So many serious topics this week. How about something a little lighter?
Back in the early days of the industrial revolution, the head of a corporation was called a "Manager." Over time, though, the title became watered down from being applied to other areas of the corporation. By the end of the 19th century, a new term was needed to identify the big boss. The new job title was "President."
That lasted for about 80 years. However, while there was still only one "President" inside most companies, the corporate ranks began filling with "Vice Presidents," "Senior Vice presidents" and "Executive Vice Presidents." Suddenly the "President" title didn't seem so special, so a new term was needed: "Chief Executive Officer" or "CEO".
Today, there are signs that the "CEO" title is losing its luster. First, many CEOs are tacking "President" and "Chairman" onto their business card, as if they felt that "CEO" wasn't special enough. Second, there's been an explosion of bargain-basement "C-level" executives like "Chief Marketing Officer", "Chief Sales Officer", "Chief Ethics Officer", "Chief Environmental Officer", and so forth. That cheapens the "CEO" title, just like the "VP" explosion cheapened the "President" title.
We must therefore conclude that the term "CEO" is not long for the world. Since it's absolutely critical to the success of a corporation that the top executive feel as if he were a god among mortals (hence the obscene pay packages), we should do the business world a huge favor and decide, ahead of time, what term should replace "CEO."
Here's my list, but I'm open to additional suggestions.