Can a CEO and CTO Have the Same Level of Authority in a Tech Company?

Absolutely not. The President is a legally defined position with all kinds of legal rights and responsibilities. Every other officer serves “her pleasure” maybe with some contract for termination rights.

Many President rights and responsibilities can vary by state and/or the company’s charter, but always way above any other Officer. It is where the “buck stops”. Anyone who is a Vice President or Officer can sign a legal contract or document for a company, binding the company legally. And should have mostly discretion in their area of the business, but that has limits, and a President can always override any decision of any other executive. Officer or not. That’s about it.

A CEO should, but does not always, have a vast array of skills beyond any VP or CTO. Most staff members member's knowledge is very focused on one area. That means they are unqualified to make decisions in most other areas. Just give some input. The CEO is more of a generalist and needs a long list of skills, like:

  1. Recruiting
  2. Management
  3. Marketing & Branding
  4. Product Development & Innovation
  5. Operations, customer services
  6. Finance
  7. Sales
  8. Raising capital
  9. Leadership

  10. Competitive Intelligence
  11. Market Research
  12. Vision
  13. Competitive Strategy
  14. Organizational Development (OD)
  15. Industry/domain expertise

Now the CEO does not need to be an expert in these, but that expertise is needed on a team, and they need to understand how to manage that area including knowing when someone else is good at it to execute. And they need to know how to hire and identify experts in each area — then give them the resources and the freedom to perform.

See the skills and tools you need to design a company, build a product and launch it here, laid out in a comprehensive road map and free video here: The Entrepreneur's Journey

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Bob Norton is a long-time Serial Entrepreneur and CEO with four exits that returned over $1 billion to investors. He has trained, coached and advised over 1,000 CEOs since 2002. And is Founder of The CEO Boot Camp™ and Entrepreneurship University™. Mr. Norton works with companies to triple their chances of success in launching new companies and products. And helps established companies scale faster using the six AirTight Management™ systems. And helps companies successfully raise capital.

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