President (corporate title)

The President is a leader of an organization, company, community, club, trade union, university or other group[1].[2] The relationship between the president and the Chief Executive Officer varies, depending on the structure of the specific organization. In a similar vein to the Chief Operating Officer, the title of corporate President as a separate position (as opposed to being combined with a "C-Suite" designation, such as "President and Chief Executive Officer" or "President and Chief Operating Officer") is also loosely defined; the President is usually the legally recognized highest rank of corporate officer, ranking above the various Vice Presidents (including Senior Vice President and Executive Vice President), but on its own generally considered subordinate, in practice, to the CEO. The powers of the president vary widely across organizations and such powers come from specific authorization in the bylaws like Robert's Rules of Order (e.g. the president can make an "executive decision" only if the bylaws allow for it).[3]

Occupation type
Activity sectors
CompetenciesLeadership, financial skills
Related jobs
CEO, Executive officer, Vice president, Managing Director, Representative Director, COO, General Manager, Chairman, Vice-Chairman


Originally, the term "president" was used to designate someone who presided over a meeting, and was used in the same way that "foreman" or "overseer" is used now (the term is still used in that sense today).[4][5] It has now also come to mean "chief officer" in terms of administrative or executive duties.

Duties at meetings

AGM Annual General Meeting of a typical small (141 member) volunteer organisation
President presiding over the AGM of a small volunteer organization. President sitting at the left of table in the background

In addition to the administrative or executive duties in organizations, the president has the duties of presiding over meetings.[6] Such duties at meetings include:

  • calling the meeting to order
  • determining if a quorum is present
  • announcing the items on the order of business or agenda as they come up
  • recognition of members to have the floor
  • enforcing the rules of the group
  • putting all questions (motions) to a vote
  • adjourning the meeting

While presiding, the president should remain impartial and not interrupt a speaker if the speaker has the floor and is following the rules of the group.[7] In committees or small boards, the president votes along with the other members. However, in assemblies or larger boards, the president should vote only when it can affect the result.[8] At a meeting, the president only has one vote (i.e. the president cannot vote twice and cannot override the decision of the group unless the organization has specifically given the president such authority).[9]

Powers and authority

The powers of the president vary widely across organizations. In some organizations the president has the authority to hire staff and make financial decisions, while in others the president only makes recommendations to a board of directors, and still others the president has no executive powers and is mainly a spokesman for the organization. The amount of power given to the president depends on the type of organization, its structure, and the rules it has created for itself.[10]

Disciplinary procedures

If the president exceeds the given authority, engages in misconduct, or fails to perform the duties, the president may face disciplinary procedures. Such procedures may include censure, suspension, or removal from office. The rules of the particular organization would provide details on who can perform these disciplinary procedures and the extent that they can be done.[11] Usually, whoever appointed or elected the president has the power to discipline this officer.


Some organizations may have a position of President-Elect in addition to the position of President. Generally the membership of the organization elects a President-Elect and when the term of the President-Elect is complete, that person automatically becomes President.[12]

Immediate Past President

Some organizations may have a position of Immediate Past President in addition to the position of President.[13][14][15] In those organizations, when the term of the President is complete, that person automatically fills the position of Immediate Past President. The organization can have such a position only if the bylaws provide it.[16] The duties of such a position would also have to be provided in the bylaws.[16]


  1. ^ "Example of Presidential Jobs".
  2. ^ "Example of President and Leaders".
  3. ^ Robert, Henry M.; et al. (2011). Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Da Capo Press. p. 456. ISBN 978-0-306-82020-5.
  4. ^ Guy Raz (December 14, 2013). "'President' Once Meant Little More Than 'Foreman'". Retrieved December 12, 2012.
  5. ^ "President". Retrieved 2015-12-19. a person who presides.
  6. ^ Robert 2011, p. 449
  7. ^ Robert 2011, p. 44: "The presiding officer must never interrupt a speaker simply because he knows more about the matter than the speaker does."
  8. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions about RONR (Question 1)". The Official Robert's Rules of Order Web Site. The Robert's Rules Association. Retrieved 2015-12-19.
  9. ^ Robert 2011, p. 406
  10. ^ Robert 2011, p. 456
  11. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions about RONR (Question 20)". The Official Robert's Rules of Order Web Site. The Robert's Rules Association. Retrieved 2015-12-24.
  12. ^ Robert 2011, p. 457
  13. ^ "What is the Immediate Past President? - Association of Information Technology Professionals". Retrieved 2016-01-30.
  14. ^ "President-Elect/President/Immediate Past President". Retrieved 2016-01-30.
  15. ^ "President-elect, President or Immediate Past President Position Description". Retrieved 2016-01-30.
  16. ^ a b Robert 2011, p. 572

Further reading

  • Bennett, Nathan; Stephen A. Miles (2006). Riding Shotgun: The Role of the COO. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press. ISBN 0-8047-5166-8.
  • National Association of ParliamentariansĀ®, Education Committee (1993). Spotlight on You the President. Independence, MO: National Association of ParliamentariansĀ®. ISBN 1-884048-15-3.
Board of directors

A board of directors is a group of people who jointly supervise the activities of an organization, which can be either a for-profit business, nonprofit organization, or a government agency. Such a board's powers, duties, and responsibilities are determined by government regulations (including the jurisdiction's corporations law) and the organization's own constitution and bylaws. These authorities may specify the number of members of the board, how they are to be chosen, and how often they are to meet.

In an organization with voting members, the board is accountable to, and might be subordinate to, the organization's full membership, which usually vote for the members of the board. In a stock corporation, non-executive directors are voted for by the shareholders, with the board having ultimate responsibility for the management of the corporation. The board of directors appoints the chief executive officer of the corporation and sets out the overall strategic direction. In corporations with dispersed ownership, the identification and nomination of directors (that shareholders vote for or against) are often done by the board itself, leading to a high degree of self-perpetuation. In a non-stock corporation with no general voting membership, the board is the supreme governing body of the institution, and its members are sometimes chosen by the board itself.


The chairman (also chair or chairperson) is the highest officer of an organized group such as a board, a committee, or a deliberative assembly. The person holding the office is typically elected or appointed by the members of the group, and the chairman presides over meetings of the assembled group and conducts its business in an orderly fashion.In some organizations, the chairman position is also called president (or other title), in others, where a board appoints a president (or other title), the two different terms are used for distinctly different positions.

Tim Clark (airline executive)

Sir Timothy Charles Clark (Born 1949) is the current President of Emirates. He was also the Managing Director of SriLankan Airlines until 2008. Clark is an economics graduate from the University of London. He attended Kent College Canterbury and is a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society.

Vice president

A vice president (in British English: vice-president for governments and director for businesses) is an officer in government or business who is below a president (managing director) in rank. It can also refer to executive vice presidents, signifying that the vice president is on the executive branch of the government, university or company. The name comes from the Latin vice meaning "in place of". In some countries, the vice president is called the deputy president. In everyday speech, the abbreviation VP can be used.

Chief officers
Senior executives
Mid-level executives
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