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What Does a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Do?

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The University of West Florida (UWF) Master of Business Administration (MBA) online program prepares professionals with leadership skills to effectively direct and manage others and help an organization excel. The program develops leadership skills that graduates can apply at the managerial, executive and C-suite levels. For ambitious professionals, the training offered in this MBA program may even help propel them into the highest-ranking executive role in a corporate structure: the chief executive officer (CEO). CEOs lead organizations including public and private corporations, non-profits and even some government organizations.

The CEO is the chief architect and executor of a company’s policies and strategies. The top-ranking leader provides direction and guidance for a corporation, sets the tone for the development of company culture and is responsible for driving the company in its mission toward its goals. Concurrently, the CEO is responsible for managing the internal operating environment and maintaining vigilance over the external environment, including geographic markets and the competitive landscape.

The chief executive officer promotes the company to investors and provides accountability and communication with stakeholders and shareholders. In a publicly traded corporation, the CEO answers to the board of directors in revenue matters. In some companies, the chief role that corresponds with these same responsibilities may be the president, central executive officer, chief administrative officer, executive director or managing director. The CEO collaborates with the other executives in the C-suite, including the chief financial officer (CFO), chief operating officer (COO), chief data officer (CDO) and chief information officer (CIO).

Chief CEO Responsibilities

CEOs provide guidance and leadership through a variety of functions and responsibilities, including the following:

  • Determining the strategic direction of the company and formulating plans in accordance
  • Factoring in geopolitics, economics, supply chain and stakeholder expectations into decisions
  • Communicating the company’s vision and mission
  • Setting long-term and short-term revenue and profitability goals
  • Assessing emerging areas of business opportunity
  • Determining ways to grow the business
  • Managing the organization through accelerating change
  • Overseeing the organization’s budget and investment priorities
  • Personally execute many high-impact initiatives to achieve corporate goals
  • Reviewing potential acquisitions or mergers to enhance shareholder value
  • Representing the organization to the media, in the industry and community
  • Evaluating the success of major business initiatives and company performance against goals

A Curriculum Designed to Develop Top Leaders

Training to become a chief executive officer occurs in business school and through professional experience. Earning an MBA is a proven key to success for those with an eye on the C-suite. While you do not need an MBA to become a CEO, 22.3% of the world’s top CEOs have an MBA, and the United States boasts the most MBA graduates among CEOs at 68.7%. reports that 40% of U.S. CEOs have master’s degrees and 75% have 10 or more years of experience.

While the complete program curriculum provides leadership training, one course is particularly instrumental in developing the mindset required of a CEO. The Strategic Management and Policy Formulation course utilizes case analysis, a strategic simulation and other related experiential exercises. It integrates and applies the various business management functions from the strategic viewpoint of the organizational chief executive officer.

In the Operations Management Problems course, students study planning and control of domestic and multi-national operations by utilizing information inside and outside the organization. Students learn techniques to plan and improve location, layout, facility flow, design of work and management of the human factor — all emphasizing management and maintenance of quality.

The program’s curriculum also develops the characteristics necessary to succeed in the C-suite, including as CEO. These include a clear vision of business strategies and trends, effective communication skills, passion for inspiring, patience and fortitude to handle pressure and overcome challenges.

Job and Salary Outlook

According to, as of October 2022, the average Chief Executive Officer salary in the United States is $802,870 with a range between $606,855 and $1,034,436. However, the compensation varies, depending on years in profession, education and prior performance.

If you believe you have the intellectual capabilities, character, ambition and work ethic it takes to reach the pinnacle of organizational leadership, start on your path to the CEO chair with the proven training from a top MBA program.

Learn more about UWF’s online MBA program.

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