President (corporate title)

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President (corporate title)
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The President is a leader of an organization, company, community, club, trade union, university or other group. The relationship between the president and the Chief Executive Officer varies, depending on the structure of the specific organization. In a similar vein to the Chief Operating Officer, the title of corporate President as a separate position (as opposed to being combined with a "C-Suite" designation, such as "President and Chief Executive Officer" or "President and Chief Operating Officer") is also loosely defined; the President is usually the legally recognized highest rank of corporate officer, ranking above the various Vice Presidents (including Senior Vice President and Executive Vice President), but on its own generally considered subordinate, in practice, to the CEO. The powers of the president vary widely across organizations and such powers come from specific authorization in the bylaws (e.g. the president can make an "executive decision" only if the bylaws allow for it).BOOK, Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised, Robert, Henry M., Da Capo Press, 2011, 978-0-306-82020-5, Philadelphia, PA, 456, 11th, harv, etal,


Originally, the term "president" was used to designate someone who presided over a meeting, and was used in the same way that "foreman" or "overseer" is used now (the term is still used in that sense today).WEB, 'President' Once Meant Little More Than 'Foreman', Guy Raz, December 14, 2013,,weblink December 12, 2012, WEB,weblink President, 2015-12-19,, a person who presides., It has now also come to mean "chief officer" in terms of administrative or executive duties.

Duties at meetings

(File:AGM Annual General Meeting of a typical small (141 member) volunteer organisation.jpg|thumb|President presiding over the AGM of a small volunteer organization. President sitting at the left of table in the background)In addition to the administrative or executive duties in organizations, the president has the duties of presiding over meetings.{{Harvard citation no brackets|Robert|2011|p = 449}} Such duties at meetings include:
  • calling the meeting to order
  • determining if a quorum is present
  • announcing the items on the order of business or agenda as they come up
  • recognition of members to have the floor
  • enforcing the rules of the group
  • putting all questions (motions) to a vote
  • adjourning the meeting
While presiding, the president should remain impartial and not interrupt a speaker if the speaker has the floor and is following the rules of the group.{{Harvard citation no brackets|Robert|2011|p = 44}}: "The presiding officer must never interrupt a speaker simply because he knows more about the matter than the speaker does." In committees or small boards, the president votes along with the other members. However, in assemblies or larger boards, the president should vote only when it can affect the result.WEB,weblink Frequently Asked Questions about RONR (Question 1), 2015-12-19, The Official Robert's Rules of Order Web Site, The Robert's Rules Association, At a meeting, the president only has one vote (i.e. the president cannot vote twice and cannot override the decision of the group unless the organization has specifically given the president such authority).{{Harvard citation no brackets|Robert|2011|p = 406}}

Powers and authority

The powers of the president vary widely across organizations. In some organizations the president has the authority to hire staff and make financial decisions, while in others the president only makes recommendations to a board of directors, and still others the president has no executive powers and is mainly a spokesman for the organization. The amount of power given to the president depends on the type of organization, its structure, and the rules it has created for itself.{{Harvard citation no brackets|Robert|2011|p = 456}}

Disciplinary procedures

If the president exceeds the given authority, engages in misconduct, or fails to perform the duties, the president may face disciplinary procedures. Such procedures may include censure, suspension, or removal from office. The rules of the particular organization would provide details on who can perform these disciplinary procedures and the extent that they can be done.WEB,weblink Frequently Asked Questions about RONR (Question 20), 2015-12-24, The Official Robert's Rules of Order Web Site, The Robert's Rules Association, Usually, whoever appointed or elected the president has the power to discipline this officer.


{{See also|-elect}}Some organizations may have a position of President-Elect in addition to the position of President. Generally the membership of the organization elects a President-Elect and when the term of the President-Elect is complete, that person automatically becomes President.{{Harvard citation no brackets|Robert|2011|p = 457}}

Immediate Past President

Some organizations may have a position of Immediate Past President in addition to the position of President.WEB, What is the Immediate Past President? - Association of Information Technology Professionals,weblink, 2016-01-30, WEB, President-Elect/President/Immediate Past President,weblink, 2016-01-30, WEB, President-elect, President or Immediate Past President Position Description,weblink, 2016-01-30, In those organizations, when the term of the President is complete, that person automatically fills the position of Immediate Past President. The organization can have such a position only if the bylaws provide it.{{Harvard citation no brackets|Robert|2011|p = 572}} The duties of such a position would also have to be provided in the bylaws.



Further reading

  • BOOK, Riding Shotgun: The Role of the COO, Bennett, Nathan, Stephen A. Miles, 2006, Stanford University Press, Stanford, California, 0-8047-5166-8,
  • BOOK, Spotlight on You the President, National Association of Parliamentarians®, Education Committee, National Association of Parliamentarians®, 1993, 1-884048-15-3, Independence, MO,
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M.R.M. Parrott