What Titles Do You Give an Owner or Partner in an LLC?

by Steve McDonnell; Updated September 26, 2017
CEO sign on desk

As an owner of a limited liability company, or LLC, you can call yourself anything you want and put whatever title you want on your business card, provided you don't claim to have a license you haven't obtained. Consider the kind of impression you want to make about the company and your position in the company on people who haven't met you. Job titles can imply that a company is large or small, traditional or contemporary, conservative or fun.

Limited Liability Company Titles

In most states, two titles have legal significance for owners and executives of a limited liability company: member and manager. Some states also recognize a third title, managing member. Each owner in an LLC is officially a member of the company. If the company is member managed, the member who runs the operations might be designated as the managing member. If the company is manager managed, the company has a nonmember manager who runs the daily operations of the business.

Traditional Corporate Titles

Owner and founder are two common titles that imply a smaller company. If you want to give the impression that you're a larger corporation, you might choose job titles similar to those found in the corporate world. Most states require corporations to name four officers as chief executive officer, president, chief financial officer and secretary. State LLC regulations don't usually prohibit an LLC from naming officers, and some states, such as California, specifically allow the practice in their regulations.

Partnership-Style Titles

For federal tax purposes, a multimember LLC is regarded as a partnership unless you notify the Internal Revenue Service that you want to be taxed as a corporation. If you organize your LLC like a partnership, you might adopt titles that are commonly used in partnerships, such as partner and managing partner for a partner with management responsibility. Some corporations that organize themselves like a partnership use the title principal in place of partner and managing director instead of managing partner.

Fun and Creative Titles

If a traditional title doesn't convey the right impression of your company, you can call yourself a ninja or a rock star, two trendy titles that indicate mastery of a particular area. Or you can make up a new title that's significant to you, such as chief trouble maker or chief inspiration officer. However, since many expect a job title to provide an indication of your level in the company or area of responsibility, you might consider combining a creative title that others may not understand with a more traditional or functional title, such as president and chief problem solver or partner in charge of creativity.

About the Author

Steve McDonnell's experience running businesses and launching companies complements his technical expertise in information, technology and human resources. He earned a degree in computer science from Dartmouth College, served on the WorldatWork editorial board, blogged for the Spotfire Business Intelligence blog and has published books and book chapters for International Human Resource Information Management and Westlaw.

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