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The job role account executive covers various descriptions depending on the specific industry covering mainly marketing and sales roles.
Marketing and advertising industries
In the marketing and advertising industries, account executives are typically responsible for client servicing and client acquisition. The account executive serves as the direct link between the advertising agency and the existing client, managing day-to-day affairs and ensuring customer satisfaction. The word "executive" in this instance means to "execute" - that is he/she is mostly responsible for more practical parts of the advertising jobs (i.e. media placement, distributions, contract negotiation, etc.). The account executive is also tasked with bringing more clients into the agency to increase revenue. The account executive will typically have 1-2 assistants and reports to the respective account supervisor/manager and/or to the client service director/account director. This depends on the country and on the account (s)he is working for. In Spain for example, an account executive could probably develop very important campaigns on his/her own.
In IT organizations, an account executive is a senior management role, responsible for executing large (50 mln +) contracts. Control of the profit and loss is one of the main activities, together with customer alignment on a senior level. Usually an account executive has one or more account managers in his/her staff, to cover the various towers a large contract is mainly built of. The account managers directly or indirectly control the program and project managers performing the actual job.
For very large contracts (1 bln +), 600 + people could be involved in contract execution.
Contract life cycle
In an ideal situation, at the end of a contract life cycle, the account executive and part of the staff will be involved in new contract negotiations. This could be for the same account or for a new customer. Once the contract is signed, the account executive and staff will be directly up to speed.
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