Every business has a boss – someone who has ultimate authority over financial, operational and personnel decisions. But not every business calls the boss by the same job title. The chief executive officer is the boss at some companies, while others refer to the boss as the president. One of the titles given to a certain type of boss is general manager, implying that he supervises one or more departmental managers.
A vice-president and a general manager have very similar responsibilities, though they might report to a different set of people. A vice-president of a company typically has to report to a president or to the board of directors, while the general manager of a business might report to an independent owner. Both positions usually include full financial and operational decision-making authority over the department. Both positions also usually include the authority to hire other management personnel.
An operations manager also has responsibilities similar to those of a general manager. Both are responsible for the day-to-day operations of the enterprise, and both positions typically report directly to the owners. Unlike most operations managers, however, general managers might take on some responsibilities regarding strategic planning and formulating short- and long-term company goals.
Chief Operating Officer
At some companies, the responsibilities of a chief operating officer are quite similar to those of a general manager. A COO oversees all aspects of the operations of a business, including product development, inventory management, sales and marketing and human resources. A COO's input into strategic decision-making or long-term planning depends on the company and its management structure.
Chief Executive Officer
A chief executive officer is similar to a general manager at many companies. CEOs are usually responsible for managing all aspects of a company. Like general managers, they directly supervise several departmental managers. CEOs report to the board of directors in most cases. CEOs almost always have input into decision-making at all levels, including mergers and acquisitions, growth initiatives and other strategic planning issues.