Chief Officer Vs. Director

Dec 26, 2017

Chief officers and directors are responsible for leading a company. Read about their comparable degrees, median salaries, job growth projections, and basic duties.

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Comparing Chief Officers to Directors

Chief officers lead an organization by maintaining the activities that lead a company towards its fiscal goals. Directors, acting as board members, meet and discuss the future direction of a company. More information about their similarities and differences are outlined below.

Job Title Educational Requirements Median Salary (2016)* Job Growth (2016-2026)*
Chief Officers Bachelor's Degree $181,210 (Chief Executives) -3% (Chief Executives)
Directors Bachelor's Degree $103,950 (Top Executives) 8% (Top Executives)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Responsibilities of Chief Officers vs. Directors

Chief officers and directors make key business decisions that give an organization direction. In fact, chief officers can be directors, but most companies desire a split between these two professionals. This is because chief officers have clear stakes in a company's success, while many directors are brought in only to provide guidance. Additionally, both attend frequent meetings that may include one another or managers. Finally, both are responsible for completing employee evaluations based on production and their ability to meet agreed upon goals.

Chief Officers

A chief officer could include any of the big three executives of a company, including the chief executive officer, the chief operating officer, and the chief financial officer. These leaders oversee the daily operations of a company, ensuring board guidelines are being met. In fact, they can request board meetings during major company changes or emergencies. By being present every day, they understand what fiscal and workforce resources a company needs to meet its goals. Chief officers also prepare budget proposals, outlining the spending for different departments. Additionally, they monitor the activities of subsidiary companies that may affect the company.

Job responsibilities of a chief officer include:

  • Hiring candidates for department heads, as well as terminating less successful employees
  • Reducing costs and spending by omitting projects or positions or by deploying new technology
  • Basing business decisions on the results of risk assessments
  • Speaking to company management on behalf of the board of directors


Directors are often elected by shareholders to oversee the major decisions of a company. These individuals may or may not be part of the company, though outsiders can provide unbiased opinions, while insiders feel the need to protect shares and investments. Directors are chosen to act on behalf of the company in legal matters, which also means they should answer to the public for any ethical infractions. Additionally, these leaders establish human resource policies, including those meant to create a diverse culture of employees. They build a company's culture by determining strategies for bringing in those with different backgrounds and opinions.

Job responsibilities of a director include:

  • Attending regular meetings with other board members
  • Approving annual budgets
  • Recruiting new board members and determining CEO succession
  • Planning fundraisers and building a community presence

Related Careers

If you're interested in a position as a chief executive, you could also look into a future as a financial manager, as both deal with the fiscal wellbeing of a company. If, however, you dream of being a director, you could look into a position as a human resource manager.

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