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The chairperson (also chair, chairman, or chairwoman) is the presiding officer of an organized group such as a
board Board or Boards may refer to: Flat surface * Lumber, or other rigid material, milled or sawn flat ** Plank (wood) ** Cutting board ** Sounding board, of a musical instrument * Cardboard (paper product) * Paperboard *Corrugated fiberboard *Fiberbo ...
,
committee A committee or commission is a body of one or more persons subordinate to an assembly. A committee is not itself considered to be a form of assembly. Usually, the assembly sends matters into a committee as a way to explore them more fully than wo ...

committee
, or
deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a meeting of members Member may refer to: * Military jury, referred to as "Members" in military jargon * Element (mathematics), an object that belongs to a mathematical set * In object-oriented programming, a member of ...
. The person holding the office, who is typically elected or appointed by members of the group, presides over meetings of the group, and conducts the group's business in an orderly fashion. In some organizations, the chairperson is also known as ''
president President most commonly refers to: *President (corporate title) A president is a leader of an organization, company, community, club, trade union, university or other group. The relationship between a president and a Chief Executive Officer, chi ...
'' (or other title). In others, where a board appoints a president (or other title), the two terms are used for distinct positions.


Terminology

Terms for the office and its holder include ''chair'', ''chairperson'', ''chairman'', ''chairwoman'', ''convenor'', ''facilitator'', '' moderator'', ''president'', and ''presiding officer''. The chairperson of a parliamentary chamber is often called the ''
speaker Speaker may refer to: Roles * Speaker (politics), the presiding officer in a legislative assembly * Public speaker, one who gives a speech or lecture * A person producing speech, sometimes also called a speaker-hearer Electronics * Loudspeaker, a ...
''. ''Chair'' has been used to refer to a
seat SEAT S.A. (, ; ''Sociedad Española de Automóviles de Turismo'') is a Spanish car manufacturer, which sells its vehicles under the SEAT and Cupra brands. It was founded on 9 May 1950, by the Instituto Nacional de Industria (INI), a Spanish stat ...

seat
or office of authority since the middle of the 17th century; its earliest citation in the ''
Oxford English Dictionary The ''Oxford English Dictionary'' (''OED'') is the principal of the , published by (OUP). It traces the historical development of the English language, providing a comprehensive resource to scholars and academic researchers, as well as desc ...
'' dates to 1658–1659, four years after the first citation for ''chairman''. ''Chairman'' has been criticized as
sexist Sexism is prejudice Prejudice can be an affective feeling towards a person based on their perceived group membership. The word is often used to refer to a preconceived (usually unfavourable) evaluation or classification of another per ...
. * * * * * * * * * * * * In
World Schools Style debating {{short description, Combination of the British Parliamentary and Australia-Asian debating formats World Schools Style debating (or WSS) is a combination of the British Parliamentary and Australia-Asian debate, debating formats, designed to meet t ...
, as of 2009, ''chair'' or ''chairperson'' refers to the person who controls the debate; it recommends using ''Madame Chair'' or ''Mr. Chairman'' to address the chair. The '' FranklinCovey Style Guide for Business and Technical Communication'' and the
American Psychological Association The American Psychological Association (APA) is the largest scientific and professional organization of psychologist A psychologist is a professional A professional is a member of a profession or any person who earns a living from a speci ...
style guide advocate using ''chair'' or ''chairperson''. ''The Oxford Dictionary of American Usage and Style'' (2000) suggested that the gender-neutral forms were gaining ground; it advocated ''chair'' for both men and women. The ''
Telegraph Telegraphy is the long-distance transmission of messages where the sender uses symbolic codes, known to the recipient, rather than a physical exchange of an object bearing the message. Thus is a method of telegraphy, whereas is not. Ancien ...

Telegraph
'' style guide bans the use of ''chair'' and ''chairperson''; the newspaper's position, as of 2018, is that "chairman is correct English". The
National Association of Parliamentarians The National Association of Parliamentarians (NAP) is, despite its name, an organization with international membership that is the largest non-profit association of parliamentarians in the world. NAP is dedicated to the study, promotion, and use o ...
adopted a resolution in 1975 discouraging the use of ''chairperson'' and rescinded it in 2017.


Usage

The word ''chair'' can refer to the place from which the holder of the office presides, whether on a chair, at a lectern, or elsewhere. During meetings, the person presiding is said to be "in the chair" and is also referred to as "the chair".
Parliamentary procedure Parliamentary procedure is the accepted rules Rule or ruling may refer to: Human activity * The exercise of political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with Decision-making, making decisions in Social grou ...
requires that members address the "chair" as "Mr. (or Madam) Chairman (or Chair or Chairperson)" rather than using a name – one of many customs intended to maintain the presiding officer's impartiality and to ensure an objective and impersonal approach. In the British
music hall Music hall is a type of British theatrical entertainment that was popular from the early Victorian era, beginning around 1850. It faded away after 1918 as the halls Rebranding, rebranded their entertainment as Variety show, variety. Perceptio ...

music hall
tradition, the chairman was the
master of ceremonies A master of ceremonies, abbreviated MC or emcee, is the official host of a ceremony A ceremony (, ) is a unified ritual A ritual is a sequence of activities involving gesture A gesture is a form of non-verbal communication or non-voca ...
who announced the performances and was responsible for controlling any rowdy elements in the audience. The role was popularised on British TV in the 1960s and 1970s by
Leonard Sachs Leonard Meyer Sachs (26 September 1909 – 15 June 1990) was a South African-born British actor. Life and career Sachs was born in the town of Roodepoort Roodepoort is a town in the Gauteng Gauteng ( ; tn, Gauteng; Sotho language, Northe ...
, the chairman on the variety show '' The Good Old Days''. "Chairman" as a quasi-title gained particular resonance when socialist states from 1917 onward shunned more traditional
leadership Leadership, both as a research area and as a practical skill, encompasses the ability of an individual, group or organization An organization, or organisation (English in the Commonwealth of Nations, Commonwealth English; American and B ...

leadership
labels and stressed the collective control of ''soviets'' (councils or committees) by beginning to refer to executive figureheads as "Chairman of the X Committee".
Vladimir Lenin Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov. ( 1870 – 21 January 1924), better known by his alias Lenin,. was a Russian revolutionary, politician, and political theorist. He served as the first and founding head of government The head of government is e ...

Vladimir Lenin
, for example, officially functioned as the head of Soviet Russian government not as prime minister or as president but as "Chairman of the
Council of People's Commissars The Council of People's Commissars (SNK; russian: Совет народных комиссаров (СНК), ''Sovet narodnykh kommissarov''), commonly known as the ''Sovnarkom'' (Совнарком), were the highest executive authorities of the ...
of the Russian SFSR". At the same time, the "Chairman of the
All-Russian Central Executive Committee The All-Russian Central Executive Committee ( rus, Всероссийский Центральный Исполнительный Комитет, Vserossiysky Centralny Ispolnitelny Komitet, VTsIK) was the highest legislative, administrative and rev ...
" was the head of the state, an office held by Kalinin between 1919 and 1938, when it was replaced by the "Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Russian SFSR". Later,
Mao Zedong Mao Zedong pronounced ; also romanised Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for stu ...

Mao Zedong
was commonly called "Chairman Mao", as he was officially
Chairman of the Communist Party of China The Chairman of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China () was the party leader, leader of the Communist Party of China. The position was established at the 8th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party, 8th National Congre ...
and Chairman of the Central Military Commission.


Roles and responsibilities


Duties at meetings

In addition to the administrative or executive duties in organizations, the chairperson presides over meetings. Such duties at meetings include: * Calling the meeting to order * Determining if a
quorum A quorum is the minimum number of members of a deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a gathering of members (of any kind of collective) who use parliamentary procedure Parliamentary procedure is the body of ethics, Procedural law, ...
is present * Announcing the items on the
order of business An agenda is a list of meeting activities in the order in which they are to be taken up, beginning with the call to order and ending with adjournment. It usually includes one or more specific items of business to be acted upon. It may, but is not r ...
or agenda as they come up *
Recognition Recognition may refer to: *Award, something given in recognition of an achievement In science and technology In computer science *Pattern recognition, a branch of machine learning which encompasses the meanings below Biometric *Recognition of h ...
of members to have the
floor A floor is the bottom surface of a room or vehicle. Floors vary from wikt:hovel, simple dirt in a cave to many-layered surfaces made with modern technology. Floors may be stone, wood, bamboo, metal or any other material that can support the exp ...
* Enforcing the rules of the group * Putting questions (
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) to a vote, which is the usual way of resolving disagreements following discussion of the issues * Adjourning the meeting While presiding, the chairperson should remain impartial and not interrupt a speaker if the speaker has the floor and is following the rules of the group. In committees or small boards, the chairperson votes along with the other members; in assemblies or larger boards, the chairperson should vote only when it can affect the result. At a meeting, the chairperson only has one vote (i.e. the chairperson cannot vote twice and cannot override the decision of the group unless the organization has specifically given the chairperson such authority).


Powers and authority

The powers of the chairperson vary widely across organizations. In some organizations they have the authority to hire staff and make financial decisions. In others they only make recommendations to a
board of directors A board of directors is a group of people who jointly supervise the activities of an organization An organization, or organisation (English in the Commonwealth of Nations, Commonwealth English; American and British English spelling diffe ...
, and or may have no executive powers, in which case they are mainly a
spokesperson A spokesperson, spokesman, or spokeswoman, is someone engaged or elected to speak on behalf of others. Duties and function In the present media-sensitive world, many organizations are increasingly likely to employ professionals who have receive ...

spokesperson
for the organization. The power given depends upon the type of organization, its structure, and the rules it has created for itself.


Disciplinary procedures

If the chairperson exceeds their authority, engages in misconduct, or fails to perform their duties, they may face disciplinary procedures. Such procedures may include
censure A censure is an expression of strong disapproval or harsh criticism. In parliamentary procedure Parliamentary procedure is the accepted rules Rule or ruling may refer to: Human activity * The exercise of political Politics (from , ) ...
, suspension, or removal from office. The rules of the organization would provide details on who can perform these disciplinary procedures. Usually, whoever appointed or elected the chairperson has the power to discipline them.


Public corporations

There are three common types of chairperson in public corporations.


Chairperson and CEO

The may also hold the title of chairperson, in which case the board frequently names an independent member of the board as a lead director. This position is equivalent to the position of président-directeur général in France.


Executive chairperson

Executive chairperson is an office separate from that of CEO, where the titleholder wields influence over company operations, such as
Larry Ellison Lawrence Joseph Ellison (born August 17, 1944) is an American business magnate, investor who is a co-founder, the executive chairman and chief technology officer (CTO) of Oracle Corporation Oracle Corporation is an American Multinational ...
of
Oracle An oracle is a person or agency Agency may refer to: * a governmental or other institution Institutions, according to Samuel P. Huntington, are "stable, valued, recurring patterns of behavior". Institutions can refer to mechanisms which go ...
,
Douglas Flint Sir Douglas Jardine Flint, Commander of the Order of the British Empire, CBE (born 8 July 1955) is a British banker and former Group Chairman of HSBC, HSBC Holdings. He served from 2011 to 2017, having previously been Group Finance Director since ...
of
HSBC HSBC Holdings plc is a British multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from multiple countries * Multinational state, ...

HSBC
and
Steve Case Stephen McConnell Case (born August 21, 1958) is an American entrepreneur, investor, and businessman best known as the former chief executive officer and chairman of America Online (AOL). Case joined AOL's predecessor company, Quantum Computer Se ...

Steve Case
of Spectrum. In particular, the group chair of HSBC is considered the top position of that institution, outranking the chief executive, and is responsible for leading the board and representing the company in meetings with government figures. Before the creation of the group management board in 2006, HSBC's chair essentially held the duties of a chief executive at an equivalent institution, while HSBC's chief executive served as the deputy. After the 2006 reorganization, the management cadre ran the business, while the chairperson oversaw the controls of the business through compliance and audit and the direction of the business.


Non-executive chairperson

Non-executive chairperson is also a separate post from the CEO, unlike an executive chairperson, a non-executive chair does not interfere in day-to-day company matters. Across the world, many companies have separated the roles of chairperson and CEO, saying that this move improves corporate governance. The non-executive chairperson's duties are typically limited to matters directly related to the board, such as: * Chairing the meetings of the board. * Organizing and coordinating the board's activities, such as by setting its annual agenda. * Reviewing and evaluating the performance of the CEO and the other board members.


Examples

Many US companies have an executive chairperson; this method of organization is sometimes called the American model. Having a non-executive chairperson is common in the UK and Canada, and is sometimes called the British model. Expert opinion is rather evenly divided over which is the preferable model. There is a growing push by public market investors for companies with an executive chairperson to have a lead independent director to provide some element of an independent perspective. The role of the chairperson in a private equity-backed board differs from the role in non-profit or publicly listed organizations in several ways, including the pay, role and what makes an effective private-equity chairperson. Companies with both an executive chairperson and a CEO include
Ford Ford commonly refers to: * Ford Motor Company The Ford Motor Company, commonly known as Ford, is an American multinational automaker that has its main headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit (strait) , nicknames ...
,
HSBC HSBC Holdings plc is a British multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from multiple countries * Multinational state, ...

HSBC
,
Alphabet Inc. Alphabet Inc. is an American multinational conglomerate Conglomerate or conglomeration may refer to: * Conglomerate (company) * Conglomerate (geology) * Conglomerate (mathematics) In popular culture: * The Conglomerate (American group), a pro ...
, , and
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.


Vice-chairperson and deputy chairperson

A vice- or deputy chairperson, subordinate to the chairperson, is sometimes chosen to assist and to serve as chairperson in the latter's absence, or when a motion involving the chairperson is being discussed. In the absence of the chairperson and vice-chairperson, groups sometimes elect a ''chairperson
pro tempore ''Pro tempore'' (), abbreviated ''pro tem'' or ''p.t.'', is a Latin phrase which best translates to "for the time being" in English. This phrase is often used to describe a person who acts as a '' locum tenens'' (placeholder) in the absence of a ...
'' to fill the role for a single meeting. In some organizations that have both titles, deputy chairperson ranks higher than vice-chairperson, as there are often multiple vice-chairpersons but only a single deputy chairperson. This type of deputy chairperson title on its own usually has only an advisory role and not an operational one (such as
Ted Turner Robert Edward Turner III (born November 19, 1938) is an American media proprietor, producer, and philanthropist. As a businessman, he is known as founder of the Cable News Network (CNN), the first 24-hour United States cable news, cable news ch ...

Ted Turner
at Time Warner). An unrelated definition of vice- and deputy chairpersons describes an executive who is higher ranking or has more seniority than an
executive vice-president A vice president (in British English: vice-president for governments and director for businesses) is an Corporate officer, officer in government or business who is below a President (corporate title), president (managing director/Chief Executive ...
(EVP). Sometimes, EVPs report to a vice-chairperson, who in turn reports directly to the
chief executive officer A chief executive officer (CEO), chief administrator officer, or just chief executive (CE), is one of a number of Corporate Executive, corporate executives in charge of managing an organization especially an independent Legal person, legal entity ...
(CEO) (so vice-chairpersons in effect constitute an additional layer of management), while other vice-chairpersons have more responsibilities but are otherwise on an equal tier with EVPs. Executives with the title vice-chairperson and deputy chairperson are usually ''not'' members of the board of directors.


See also

*
Executive director An executive director is a member of a board of directors for an organisation, but the meaning of the term varies between countries. United States In the US, an executive director is a chief executive officer (CEO) or managing director of an ...
*
Non-executive director A non-executive director (abbreviated to non-exec, NED or NXD), independent director or external director is a member of the board of directors A board of directors is a group of people who jointly supervise the activities of an organization ...
* Parliamentary procedure in the corporate world *
President (corporate title) A president is a leader of an organization, company, community, club, trade union, university or other group. The relationship between a president and a chief executive officer A chief executive officer (CEO), chief administrator officer, or ju ...


References


Further reading

* {{Authority control
Management occupations Occupations relating to management. Business occupations Management, Occupations Positions of authority {{CatAutoTOC ...
Parliamentary procedure__NOGALLERY__ {{Portal, Politics The category contains articles concerning deliberative assembly, deliberative assemblies, parliamentary procedure, rules of order, legislative procedure etc. Group decision-making Legislatures Meetings Political law ...
Political neologisms Positions of authority