CEO Vs General Manager

CEOs and general managers help an organization be successful. Though they complete similar tasks, they also have very different roles. Learn about these career options and occupation information for each.

Comparing CEOs to General Managers

Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) and general managers perform many of the same tasks in an organization to ensure it is running efficiently. However, CEOs are in charge of general managers and direct them with what they need to accomplish. Learn more about these top executives and understand how their jobs relate and differ.

Job Title Education Requirements Median Salary (2016)* Job Growth (2014-2024)*
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Bachelor's Degree $181,210 -1% (decline)
General Manager (General and Operations Manager) Bachelor's Degree $99,310 7%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Responsibilities of CEOs vs. General Managers

CEOs and general managers are responsible for assisting their organization in meeting goals, devising organizational activities, and directing others. CEOs and general managers typically complete some of the same tasks including developing policies and procedures, organizing the budget, and finding different ways to better the business. CEOs are responsible for directing and supervising all other department heads, while general managers work in a specific area and oversee employees of that area. Depending on the size of the organization, CEOs work mostly with developing policies and planning, whereas general managers take on everyday tasks to ensure the organization operatives efficiently.


CEOs are the leaders of a company or organization. They must have exceptional leadership skills to adequately supervise other top executives in the company. Communication skills are also necessary to negotiate contracts effectively and explain any policies they have developed. As CEOS are the ones at the very top of the organization, they must be able to self-motivate and keep on a schedule to ensure everything runs smoothly. This occupation frequently requires travel to meetings and conferences.

Job responsibilities of a CEO include:

  • Developing goals for a company or organization
  • Overseeing financial statements and budgets
  • Selecting managers
  • Finding ways to cut costs

General Manager

General managers work under a CEO, but oversee operations in a specific area of the organization. They make sure that daily operations are completed and successful. General managers are in charge of other staff and ensuring policies are met. Since they are managers of a group of people, they must have excellent leadership skills. They must be able to make decisions quickly as they are in charge of the daily tasks of others. General managers work with other top executives including CEOs, so they must have good communication skills as well. General managers can advance on to executive management positions with training and experience.

Job responsibilities of a general manager include:

  • Setting staff schedules
  • Creating policies
  • Making sure projects are completed in a timely manner
  • Assisting staff members with various tasks

Related Careers

Human resource management is an alternative career option for those interested in being a CEO, but do not necessarily want to be in charge of the entire business. Human resource managers focus on the administrative functions of a business. Those wanting to be a general manager may also be interested in becoming a sales manager, since they perform many of the same tasks such as managing staff and scheduling, but they work directly in sales.

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