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What Are the Duties and Responsibilities of a Chairman?

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Whether you are chairing a local school meeting, a small task force, or the board of directors of a major corporation, the tasks are virtually the same. You must bring individuals together with different ideas, agendas, needs and opinions, and work to achieve either a consensus or a majority view on needed actions.

Chairman of the Board

The chairman of the board of directors is usually elected by members of the board, and is often the CEO or president of the company. The chair calls the board meetings, sets the agenda, and follows designated procedures on discussion and voting. The chair often must cut off discussion if it is no longer fruitful so that the meeting runs efficiently. The chairman of the board also presides over stockholders’ meetings. Depending on the nature and rules of the board, the chair can use her various duties and responsibilities in setting the course for the company, whether it is by postponing certain agenda items, calling special meetings or limiting discussion.

Committee Chair

Many committees are constructed around temporary or limited tasks, so it is the duty of the chair to bring the members together to achieve a consensus, and often to designate action items and those responsible for carrying them out. In any case, the chair must encourage discussion, but be willing to cut it off or redirect it in order to achieve the committee’s goals.


Nate Lee was senior editor of Chicago's "NewCity" newspaper and creative director in a global advertising agency. A playwright and published poet, Lee writes about the arts, culture and business innovation. He received his Bachelor of Arts in English from Tulane University.

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Thomas Northcut/Digital Vision/Getty Images