Difference Between Managing Director & Executive Director

Companies are run by a variety of directors. Each has different responsibilities according to a board of directors. This article helps you examine the differences between two types of directors and some vital career info on both.

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Comparing Managing Directors to Executive Directors

Managing directors represent the company's philosophy in public and with the staff and are tasked with recruiting, training, terminating and delegating employees. Executive directors answer directly to the board of directors, sit in on meetings with the board, listen to their ideas, and then decide which way is best to move the company. Below is a comparison of these two executive positions and some pertinent information about them.

Job Title Education Requirements Median Salary* (2017) Job Growth** (2014-2024)
Managing Director Bachelor's degree $148,360 6% (for all top executives)
Executive Director Bachelor's degree $77,125 6% (for all top executives)

Sources: *PayScale.com, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Responsibilities of Managing Directors vs. Executive Directors

In today's business world many executive and management jobs overlap, and some of the standard duties are the same, depending on the specific field of business. Managing directors have the major responsibility of helping a company grow, prosper and make a profit. They are key members of the executive team helping decide the company's strategies and implementing policy. Executive directors are the representatives between the company and the board and act as the senior leadership of the company. With feedback from the board, executive directors create, build and implement the company's strategic plans.

Managing Director

Managing directors utilize their years of experience and leadership to determine the daily workflow, manage the budgets and keep a close eye on expenditures. They must present themselves in a professional manner at all times and think quickly on their feet under stressful times to maintain a positive public outlook. Managing directors are primarily in their offices working 9 to 5. As the face of the company, they also travel to meetings or give speeches to other boards, regional executives or the media.

Job responsibilities of a managing director include:

  • Directing company resources
  • Motivating workers and mediating conflicts
  • Creating workflow duties for department projects
  • Maintaining a competitive image in all business dealings
  • Interacting with clients and public

Executive Director

While working closely with the company's board, executive directors take charge of the day-to-day activities and future endeavors. They think and work on how to advance the company while designing strategies that move the company financially forward. Although executive directors often report to the chairman of the board, they are the sole responsible agents for motivating those executives below them. Executive directors keep track of what their subordinates are doing and promote the company's philosophy.

Job responsibilities of an executive director include:

  • Analyzing the company's operations and making changes to enhance success
  • Maintaining relationships with the chain of command from press to clients to owners
  • Keeping an eye on operational budgets and redirecting funding when warranted
  • Analyzing departments for possible expansion depending on trends and needs
  • Supervising department managers and quality reviews

Related Careers

Executive material interested in the duties of a managing director might be interested in work as a financial manager, as they produce financial reports, run investments and use their knowledge to plan future financial goals. Someone interested in the work of an executive director might consider a career as a health services manager, who takes charge of a hospital unit or entire clinic centered on the latest technology and present healthcare laws.

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