High-ranking executive jobs are often referred to as C-suite titles, with the “C” standing for “chief.” These roles are some of the most important positions in an organization, and they come with a natural increase in workload and compensation.
The following section explores some of the most common C-suite titles.
All salary information is based on real-time data from PayScale at time of publication.
Chief executive officer (CEO)
As one of the most recognizable C-suite titles, the CEO is responsible for the overall path of the company. While serving as the face of the company, the CEO must exhibit strong leadership and communication skills. Being a team player and strong in collaboration is essential, given the evolution of this role. “The critical functions for today’s CEO are to listen, listen, listen…and communicate, communicate, communicate,” an executive recruiter told Harvard Business Review. Median salary for CEOs is about $164,000.
Chief financial officer (CFO)
The CFO oversees the company’s financials, which can include budgeting, accounting, reporting, forecasting and investing. Other areas have contributed to the CFO position being broader in terms of background required. Risk management is more of a focus at the executive level. CFOs are also asked to actively manage external stakeholders and investor communications, along with other initiatives and expansion opportunities around the globe. Plus, CFOs will continually be asked to provide more in the way of real-time operational and financial data and analyses. Median salary for CFOs is about $128,000.
Chief information officer (CIO)
The CIO is in charge of information technology and computer systems required to help a company reach its goals. The position requires a deep understanding of interactions between IT strategy, business strategy, risk management and finance. Successful CIOs know how to create a holistic system that, using their experience in analytics, organizational design and infrastructure, can support global growth. Sales and marketing knowledge, supply-chain management and logistics expertise and a commercial background are valued in this executive role. Median salary for CIOs is about $153,000.
Chief marketing officer (CMO)
The CMO oversees a company’s marketing and advertising efforts. This includes everything from market research and competitive analysis to marketing communications, online and traditional marketing campaigns and PR. According to Harvard Business Review, the line between marketing and sales is blurred, and in some organizations, the role of chief commercial officer (CCO) is more common, bringing together C-suite marketing and sales roles. Technology will continue to play a large role in any executive marketing or sales role, as digital technology is a major part of an audience’s desire for tailored products and solutions. Median salary for CMOs is about $170,000.
Chief operations officer (COO)
The COO works closely with the CEO to carry out daily operations in a company. While the CEO will provide specific goals to help a company achieve its goals, the COO will determine specifics needed to carry out the CEO’s plan. The COO is skilled at breaking long-term goals into measurable steps on daily, quarterly or some other basis. Because the COO’s role is often based on the needs of the CEO, daily responsibilities can vary. In some organizations, especially startup companies, the COO may have more experience and serve as a mentor to the CEO and other executives. Median salary for COOs is about $137,000.
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