When did the CEO title become more prominent than President/Managing Director/Etc?

Ever wonder when the most powerful employee started being called the CEO (chief executive officer)? Well this post is all about that. Totally useless for investing purposes but I like knowing little things like this. Hopefully I or one or more of you will end up with that title one day :)

I ran across the following audio clip from The Economist where an academic expert on Human Resources was interviewed on this topic. The CEO title was popularized by American corporate culture and it looks like IBM gets credit as the first company to use the title extensively. If you look outside America, you will still see countries using different tittles for the most-senior employee. According to audio interview, the most powerful employee in India is the Managing Director. From my experience researching Japanese stocks, it appears that the highest level position is the President.

Before I heard this audio chat, I also never realized that the COO (chief operating officer) is a vague title that indicated a CEO-in-waiting more than anything to do with the company's operations.


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