What Are C-Level Managers?

by Tim Plaehn; Updated September 26, 2017
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C-level managers hold the highest executive positions in a corporation. The "C" in C-level stands for Chief, as in Chief Executive Officer (CEO). These executives have the final say on projects and the direction of a corporation. There are several common C-level positions and a given company may have some or all of these executives.

Chief Executive Officer

The Chief Executive Officer, or CEO, holds the highest management position in a corporation. The CEO reports directly to the board of directors. His job is to implement the strategy and goals of the board of directors by providing leadership and guidance to the levels of management beneath CEO. A CEO is the visible head of the corporation and may also be corporate President and a member of the board of directors.

Chief Financial Officer

The Chief Financial Officer (CFO) is in charge of a corporation's accounting functions. The CFO reports directly to the CEO and provides assistance to the Chief Operating Officer. The CFO is the final authority on the corporation's tax and accounting reports. He would also be the person who handles borrowing money, setting budgets and providing financial oversight to all company contracts.

Chief Operating Officer

The Chief Operating Officer, or COO, could be responsible for sales, marketing and production. The COO must understand how the different parts of the corporation fit together, and provide direction to the different sections of the corporation so they all work toward the same goals. The COO reports directly to the CEO.

Chief Information Officer

The Chief Information Officer (CIO) is a newer C-level management position that has appeared as computers and information technology become a larger factor in company operations. For technology companies, this position may be the same or equivalent to the COO position. Another term for this C-level management position is Chief Technology Officer or CTO. Depending on the type of business the corporation is in, the CIO may report to the CEO or COO.

About the Author

Tim Plaehn has been writing financial, investment and trading articles and blogs since 2007. His work has appeared online at Seeking Alpha, Marketwatch.com and various other websites. Plaehn has a bachelor's degree in mathematics from the U.S. Air Force Academy.

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