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What is a C-Level Executive?


If you’ve ever owned a business before, you probably have heard about the term C-level executive. In fact, you already understand how important they are to any organization. They play such a strategic role that you wouldn’t want to miss them in your business.  

C-level executives are those people who hold senior positions and contribute significantly to the wide decision making process of any business. They have the most control over a business unit or a department. They can take charge of an entire business or department in various fields such accounts or finance, marketing, administration, etc.

Definition of C-Level

C-level, otherwise referred to as C-suite, refers to the senior or high-ranking employees in an organization. It’s a term used to describe the people at the executive level positions in a business organization. Breaking down the term, the letter “C” stands for chief.

Titles of C-Level

Although job classifications and grading systems vary across organizations, certain job titles are commonly used by most organizations. The following are some common C-level executive job titles used globally:

  • Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
  • Chief Financial Officer (CFO)
  • Chief Operating Officer (COO)
  • Chief  Marketing Officer (CMO)
  • Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO)
  • Chief Technology Officer (CTO)

Roles of C-Level Executives

Chief Executive Officer (CEO)

This officer holds the most senior executive position and plays the top-level role in an organization. S/he directs all business activities and decisions of the organization. As an overseer over the organization, he is expected to shoulder the responsibility of making sure the organization succeed in its goals and objectives.

For many businesses, chief executive officers are often either the founder or co-founder of the business.

Chief Financial Officer (CFO)

As the name suggests, the chief financial officer of a company shoulders the responsibility of managing the financial aspects of the business. They are also responsible for general functions such as budget preparation and risk analysis, transactions reconciliation, development of organization products and process development, among others.

Fundamentally, CFO roles involve taking charge of these three primary tasks:

  • Managing financial records and books of the company.
  • Managing financial report of the organization and,
  • Ensuring compliance with statutory requirements.

Chief Operating Officer (COO)

The chief operating officer is the next to the CEO and he’s charged with responsibilities like managing the resources of the company, distributing good and services to customers, ensuring effective and efficient accomplishment of business operations. 

Chief Marketing Officer (CMO)

The chief marketing officer is the one who is responsible for designing and executing marketing strategies for the company. These strategies vary across organizations and they include building strategies around advertising and other forms of marketing such as email and digital marketing.

Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO)

This is a person who oversees tasks such as hiring, interviewing, training and evaluating employees. He serves as a link between the organization’s management and the employees. All in all, he’s responsible for building and implementing human resource strategy, which will complement and aid the organization overall plan and strategic direction.

Chief Technology Officer (CTO)

The CTO is the one who is responsible for the technology stack of the organization. He does things such as implementing new tech system, overseeing security, and putting in place infrastructure in the organization. There is a slight different between the duties of a CIO and CTO in an organization.

While the former plays a kind of internal IT role such as ensuring effective operation of the IT systems, the latter focus on tasks such as researching and building of new products and features for the organization.

How To Become a C-Level Executive?

Becoming an executive officer isn’t as difficult as many think especially if you know the right step to take. Since there are different executive titles available, you need focusing only on the one that relates to your current specialty or career. With this, you can then start to research the requirements to become a C-suite officer.

Also, you need to learn about the job duties, job description, and detailed process required to begin a career as an executive officer.

Overall, the steps to becoming a C-level executive can be broken into the following four basic steps:

  • Earn a Bachelor decree.
  • Gather relevant work experience
  • Earn relevant graduate degree
  • Build a career

Salaries of C-Level Executives

Asking a question about what a C-suit executive earns doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all answer. But on the average, below is what an average salary of a C-executive officer looks like:

  1. Chief Executive Officer : $754,713
  2. Chief Operating Officer: $457,468
  3. Chief Financial Officer: $363,559
  4. Chief Technology Officer: $234,700
  5. Chief Marketing Officer:  $230,735

Wrapping Up

So you have got an idea of what C-level executive is, and you’ve also had full understanding of the common C-suite job titles you can find in a typical company and what duties they perform. If you’re trying to attain any of these executive levels in your company, you know what steps there are to follow.

So all you have to do now is keep this article handy and use to your advantage anytime you need to know one or two things about C-level executives.

See Also
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Difference between S-Corp and C-Corp