Chief executive officer
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A chief executive officer (CEO) in American English or managing director (MD) in British English describes the position of the most senior corporate officer, executive, or administrator in charge of managing an organization.
- Quotes are arranged alphabetically by author
A - F
- In recent years, probity has eroded. Many major corporations still play things straight, but a significant and growing number of otherwise high-grade managers — CEOs you would be happy to have as spouses for your children or as trustees under your will — have come to the view that it’s okay to manipulate earnings to satisfy what they believe are Wall Street’s desires. Indeed, many CEOs think this kind of manipulation is not only okay, but actually their duty.
These managers start with the assumption, all too common, that their job at all times is to encourage the highest stock price possible (a premise with which we adamantly disagree). To pump the price, they strive, admirably, for operational excellence. But when operations don’t produce the result hoped for, these CEOs resort to unadmirable accounting stratagems. These either manufacture the desired “earnings” or set the stage for them in the future.
Rationalizing this behavior, these managers often say that their shareholders will be hurt if their currency for doing deals — that is, their stock — is not fully-priced, and they also argue that in using accounting shenanigans to get the figures they want, they are only doing what everybody else does. Once such an everybody’s-doing-it attitude takes hold, ethical misgivings vanish. Call this behavior Son of Gresham: Bad accounting drives out good.
- Warren Buffett, Chairman's Letter - 1998. Berkshire Hathaway (March 1, 1999).
G - L
- For three decades I have had the privilege of working with more than 100 CEOs and their management teams. One of the most important lessons I've learned from these CEOs is that business is more than strategy, competency, and return on investment. A large part is about the "soft" issues like relationships, personal growth, and (yes, I'll say it) feelings! Henry Ford may have put it best when he said, "A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business." I would venture to add that a CEO who improves only the bottom line is a poor CEO.
- Marshall Goldsmith, "Introduction". 1000 CEOs: Proven Strategies for Success from the World's Smartest Executives. Penguin. 17 August 2009. ISBN 9780756661243.
- Your career is your business, and you are its CEO.
- Andrew Grove (1999) cited in: George M. Dupuy, David H. Dupuy (2004) Career preparation: a transition guide for students. p. 4
- By far the most difficult skill I learned as a C.E.O. was the ability to manage my own psychology. Organizational design, process design, metrics, hiring and firing were all relatively straightforward skills to master compared with keeping my mind in check.
M - R
- The organizational design is the responsibility of the CEO, and the designer's role is to act as midwife to aid in the rebirth of the organization.
- Kenneth D. Mackenzie (1986), Organizational design: the organizational audit and analysis technology. p. 154
- Successful innovators have CEOs who act as technology evangelists.
- Constantinos C. Markides, Game-Changing Strategies, 2013, p. 68
- The best CEOs I know are teachers, and at the core of what they teach is strategy.
- Michael Porter, "The CEO as strategist," in: Henry Mintzberg, Bruce W. Ahlstrand, and Joseph Lampel (eds.). Strategy bites back: It is a lot more, and less, than you ever imagined. Pearson Education, 2005. p. 45
- Executives are constrained not by resources but by their imagination.
- C.K. Prahalad in a column Harvard Business Review, April 2010.
- The dream of every CEO is to have one standardized, integrated, flexible and manageable landscape of aligned business and IT processes, systems and procedures. Having complete control over all projects implementing changes in that landscape so that they deliver solutions that perfectly fit the corporate and IT change strategies, makes this dream complete. The reality for many large organizations is quite the opposite. Many large organizations struggle to keep their operational and change costs in control. Key reasons are the inflexibility and enormous complexity of their business and IT structures, processes, systems, and procedures, often distributed across lines of business (LoB) and business divisions (BD) spread out over various regions, countries or even continents.., Over the last decade, Enterprise Architecture (EA) has been one of many instruments used by organizations in their attempt to get grip on the current operational environment and the implementation of changes. EA provides standardization, and sets a clear direction for the future to guide changes.
- Bas van der Raadt and Hans van Vliet (2008). "Designing the enterprise architecture function." Quality of Software Architectures. Models and Architectures. Springer Berlin Heidelberg, 2008. p. 103.
S - Z
- Neurotic impostor CEOs are also highly likely to become addicted to consulting companies because reassurances provided by “impartial” outsiders compensate for the executives’ feelings of insecurity.
- Manfred Kets de Vries. "The Dangers of Feeling Like a Fake," in: Harvard Business Review, September 2005
- Being a CEO is the nuts! A whole jumble of thoughts come to mind: Over the top. Wild. Fun. Outrageous. Crazy. Passion. Perpetual motion. The give-and-take. Meetings into the night. Incredible friendships. Fine wine. Celebrations. Great golf courses. Big decisions in the real game. Crises and pressure. Lots of swings. A few home runs. The thrill of winning. The pain of losing. It's as good as it gets! You get paid a lot, but the real payoff is in the fun.
- Jack Welch, Jack: Straight from the Gut (2001) Ch. 24.
- Getting every employee's mind into the game is a huge part of what a CEO job is all about. Taking everyone's best ideas and transferring them to others is the secret. There's nothing more important.
- Jack Welch, Jack: Straight from the Gut (2001) Ch. 24.