Corporate structure is the foundation of any business. In most companies there's a two-tier system: a board of directors and upper management. The board of directors is elected by the shareholders, while upper management is hired by the board of directors.
The board chairman is the person responsible for making sure the board runs as smoothly and effectively as possible. The chairman routinely interacts with high-level executives to develop the company's business model and other operations. This position is elected by the board members.
Inside directors approve high-level budgets and monitor business strategies. These directors can be shareholders or other high-level management. Duties include giving inside perspective to other board members.
Outside directors have similar duties as inside directors. However, these directors are not part of company management. Outside directors provide unbiased information. Outside directors are part of the board of directors.
The chief executive officer (CEO) is the top manager and is responsible for all operations. The CEO is often regarded as the company's president.
The chief financial officer (CFO) is a management position. The CFO reviews and analyzes the company's finances, prepares budgets and monitors costs.
The chief operations officer (COO) deals with operations related to marketing, sales, production and personnel. The COO handles day-to-day activities and reports to the CEO. The COO is also known as the senior vice president.