Who should report to the CEO?

by Greg Skloot
Leadership Team   |   2 Min Read
who should report to the ceo

All of the functional leaders should report to the CEO. This may change as the company grows, but a general rule of thumb is there are 6 core functions in most startups that are direct reports to the CEO:

I’m leaving VP Finance out because often that role is outsourced to a part time CFO in the early days.

It’s the CEO’s role to ensure there is alignment, transparency and accountability amongst this leadership team. Some specific things that s/he should be doing with this group:

1. Running a weekly executive team meeting

All of the CEOs direct reports should attend a weekly executive team meeting. This meeting should be focused on discussing strategy, debating and solving problems. It should never include going around the table and doing status updates.

2. Getting weekly written updates

Each leader that reports to the CEO should write a quick recap of the top objectives, concerns and plan for next week in their functional area. My team uses an app called Weekly Update to do this. These updates give the CEO (and rest of team) clear status in writing that can be used to hold each leader accountable for delivering progress.

Shorter meetings. Real accountability.
Try Weekly Status Updates

3. Setting clear paths for success with measurable goals

The CEO must define what success looks like for each direct report and their function. This should include measurable goals (which each VP will likely propose). There needs to be a way to track these measurable goals on a weekly / monthly basis to ensure each functional area is on target.

4. Constantly recruiting and working to retain the leadership team

Having the leadership team reporting directly to the CEO adds an important responsibility to her plate: constantly recruiting, thinking about retention and advancement. A business is only as good as the team — especially leadership — behind it.

5. Having 1–1s and ensuring everyone has the resources they need

While in many leadership teams the CEO and functional leaders are speaking constantly, it is good to have a structured process for doing 1–1 meetings and ensuring that any issues can be aired out and each leader has the resources he needs to hit his measurable goals.

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