President (corporate title)

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Nelson Rockefeller HEW.jpg
Nelson Rockefeller, President of Rockefeller Center, Inc.
Names President
Occupation type
Activity sectors
Competencies Leadership, financial skills
Related jobs
CEO, Executive officer, Vice President
This article is about a company or corporate President. For political chief executive or head of state, see President.

A President is a leader of an organization, company, community, club, trade union, university for this article. It is the legally recognized highest "titled" corporate officer, ranking above the various Vice Presidents (e.g. Senior Vice President and Executive Vice President), however that post on its own is generally considered subordinate to the Chief Executive Officer. In a similar vein to the Chief Operating Officer, the title of corporate President as a separate position (as opposed to being combined with a "C-Suite" designation, such as "President and CEO" or "President and COO") is also loosely defined. In community, clubs or trade union, the president is the executive leader of the organization.


Until roughly the 18th century, the term "president" was used to designate someone who presided over a meeting, and was used in the same way that "foreman" or "overseer" is used now.[1]


Lloyd E. Reuss was President of General Motors from 1990 to 1992, as the right-hand man of Chairman and CEO Robert C. Stempel.[2][3] When Stempel insisted on naming Reuss as company president in charge of North American operations, the board reluctantly agreed but showed their displeasure by not giving Reuss the title of COO.[4]

Richard D. Parsons was number two in the company hierarchy during his tenure as president of Time Warner from 1995 to 2001, but he had no authority over the operating divisions, and instead took on assignments at the behest of Chairman and CEO Gerald Levin.[5][6][7]

Michael Capellas was appointed president of Hewlett-Packard in order to ease its acquisition and integration of Compaq, where Capellas was previously chairman and CEO. Capellas ended up serving just six months as HP president before departing. His former role of president was not filled as the executives who reported to him then reported directly to the CEO.[8][9]

In 2007, the investment banking firms of Bear Stearns and Morgan Stanley each had two presidents (Warren Spector and Alan Schwartz at Bear, Robert Scully and Zoe Cruz at Morgan) reporting to one CEO (who was also chairman of the board); each president was essentially a co-COO (despite the lack of title) overseeing half of the firm's business divisions. Schwartz became sole president of Bear after Spector was ousted, and several months later assumed the position of CEO as well when James Cayne was forced to resign (Cayne remained chairman).

Tom Anselmi of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment was chief operating officer from 2004 until September 6, 2013. Between the departure of Richard Peddie and the hiring of Tim Leiweke for the posts of president and CEO, Anselmi added the title of president from September 4, 2012 to June 30, 2013; however, he remained COO and did not receive the title of CEO.[10]

Richard Fuld, the chairman and CEO of Lehman Brothers, had a succession of "number twos" under him, usually titled as president and chief operating officer. Chris Pettit was Fuld's second-in-command for two decades until November 26, 1996, when he resigned as president and board member. Pettit lost a power struggle with his deputies (Steve Lessing, Tom Tucker, and Joseph M. Gregory) back on March 15 that year that caused him to relinquish its COO title, likely brought about after the three men found about Pettit's extramarital affairs, which violated Fuld's unwritten rules on marriage and social etiquette. Bradley Jack and Joseph M. Gregory were appointed co-COOs in 2002, but Jack was demoted to the Office of the Chairman in May 2004 and departed in June 2005 with a severance package of $80 million, making Gregory the sole COO. While Fuld was considered the "face" of Lehman brothers, Gregory was in charge of day-to-day operations, and he influenced culture to drive the bottom line.[11] Gregory was demoted on June 12, 2008 and replaced as president and COO by Bart McDade, who had been serving as head of Equities, and McDade would see Lehman through bankruptcy.[12][13]

Thomas W. LaSorda served as president and CEO of Chrysler from January 1, 2006 to August 5, 2007 while Chrysler was owned by Daimler-Benz. When Cerberus Capital bought majority control of Chrysler, Bob Nardelli was appointed chairman and CEO of Chrysler while LaSorda became vice chairman and president. Despite the appointment of a second vice chairman and president, Jim Press, LaSorda stayed on.[14][15] LaSorda's titles as vice chairman and president officially stated that he was in charge of manufacturing, procurement and supply, employee relations, global business development and alliances. However, LaSorda's actual role was to find a new partner or buyer for Chrysler, leading to speculation that Cerberus Capital was less interested in rebuilding the auto manufacturer than it was to turning profit though a leveraged buyout.[16]

Research in Motion's corporate structure had more than one COO, including Jim Rowan as chief operating officer for global operations, and Thorsten Heins as COO of products and sales.[17][18][19]

Nolan Ryan was hired by then-owner Tom Hicks as club president of the Texas Rangers on Feb. 6, 2008. Ryan later joined with an ownership group put together by Chuck Greenberg and headed by Davis and Simpson that submitted the highest bid in a bankruptcy auction on Aug. 12, 2010. When Greenberg was forced out in March 2011, Ryan added the title of CEO. In an unusual case, the Texas Rangers stripped the title of President from Nolan Ryan during spring training in 2013 which left him as CEO, prior to that he had been President and CEO of the Rangers organization. During that shakeup, the Rangers promoted general manager Jon Daniels to the title of president of baseball operations, while Rick George was named president of business operations. The moves left Ryan concerned about his role within the organization but he remained as CEO for the 2013 season after a series of meetings with Co-Chairmen Davis and Simpson.[20][21][22][23][24]


  1. ^ Guy Raz (December 14, 2013). "'President' Once Meant Little More Than 'Foreman'". Retrieved December 12, 2012. 
  2. ^ Lloyd and Mark Reuss: Father and Son - Generations of GM. Retrieved on 2013-09-05.
  3. ^ [1][dead link]
  4. ^ Practice. Retrieved on 2013-09-05.
  5. ^ [2][dead link]
  6. ^ Hagan, Joe. "Pittman’s Last Stand | The New York Observer". Retrieved 2011-12-17. 
  7. ^ "Anthony Bianco - Cover Stories". 2003-05-19. Retrieved 2011-12-17. 
  8. ^ Dignan, Larry (2002-11-12). "Capellas leaves HP | Networks". Retrieved 2011-12-17. 
  9. ^ "Guild Companies". 2002-11-13. Retrieved 2011-12-17. 
  10. ^ Cox, Damien (September 7, 2012). "Maple Leafs: New era of MLSE intrigue unfolding: Cox". Toronto Star. Retrieved September 8, 2012. 
  11. ^ [3]
  12. ^ Ward, Vicky (October 20, 2009). "Business: Lehman's Desperate Housewives &#124". Vanity Fair ( Retrieved 2010-10-16. 
  13. ^ Truell, Peter (November 27, 1996). "Pettit Resigns as President Of Lehman Brothers Firm". The New York Times ( 
  14. ^ . He led GM's quality and lean manufacturing activities as a corporate VP.[4]
  15. ^ [5]
  16. ^ [6]
  17. ^ [7]
  18. ^ [8]
  19. ^ [9]
  20. ^ [10]
  21. ^ [11]
  22. ^ [12]
  23. ^ [13]
  24. ^ [14]

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