Who is a CEO?

I have had a few meetings recently where it has become apparent that everyone running businesses seem to believe they are CEOs (Chief Executive Officer). Surely the correct title would be Managing Director and not the Americanism. Personally I have never been comfortable with the title and only believe that a true CEO is someone who runs an American, floated or global business. For someone running a small business or even startup I can’t see the point apart from stroking the ego.

Surely if you adopt the title of CEO then you should also be using the position of President in the organisation along with the pointless Vice President role. It just doesn’t sound right. In the UK we have Managers and Directors which I think as titles instil confidence without all the bravado.

Until recently I preferred no title, as I would have thought most small business owners would, to help be flexible with the perception of the company. From making the tea to dealing with HR issues my role has always changed and until recently I liked to change my title, if someone asked, to suit what I was doing at that time. Obviously as you get bigger, sorry more corporate, you have to adopt titles but still I see no point in them being grand or long. Innocent Drinks (the chaps behind those nice smoothies) for example have a completely different approach and instead go for titles such as ‘Big Cheese’ for their MD or ‘Techie Guy’ for their IT Manager. Maybe I could aspire to be ‘chap who answers lots of questions’.

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