A corporation is a legally defined type of business organization with bylaws, shareholders, incorporation papers and legal protections. A corporation is typically run by three or more corporate officers, such as a president, treasurer and chief financial officer. The list of corporate officers is filed with the government and is publicly available, but tracking down the list can be a challenge. You can use several online tools to help you in your search.
Contact the Corporation
Your first stop should be the corporation itself. The corporate officers may be listed on the company's website, typically under categories such as "About Us" or "Management." If the information you're after is not available on the website, look for "Contact Us" information and call or email the company to request a list of corporate officers.
Check the SEC
Publicly traded corporations -- those listed on the stock market -- file extensive corporate information with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Almost all documents filed with the SEC are available online and can be accessed through a simple search. Enter the corporation's name at the SEC's EDGAR search site and examine the company's most recent annual (10-K) or quarterly (10-Q) report, which will identify the corporate officers. Note that many companies not listed on the stock exchange also file information with the SEC and you may find corporate officer information on these companies as well.
Check the State Register of Corporations
Companies incorporate in a specific state and file their corporation papers with the state government. This is usually handled by the Office of the Secretary of State. Visit that office's website to look up information on corporate officers as well as the date of incorporation and contact information for serving legal papers on the company. The information may be available online or you may need to contact the Office of the Secretary of State. Corporations do not have to incorporate in the state in which they are headquartered but often do so in states considered corporation-friendly, such as Delaware and Nevada.
Check Other Business Resources
Companies often use multiple Internet resources to disseminate information on their activities, structure and personnel. Search for the corporation's name on Facebook and LinkedIn for information on corporate officers (you need to register at these sites for a full search). Check your local library for access to business research tools like LexisNexis, ReferenceUSA and Data.com for information on corporate officers.
David Sarokin is a well-known specialist on Internet research. He has been profiled in the "New York Times," the "Washington Post" and in numerous online publications. Based in Washington D.C., he splits his time between several research services, writing content and his work as an environmental specialist with the federal government. David is the author of Missed Information (MIT Press, 2016), a book exploring how better information can lead to a more sustainable future.