Chief Executive

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Chief executive is a term for the highest full-time manager of a corporation . The designation is traditionally used by chambers of industry and commerce and by chambers of crafts , by professional associations , also by (professional) associations and clubs for the head of current business.

Order and function

The appointment and function of the general manager is regulated by the statutes. Insofar as the articles of association provide for a chief executive officer, the following usually but not mandatory:

General managers are elected by the respective general assembly (usually a general assembly in the case of chambers ) at the suggestion of the presidium, i.e. the voluntary management group. In the case of chambers of crafts, the voluntary board of directors is the collective superior of the general manager. In the chambers of industry and commerce, it is the presidium. The general manager, in turn, is the authorized officer of all full-time chamber or association employees. The general manager is responsible for the ongoing, orderly handling of business and, together with the president, represents the chamber in public in and out of court.

Position of power

Depending on the constellation, commitment and professional competence of the honorary officers on the executive board, a chief executive can develop a wide range of creative leeway and position of power: In some cases, there are so-called “presidential chambers” with a weak chief executive who is limited to managing the house. Sometimes there are “HGF chambers” with a weak presidium, which is almost only active on a representative basis. There the general manager determines the course. This can also be transferred to “presidential associations” or “HGF associations”.

Other management employees of chambers and associations who manage an important business area are sometimes appointed or elected as managing directors in order to support the general manager in running the company. In this case, the function of the managing director is also regulated by the articles of association. Usually these are honorary titles that say nothing about management authority and power of representation.


In Austria, the chambers of the liberal professions, like the chambers of commerce and agriculture, are each headed by a chamber office director. His function and power largely correspond to that of a chief executive officer. Unlike in Germany, however, the appointment and function are not based on the corporation's articles of association, but rather from the respective law.