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Help Sheet

The CEO and the Committee of Management

In this help sheet, the term 'Committee of Management' (COM) is used but it is intended to apply to whatever governance structure your group has, such as a Board. The term "CEO" (Chief Executive Officer) is used but it is intended to apply to whatever name your group has for its head person (coordinator, general manager, chief executive, executive director etc.).

The most healthy Committee of Management (COM) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) relationships occur when both parties work closely together with a common aim of furthering the organisation's goals and broadening its financial and membership support base.

While the COM and the CEO are on the same team, they do not have the same roles. The Committee of Management's job is to govern, the CEO's is to manage. It is important not to confuse the two.

Defining the roles and the relationship

The Chief Executive Officer and the Committee of Management share responsibility for leadership within the community group but they fulfill this responsibility in different ways. While the COM has ultimate power and carries most of the legal responsibility for the community group's actions, the CEO's power is more immediate, involving day-to-day influence.

It is important that both the COM and the CEO are fully aware of where their roles begin and end. If there is any confusion in an organisation about roles and responsibilities, it can lead very quickly to conflict, inefficiency and low morale.

A close and trusting partnership between the COM and the CEO is also essential for good governance. COM members need to have enough confidence in the CEO to trust that the operational micro-issues are being looked after. This frees COM members to concentrate on their ultimate role of looking after the "big picture". One of the worst things a COM can be accused of is micro-management - paying too much attention to detail and managing people unnecessarily, while neglecting their governance role.

The Chief Executive Officer's role

Although there is no textbook definition of what a Chief Executive Officer's role should entail, there is clear agreement that the role is critical in developing and maintaining the sustainability and effectiveness of the organisation.

It is up to the CEO to help set the agenda, assemble the information and make recommendations that shape the COM's discussions. Specifically, the CEO's tasks will include:

The Committee of Management's (COM's) role in overseeing the CEO

One of the most important roles of a community group Committee of Management is the selection and monitoring of the CEO. The ability of the group to survive and thrive may well depend upon this choice.



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