The Role of a President in a Company

Male CEO presenting plan in meeting room

 Getty Images/Klaus Vedfelt

The president is an employee who is the leader or head of a business, organization, agency, institution, union, university, government, or branch of government. In many organizations, the president is the top employee in the organization's chain of command.

President is also a job title used to designate the leader of portions or divisions of organizations that report to an overall organization. An example is an acquired company that is now a subsidiary of a larger corporation.

(In some organizations, the president reports to a CEO who is the top leader; in others, the head of the organization takes on the title of president and CEO.) The president / CEO may also own the business and may have founded the business, so his or her commitment to the business is deep.

Organizations use various job titles to designate the individual who leads the organization: some organizations have Chief Executive Officers (CEOs); some have Chairmen/CEOs; others have CEO/Presidents. Others have presidents.

In organizations where a CEO exists, the President is second in command. In any organization, the titles may designate the same person with the same job — the head or leader of the organization. As such, the responsibilities of a president closely mirror those of a CEO.

The President Is the Head of an Organization

The role of president typically refers to the head of an organization as in the person who presides over or is in charge of an organization.

Whichever titles are used in an organization, the president is the top person in command of an organization and has specific responsibilities depending on the needs of his or her organization. Presidents are expected to provide the overall leadership in an organization and they provide direction for the actions of all other employees.

Thus, the president's job responsibilities can vary from organization to organization. As with any level of management in an organization, the president's role starts with the fundamental job responsibilities of a manager.

Because the role of the president bears significant responsibility, accountability, and authority within an organization, the president has these additional responsibilities in leading their organizations.

Responsibilities of a President

  • Creating, communicating and implementing the organization's vision, mission, and overall direction. Making sure that the direction is communicated on a level that allows every employee to feel as if they are part of something bigger than themselves and that their role is strategically important to the organization.​
  • Leading, guiding, directing, and evaluating the work of other executive leaders including senior vice presidents, vice presidents, and directors, usually depending on the size of the organization.​
  • With the participation of the executive team, meets regularly with senior company leadership to make sure that decisions the organization needs are well-thought out and timely. Uses this team to spread ideas and direction throughout the organization until every employee understands their expected role and responsibilities for contribution.​
  • Formulating and implementing the strategic plan that guides the direction of the business. Using the input of employees at every level of the organization to develop the strategic plan.​
  • Forming, staffing, guiding, leading and managing an organization sufficient to accomplish the president's responsibilities and the strategic plan of the business.​
  • Overseeing the complete operation of an organization in accordance with the direction established in the strategic plans.​
  • Evaluating the success of the organization. Using a set of strategically important measures to determine the ongoing success — or lack thereof — that the organization is experiencing. Using non-measurable aspects of the work environment to gauge other aspects of business success.​
  • Maintaining awareness of both the external and internal competitive landscape, opportunities for expansion, customers, markets, new industry developments and standards, and so forth.​ You can think of the president as the chief scoping for opportunity officer.
  • The president frequently represents the organization in civic and professional association responsibilities and activities in the local community, the state, and at the national level. (Other executive leaders bear responsibility for these ventures as interested or assigned as well.) They frequently participate as board members or senior advisors.

    In an organization with a CEO, the president's responsibilities are less than these as determined by the needs of the organization. If the president heads a subsidiary company or an acquired division, the president's responsibilities are the same as the CEOs for the smaller unit.