A president is a leader of an organization, company, community, club, trade union, university or other group. The relationship between a president and a
chief executive officer
A chief executive officer (CEO), also known as a central executive officer (CEO), chief administrator officer (CAO) or just chief executive (CE), is one of a number of corporate executives charged with the management of an organization especial ...
varies, depending on the structure of the specific organization. In a similar vein to a chief operating officer
, the title of corporate president as a separate position (as opposed to being combined with a "
Corporate titles or business titles are given to corporate officers to show what duties and responsibilities they have in the organization. Such titles are used by publicly and privately held for-profit corporations, cooperatives, non-profit o ...
" designation, such as "president and chief executive officer" or "president and chief operating officer") is also loosely defined; the president is usually the legally recognized highest rank of corporate officer, ranking above the various
A vice president, also director in British English, is an officer in government or business who is below the president (chief executive officer) in rank. It can also refer to executive vice presidents, signifying that the vice president is on ...
(including senior vice president and executive vice president), but on its own generally considered subordinate, in practice, to the CEO. The powers of a president vary widely across organizations and such powers come from specific authorization in the bylaws like ''
Robert's Rules of Order
''Robert's Rules of Order'', often simply referred to as ''Robert's Rules'', is a manual of parliamentary procedure by U.S. Army officer Henry Martyn Robert.
"The object of Rules of Order is to assist an assembly to accomplish the work for whic ...
'' (e.g. the president can make an "executive decision" only if the bylaws allow for it).
Originally, the term ''president'' was used in the same way that ''foreman'' or ''overseer'' is used now (the term is still used in that sense today). It has now also come to mean "chief officer" in terms of administrative or executive duties.
Powers and authority
The powers of the president vary widely across organizations. In some organizations the president has the authority to hire staff and make financial decisions, while in others the president only makes recommendations to a
board of directors
A board of directors (commonly referred simply as the board) is an executive committee that jointly supervises the activities of an organization, which can be either a for-profit or a nonprofit organization such as a business, nonprofit orga ...
, and still others the president has no executive powers and is mainly a spokesperson
for the organization. The amount of power given to the president depends on the type of organization, its structure, and the rules it has created for itself.
In addition to administrative or executive duties in organizations, a president has the duties of presiding over meetings. Such duties at meetings include:
* calling the meeting to order
* determining if a quorum
* announcing the items on the
order of business
An agenda is a list of meeting activities in the order in which they are to be taken up, beginning with the call to order and ending with adjournment. It usually includes one or more specific items of business to be acted upon. It may, but is not r ...
as they come up
of members to have the
A floor is the bottom surface of a room or vehicle. Floors vary from simple dirt in a cave to many layered surfaces made with modern technology. Floors may be stone, wood, bamboo, metal or any other material that can support the expected load ...
* enforcing the rules of the group
* putting all questions ( motions
) to a vote
* adjourning the meeting
While presiding, a president remains impartial and does not interrupt speakers if a speaker has the floor and is following the rules of the group. In committees or small boards, the president votes along with the other members. However, in assemblies or larger boards, the president should vote only when it can affect the result. At a meeting, the president only has one vote (i.e. the president cannot vote twice and cannot override the decision of the group unless the organisation has specifically given the president such authority).
If the president exceeds the given authority, engages in misconduct, or fails to perform the duties, the president may face disciplinary procedures. Such procedures may include
A censure is an expression of strong disapproval or harsh criticism. In parliamentary procedure, it is a debatable main motion that could be adopted by a majority vote. Among the forms that it can take are a stern rebuke by a legislature, a spi ...
, suspension, or removal from office
. The rules of the particular organization would provide details on who can perform these disciplinary procedures and the extent that they can be done. Usually, whoever appointed or elected the president has the power to discipline this officer.
Some organizations may have a position of president-elect in addition to the position of president. Generally the membership of the organization elects a president-elect and when the term of the president-elect is complete, that person automatically becomes president.
Immediate past president
Some organizations may have a position of immediate past president in addition to the position of president.
In those organizations, when the term of the president is complete, that person automatically fills the position of immediate past president. The organization can have such a position only if the bylaws provide it.
The duties of such a position would also have to be provided in the bylaws.