A chief Executive Officer (CEO), Managing Director (MD) or Director-General (D-G), is the highest-ranking corporate executive or administrator in charge of total management of an organisation. An individual appointed as CEO of a corporation, company, organisation, or agency reports to the board of directors or supervisory authority.
It is the responsibility of the chief executive officer to align the company, internally and externally, with the strategic vision of the organisation. The core duty of a CEO is to facilitate business outside of the company while guiding management, staff and other executive officers towards the achievement of corporate goals.
A CEO primarily coordinates internal and external initiatives to build a sustainable company. These initiatives are sometimes conducted at a high level. They revolve round key objectives such as business development and growth, enhancing accountability and increasing stakeholder value and confidence. This will entail specific goals such as cash flow, return on assets and return on investment
The Role Of The CEO
The Chief Executive Officer of a company is the most important person within the corporate structure. The CEO’s responsibility is to articulate the vision, mission and objective of the company, both externally and internally. This would include managing the suppliers, financing sources, business partners and the community at large. Internally, he must ensure that all employees understand the vision, direction and goals of the company and can skilfully pursue these goals while conducting their day to day business.
The CEO is responsible for setting the perception and tone of the company, while skilfully laying the ground work through strategic alliances and networking to ensure the continued economic well-being of the company. Finally, the CEO must be proactive in identifying hostile challenges and act strategically to nullify them before they become unmanageable. This is seemingly a tough call and an identikit for a special person.
A lot of professionals, MBA and PHD holders and professors of various disciplines have assumed CEO positions only to find the waters rough and turbulent. It is very demanding in today’s Ghana for a CEO to navigate through the maze of a constantly changing and challenging political and business landscape. The challenges of today’s economy make the role of CEO difficult to play and excel at the same time.
The roll call of hitherto seemingly successful CEO of various corporate entities have dwindled due to constant cocktail of machinations, political or otherwise, to make it difficult to deliver to their mandate.
The typical CEO is a change manager. The CEO helps to steer a company to success by evaluating the current trends and future position of the company within the industry. The significance of any necessary change is communicated to the key persons within the company with the desired expectations in terms of output. This requires building a strong team of top personnel as change agents with personal involvement.
In business, change is a constant factor. You either continuously evolve or phase off. There is a long list of companies, both international and local which have collapsed due to failure to transform or adapt to changes in the environment. Businesses in Ghana face a myriad of problems that straddle political, economic, social and technical landscape and media intrusion. The responsibility for managing a company successfully rest with the leadership. Indeed, there is no single model for success. One size does not fit all.
Qualities Of ‘The CEO’
The role of the CEO is critical in the success or failure of any business entity. The CEO must demonstrate excellent management skills, team-building and leadership capacity, human resource, marketing, technical and finance acumen. It takes a special kind of person to take on and thrive in this most challenging business environment.
The CEO must be a hands-on person and a leader who is able to articulate and market the company’s vision to attract the requisite resource; money, machines and men to undertake the corporate business. The CEO must lead management to the successful achievement of corporate goals and objectives.
The CEO must be a team builder across departments. He must understand the dynamics of the business functions, both within and outside. The CEO must function actively as company emissary in negotiating strategic alliances, business development and access to finance. In a nutshell, the corporate CEO should have three key qualities. These are master strategist, master team builder and master salesperson at the high end of business. There are other innate skills which the CEO must bring along to the job. The person must be visionary, tenacious, strong-willed and thick skinned. He must be a good and quick decision taker. He must be focused, tough minded, success driven, experienced, hands-on and immune to criticism. In other words, he must be a special breed.
The role of the CEO is probably more critical than any other position in acompany. This person normally wields enormous power and influence over everything, no matter how strong the board is or how tight the governance practices. This person must be absolutely right for the company and committed to the cause of his appointment. When the right person is in the seat, the company runs efficiently and flourishes. On the other hand, when you have the wrong candidate occupying the position, the business runs like a grinding machine with very little inter-connectivity. The end result is usually underutilisation of resources and under performance. Good leadership is therefore crucial to business success. Let us celebrate our CEOs and respect good leadership.