: The Vice President, Administration maintains responsibility for a company’s administrative functions and processes and sometimes its business functions and processes.
Vice President, Audit: The Vice President, Audit is responsible for routine and spot auditing to ensure that all the company processes and guidelines are executed efficiently. This includes best practices, the delegation of authorities and internal control. Their reports are scrutinized by the CEO, the board of directors and the regulators.
Vice President, Control: The Vice President, Control, sometimes more simply titled Controller, is a very common finance position in most corporations and maintains responsibility for all corporate financial statements, corporate budgeting, management processes, and profit contribution analysis.
Vice President, Credit: The Vice President, Credit oversees a company’s credit terms and operations with external customers who maintain credit relationships with the company. This commonly includes developing the amount, interest, maturation and covenants of each customer credit.
Vice President, Facilities: Particularly common in companies with multiple facilities or locations, the Vice President, Facilities is typically responsible for negotiating, securing, maintaining, and managing all facilities, including the catering, the parking, the safety, and the surveillance.
Vice President, Financial Planning: The Vice President, Financial Planning is a finance executive, typically reporting to a company’s CFO, who is responsible for short and long-term financial planning within a corporation, including revenue, fixed and variable cost, and profitability projections.
Vice President, Insurance: The Vice President, Insurance is responsible for overseeing a company’s relationship and terms with its various insurers, including defining the optimal terms of its insurance coverage.
Vice President, Investment: The Vice President, Investment is responsible for managing long and short-term investments, including the allocation of these investments, with the goal of ensuring both liquidity and return.
Vice President, Investor Relations: The Vice President, Investor Relations interacts with the company’s investors and shareholders. This commonly includes the presentation of quarterly earnings reports, presenting the company to prospective investors, and interacting with investment research firms.
Vice President, Mergers and Acquisitions: The Vice President, Mergers and Acquisitions prospects and negotiates the company’s mergers and acquisitions. The goals of these mergers and acquisitions typically are to acquire technologies, expand market share, or develop synergies.
Vice President, Procurement: The Vice President, Procurement oversees a company’s purchasing of items necessary for the production and delivery of its products and services. This is about optimizing the continuity, the quality and the pricing of the deliveries though strong supplier relationships and adequate contractual terms.
Vice President, Real Estate: The Vice President, Real Estate is responsible for the acquisition, management, and sale of company real estate assets, including negotiating terms of a lease and constructing new facilities.
Vice President, Risk: The Vice President, Risk is responsible for assessing and mitigating a company’s various risks to liability. This may include contributing to decision-making on corporate operational and process decisions and relying on specialized insurance companies.
Vice President, Tax: The Vice President, Tax optimizes the federal, state, and local tax company obligations across the world and sometimes oversees the filing of its various tax returns. For global corporations, optimizing a company’s tax obligations might involve relocating some subsidiaries and negotiating with local regulators.
Vice President, Treasury: The Vice President, Treasury is charged with maintaining sufficient liquidity, optimizing cash, credit, bonds and short-term investments leveraging banks and the financial markets.
Vice President, Human Resources: The Vice President, Human Resources, sometimes titled Chief People Officer, is the most senior-level human resource executive charged with managing recruitment, employee on-boarding, employee benefits, employee terminations, internal communication, organization, and training.
Vice President, Compensation and Benefits: The Vice President, Compensation and Benefits develops all employee compensation and benefit terms. This may commonly include researching the competitors’ compensation terms and providing health, life, retirement insurances or equity grants.
Vice President, Culture: Increasingly, companies recognize that their culture is crucial to its success. The Vice President, Culture improves culture to ensure company success and employee satisfaction.
Vice President, Diversity: The Vice President, Diversity ensures social diversity at all levels of a company through hiring, compensation, integration, and promotion. This is about enriching the company by integrating a variety of personnel and avoiding any discrimination.
Vice President, Integration: The Vice President, Integration ensures the adequate assimilation of new business units, especially common following an acquisition when a new activity is being assimilated.
Vice President, Organization: The Vice President, Organization designs and maintains the company by mapping the risk, building the succession planning and documenting the key company processes.
Vice President, Recruiting: The Vice President, Recruiting or Vice President Talent Acquisition searches for potential employees through job posting, college campuses or headhunters, and then assesses their cultural fit and their prospective contributions through tests and interviews.
Vice President, Security: The Vice President, Security ensures a company’s personnel and assets against internal or external threats. This may include developing security protocols, conducting incident investigations and managing security personnel.
Vice President, Sustainability: The Vice President, Sustainability develops internal sustainable practices and favors sustainable suppliers. The purpose of this position is for the company and its ecosystem to better utilize natural resources and minimize any negative impact on the environment and society.
Vice President, Talent: The Vice President, Talent ensures that the corporation attracts and retains the talent necessary for its sustainable success. They engage employees through thoughtfully-developed compensation and benefits, performance management and organizational adaptation.
Vice President, Training: The Vice President, Training is responsible for the development, management, and implementation of training programs, associated with the onboarding of new employees, and developmental training for existing employees.
Vice President, Transformation: The Vice President, Transformation coordinates personnel and operational processes associated with any corporate transformational goals. Transformational programs are particularly common when a company is undertaking substantial changes to its product or service.
Addressing the markets is something essential for a company. The two core historical market functions that are most present in organizational charts are Vice President, Marketing and Vice President, Sales.
Vice President, Marketing: The Vice President, Marketing, sometimes titled Chief Marketing Officer, is typically a corporation’s most senior executive responsible for all marketing functions, including product management, product pricing, product promotion, digital development, market research and often communication.
Vice President, Sales: The Vice President, Sales, sometimes titled Chief Sales Officer, the position is the most senior sales executive managing Area Sales Managers, Channel Managers, Key Account Managers, and often eCommerce Managers. A Chief Sales Officer holds responsibility for meeting a corporation’s sales goals.
As markets transform technology and opening new opportunities, these functions have been significantly transformed in recent years as new expertise emerges in market analysis, product marketing, communication, and sales.
6.1 Market Analysis
These functions often report to the Vice President, Marketing:
Vice President, Analytics: Few functional areas have grown more rapidly than those associated with data. But data’s value exists only in its analytical interpretation. The Vice President, Analytics is responsible for assembling, manipulating, and interpreting data so that it can be utilized for maximum business value.
Vice President, Business Intelligence: The Vice President, Business Intelligence focus on the customer, vendor, and competitor real-time data. This might include data on products, services, processes, markets, pricing, and financials.
Vice President, Data: Most common in companies collecting and utilizing extensive amounts of data, the Vice President, Data is responsible for the collection, the storage and the exploitation of an organization’s data. This usually will include both technical, analytical and business skill sets.
Vice President, Market Research: Most large corporations need to assess both their current markets and markets that may represent sensible growth areas. The Vice President, Market Research is responsible for obtaining, organizing, interpreting, and presenting this research in ways that are actionable and useful.
Vice President, Strategy: The Vice President, Strategy develops and articulates the company strategy looking 2 to 5 years ahead. The job includes identifying growth and efficiency opportunities and leveraging corporate assets toward these goals.
6.2 Product Marketing
Those functions often report to the Vice President, Marketing:
Vice President, Design: The Vice President, Design usually oversees the products and services to make them easy to manufacture, attractive to use, resistant over time and easy to recycle. Designers are involved in all the stages of product creation.
Vice President, Digital: The Vice President, Digital manages a corporation’s online presence, including its websites, intranets, online advertising, and eCommerce channels. Most recently, the job is expanding toward creating new services. developing productivity tools and transforming production processes.
Vice President, Innovation: The Vice President, Innovation drives major innovation initiatives, coaches departmental innovations, shares best internal practices and explores partnerships with innovative companies.
Vice President, Partnerships: The Vice President, Partnerships is responsible for managing and developing constructive and mutually beneficial relationships with partners. The relationships are often focused on promoting complementary products to provide more comprehensive solutions to targeted customers.
Vice President, Pricing: The Vice President, Pricing is responsible for researching, testing and developing recommendations for the pricing of a company’s products or services. This often includes considerable market research to understand competitor pricing and to balance revenue and profitability objectives.
Vice President, Product Management: The Vice President, Product Management is responsible for improving the product features and developing sales throughout a product’s life. This often includes overseeing pre-sales tools, product messaging, after-sales experience and some of its production.
Vice President, Product Development: The Vice President, Product Development is responsible for overseeing the development of products from conception through manufacture and distribution.
Vice President, Venture: The Vice President, Venture is responsible for exploring new markets, for partnering with start-ups, for recommending mergers and acquisitions and sometimes for developing a company venture fund.
6.3 Market Communication
Vice President, Communication: The Vice President, Communication, sometimes titled Chief Communications Officer, focuses on brand, advertising, public relation and often internal communication.
The roles below often report to a Chief Communication Officer:
Vice President, Advertising: The Vice President, Advertising is responsible for the corporation’s broadcast, print and online advertising, including ensuring these advertisements advance the company’s brand identity. The job involves the hiring of communication agencies and a good understanding of the media landscape.
Vice President, Brand: The Vice President, Brand is responsible for overseeing a corporation’s brand identity, including its image, presentation, and packaging. These jobs are very present in the cosmetics, luxury products, and automotive industries.
Vice President, Media: The Vice President, Media typically oversees the purchasing of media space to optimize the print, radio, billboard, online and television presence. The job requires a great understanding of the yield of each media format and smart analytics to assess the impact.
Vice President, Public Relations: Companies usually place considerable emphasis on communicating and interacting with external constituencies that are key to its external image and business success. The Vice President, Public Relations creates and implements messaging including developing press releases, identifying and cultivating relations with journalists and core constituency groups, and often serving as a primary spokesperson for the corporation.
These roles often report to the Vice President, Sales and sometimes to the CEO or the COO:
Vice President, Business Development: The Vice President, Business Development is responsible for identifying new products or services, developing early stage prospects and partners and prospecting new geographic marketplaces.
Vice President, Channel: The Vice President, Channel is responsible for the sales development through distribution channels such as retail, eCommerce, wholesale, agents or partners.
Vice President, Customer Experience: The Vice President, Customer Experience is responsible for measuring and developing customers’ experience. The job is about collecting customer feedback, providing expeditious and courteous customer assistance and delivering overall customer satisfaction.
Vice President, Customer Relations Management: The Vice President, Customer Relations Management manages interactions with its customers, it’s messaging with customers and handling customer requests. CRM software often is implemented to better structure prospect follow-up and deploy best practices quickly and effectively.
Vice President, Customer Success: The Vice President, Customer Success advises current customers on ways to better benefit from product features and to extract more value from their growing product usage. This is one of the very best ways to impact revenue growth and maximize contract renewals.
Vice President, eCommerce: The Vice President, eCommerce is responsible for developing and managing a company’s online business, including enriching the catalog of products, making its web site interface user-friendly, sending emailing and developing online advertising.
Vice President, Growth: The Vice President, Growth usually is dedicated to identifying and pursuing fast growth opportunities through evangelizing prospects and signing new customers.
Vice President, Key Accounts: The Vice President, Key Accounts provides handling and interaction with key customers. The position’s premise is that some accounts are so core to a company’s success that they should be managed individually to ensure customers are satisfied and retained.
Vice President, Loyalty: The Vice President, Loyalty develops return business from existing customers. This often includes the development of rewards programs designed to provide favors to repeat customers as airlines, hotels and credit cards have been running for years.
Vice President, Merchandising: In companies with an online or a retail store presence, the Vice President, Merchandising is responsible for the purchase, pricing, display and promotion of a company’s products.
Vice President, Revenue: The Vice President, Revenue is tasked with generating more profits through analytics and algorithms. They are systematically found in airlines, hotels and telecommunication sectors to match in real time their inventories of seats, rooms or bandwidth with their customer demand.
Vice President, Services: The Vice President, Services provides complimentary, professional services on top of the existing products and services.
The Operations functions often report to a Chief Operation Officer
Vice President, Operations or Chief Operation Officer: The Vice President, Operations is a senior-level operational executive responsible for overseeing the manufacturing, logistics and transportation processes.
Vice President, Industrial: The Vice President, Industrial develops and oversees the company’s industrial know-how and ensures they are shared and employed satisfactorily across the manufacturing plants.
Vice President, Logistics: The Vice President, Logistics oversees the logistical processes of the physical goods including the storage, the sorting, the packaging, and the transportation.
Vice President, Manufacturing: The Vice President, Manufacturing oversees the manufacturing resources, including meeting the production and inventory demands, and maintaining and upgrading its manufacturing machinery.
Vice President, Quality: The Vice President, Quality oversees the quality processes regarding operations, product or service delivery, and customer satisfaction to meet quality goals and minimize the waste.
Vice President, Supply Chain: Common in companies with lengthy or complex supply chain processes, the Vice President, Supply Chain maintains the supply chains, including its processes and inventories.
Vice President, Transportation: The Vice President, Transportation is responsible for assessing and managing a company’s transportation needs and processes, including those associated with transporting raw materials and end products to customers by trains, trucks, ships, planes, pipelines or grids.
The Engineering functions often report to a Chief Technical Officer.
Vice President, Engineering or Chief Technical Officer: The Vice President, Engineering is managing a team of experts and engineers with a deep, unique knowledge of the core technologies of the company. They are involved in the new product development and in the manufacturing processes.
Vice President, Research and Development: The Vice President, Research and Development center on lab work to introduce new products and services or to engineer existing process improvements.
Vice President, Science: The Vice President, Science centers on fundamental research. The development cycles usually take several years and can bring breakthrough innovation. Its discoveries can sometimes be patented and transform the company potential for decades. Its presence is often happening in technology, semiconductor, and biotechnology.
7.3 Information Technology
Information technologies have become so crucial that companies have increased the number of experts assisting the Chief Information Officer in managing internal teams or external vendors.
Vice President, Information Technology or Chief Information Officer: The Vice President, Information Technology, runs the company information systems including its architecture definition, its application development, and its infrastructure operation. The Vice President, Information Technology commonly reports to the CFO, COO or CEO. All the other functions below are often parts of his/her team.
Vice President, Application: The Vice President, Application, is developing, customizing and maintaining business applications. It can include a tool to help the sales team, the interface to integrate external data or implementing an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software to extract valuable company data.
Vice President, Artificial Intelligence: The Vice President, Artificial Intelligence is finding out the best algorithms and software packages to increase the company productivity. The job involves a lot of data preparation, algorithm fine-tuning, and many trials.
Vice President, Cloud: The Vice President, Cloud, is developing, customizing or hosting some application on private or public cloud. The Cloud technologies are providing faster ways to develop new applications, scale high volume of requests and get faster response time.
Vice President, Development: The Vice President, Application, is developing or customizing software assisted with large teams of software developers. It can be about the system architecture, the telecom network or the software applications.
Vice President, Information Security or Chief Information Security Officer are actively paring any data loss or data leakage through technologies, processes, and training. New missions for the role include privacy compliance, risk auditing and real-time prevention from hacking or other threatening cyber activity.
Vice President, Infrastructure: The Vice President, Infrastructure, is responsible for selecting, installing and maintaining the company sets of computers, networks, software so that applications can be developed and perform for the users 24/7.
Vice President, Project: The Vice President, Project, is coordinating the users’ expectations with technological developments. Large projects may require coordinating 10’s of multitasking participants during months while meeting the project deadlines and complying with the budget targets.
Vice President, Telecom: The Vice President, Telecom, is responsible for selecting and running the sets of mobile, satellite, routers, cables so that the information can circulate instantly and securely, within the company and with third parties.
Vice President, Technology: The Vice President, Technology, is responsible for the information technology strategy regarding digital, electronics and software. Technological choices often engage the company for five or ten years and may generate huge opportunities and savings.