What Does a Vice President Do?

The Responsibilities and Role of a Company Vice President

Vice president taking meeting with directors
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The vice president (VP) of an organization is generally the second or third in command. This depends on whether the person who is the president and the person who is the chief executive officer (CEO) have separate titles and roles. In many organizations, the title of president and CEO are held by the same person. If that is the case, the VP is the second in command.

The vice president has specific responsibilities depending on the needs of his or her organization. Therefore, the job responsibilities of a VP can vary greatly from organization to organization.

As with any level of management in an organization, the vice president's role starts with the fundamental job responsibilities of a manager. These are the basic oversight responsibilities of anyone in an organization that functions as a manager and has staff members reporting to them. 

More Than One Person Holds the Role of Vice President

Unlike the roles of CEO or president, organizations usually have more than one individual who is acting as the vice president. The larger the organization, the more VPs you can expect to see. To provide career paths for senior leaders and to manage organizational functions, the VP title is bestowed upon leaders as their position moves up the organization chart.

For example, in many large organizations, you will find a VP of finance, a VP of marketing, a VP of operations, a VP of sales, a VP of HR, and a VP of technology, to name just a few.

In these situations, the most senior VP is often given the title of senior VP or executive VP and the other VPs may report to him or her or to the president or CEO. In any case, the person designated senior VP is second in command to the president.

In some cases, the VP is responsible for several departments in an organization. For example, you might have a VP of sales and marketing who has both a director of sales and a director of marketing reporting to them. 

The Main Differential of a VP

One of the main differentials of the role of a VP is that the person who holds the position is also recognized as an officer of the company. This designation brings additional authority, responsibility, and accountability the role. 

Responsibilities of a Vice President

  • Participating on the president or CEO-led team that creates the organization's overall vision, mission, values, beliefs, and strategic goals.
  • Creating, communicating, and implementing the organization’s vision, mission, and overall direction within his or her areas of responsibility such as the finance or HR department.
  • Leading, guiding, directing, and evaluating the work of other executive leaders including assistant vice presidents, senior directors, and managers.
  • Formulating and implementing the strategic plan that guides the direction of their business or their area of functional responsibility, such as developing the strategic marketing plan, in addition to implementing the overall strategic direction.
  • Achieving the organization's overall strategic goals and contributing to the sales and profitability requirements of the business as determined by the strategic plans.
  • Forming, staffing, guiding, leading, and managing an organization of sufficient capability and size to accomplish the vice president's responsibilities and job requirements.
  • Overseeing the complete operation of an organization in accordance with the direction established in the strategic plans.
  • Evaluating the success of the organization. Does the organization achieve the overall success that was budgeted for, planned for, and aimed to accomplish? If not, why not? And, if not, the VP addresses how to get the organization back on track.
  • Maintaining awareness of both the external and internal competitive landscape, opportunities for expansion, customers, markets, new industry developments and standards, and so forth. Generally speaking, being aware of any opportunities that the organization can leverage.
  • Performing other responsibilities as assigned by the president or the CEO.

It's worth noting that the last responsibility is quite common, appearing in most job descriptions. The differential for the role of VP is that the top boss can assign any other new, unforeseen responsibilities, that would ultimately help the organization achieve success.

As you can see, a VP is broadly charged with undertaking senior level leadership duties within an organization. In essence, the VP oversees what is essentially a mini-company more about the role of a VP that is part of the larger overall organization.