So i was looking at lists of departments, org charts, etc, and trying to see if there is some common 'default set' of divisions into which almost any organization could be divided, so that this could be put into some generic bylaws that i making and serve as a good default. Along the way i thought of a generic set of roles that could be employed by almost anyone in a managerial position who wants to be assisted in their job by a group of up to 7 trusted subordinates who have similar expertise as the CEO (by 'trusted subordinate who have similar expertise as the CEO', imagine if you could make 9 copies of you for the purpose of getting more stuff done. For clarification, i am NOT suggesting that it is usually a good idea, in most situations, to surround most key decision-makers with a bunch of delegates; although i guess this might be a good idea sometimes, other times not only would this be expensive but it also insulates the decision-maker; this is just a thought experiment, not a univeral prescription.


One executive could hold more than one of these roles, and the CEO could do some of them themself; so this structure could be used for a group of less than 9 assistants.

Here's how it works. For ease of explanation, call the manager who is delegating the 'CEO' (although this structure could be used by non-CEOs or outside of a commercial context). Call these 7 delegates 'executives' (the CEO is also called an 'executive'); call the other people whom the CEO is managing (whom the CEO would manage alone if there were no other executives) 'vice-presidents (VPs)' (I'm imagining there would be about 7 VPs). Call the union of the CEO, plus these 7 delegates, the 'executive team'.

Executives report to and are subordinate to the CEO; the CEO has final authority and can overrule any or all executives. VPs also report directly to the CEO (not to the other executives). By 'report to', i mean that the CEO selects who is to fill these roles, can fire people from these roles, meets with them periodically (even if the VPs more frequently meet with the EVPs and the President), and that the subordinates can immediately get the CEO's personal attention when they feel strongly that it is warranted.


The executive team is intended to function as a unitary decision-making entity, which together does the same job that a single CEO would. Ideally, the C-level executives augment rather than insulate the CEO. The purpose of these additional people is to allow the executive team as a whole to maintain personal contact with more people throughout the company than a single CEO would have time to do, providing a way for many people throughout the organization to influence decision-making and to communicate ideas and concerns to management, bypassing lower hierarchy and functional silos. A secondary purpose is to employ people other than the CEO whose job is to think cross-functionally and strategically, giving the CEO a sounding board and a reality check for their ideas, without diluting the unitary decision-making power of a strong CEO role.

That being said, this may be an anti-pattern; there may be plenty of times when a manager thinks that by extending themself into an 8-person team, they can do more, but when in reality the additional complexity and insulation isn't worth it.

Description of the 9 roles

The President helps with overall day-to-day execution (in some organizations they might be called a 'COO'; 'Chief Operating Officer'). The President is perhaps slightly senior to the other executives, and can overrule the EVPs, but the EVPs, and the other delegates are free to persuade the CEO to overrule the President.

Next come the five EVPs (Executive Vice Presidents). Like the President, they help manage day-to-day-execution, but they each focus on one broad topical area, whereas the President focuses on all of their areas. In a sense they are 'under' the President, who has the union of their roles and who can overrule them, but they report directly to the CEO, not to the President. The three topical areas are things that you could probably find within any organization:

The Chief of Staff is the manager of the executive team. They do roughly what the US White House Chief of Staff does; it's a people-focused role coordinating the people who interact with the executive team; it includes 'executive secretary' functions such as gatekeeping and scheduling, but also managerial functions such as deciding which issues are important enough to bother the CEO or other executives with, getting to know people, mediating disputes, communicating vision; may serve as the confidante of the CEO and be given special tasks requiring a high degree of discretion; may effectively share management of some of the VPs who nominally report to the CEO and may manage non-executive support staff supporting the executive team, if any. This role could also be called Secretary, although in a corporation they may not be Secretary to the Board of Directors (often Control is the Secretary-Treasurer to the Board).

The Control/audit/compliance/accounting/money management/metrics person helps manage centralized control function/compliance/reporting activities such as Accounting (and budget, treasury, credit, tax, insurance), Legal, and calculation of KPIs. They serve as the 'conscience of the organization', making sure that numbers are accurate, unpleasant truths are told, and rules are followed. They are sort of like the for-profit company role of CFO plus Compliance, except that a CFO typically also makes creative decisions regarding money-management and process improvement, whereas here the EVP-Admin would do that.

The Analyst (Realist/Critic/Predictor/Newsreader/Outsider) seeks out external and contrary points of view and brings them to the attention of the rest of the executive team. Seeks out and communicates with outside analysts, academics, pundits, internet forums, customers, and internal critics (both anonymous and not). In addition, the Analyst keeps up with external news and trends, learns about new developments in the outside world, and attempts to make predictions about the future and keep up with the predictions made by others.

todo/some missing roles:


The President is of higher rank than the EVPs.

Often, the Control executive would also be of higher rank than the EVPs (so that they have the authority to demand compliance and to effectively audit them). The Control executive could be of equal rank to the President, or could be lower.

The Chief of Staff and Analyst might be of lower rank than the EVPs, since they are not managing large sections of the organization; otoh the Chief of Staff is sort of the manager OF the EVPs, so maybe make them higher rank, like Control.

The simplest system (unless the President is omitted) would be to have two ranks, one with President and possible Control, and the other with all of the others.

A more complex system would be to have four ranks; President, Control, VPs, Chief of Staff and Analyst (although the VPs would be well-advised not to disrespect the Chief of Staff!).

Common combinations

9 people is very many. I hypothesize that organizations with some but not all of these roles tend to combine them in certain ways:

(written independently at a different tim: Can we condense any of these roles?

Note: there is some research that shows that if you have a group of people who vote, then to prevent deadlock, that group size should not be 8. This should not be an issue here since i am proposing that these people don't vote; they are only delegates of and advisors to the CEO, and that the CEO can single-handedly overrule any or all of them; however in a context in which this is not the case, i'd recommend not having 8 people here.

Unstable combinations

I hypothesize that certain combinations would give one person a lot of power:

in the presence of a President who is not in the clique, i hypothesize that even more roles would have to be combined to cause instability.


The name 'analyst' doesn't completely capture the 'keeping up with new developments from the outside world' part of this role. A better name for 'analyst' might be 'outsider' but that sounds too weird, and also the 'analyst', although trying to think like an outsider, is in fact an insider.

There are two three-part thesis/antithesis/synthesis structures here:

The division into inward/outward comes from my observation that in the US federal democracy, voters regard 'domestic' and 'foreign' concerns quite differently; they tend to elect Presidents based on domestic concerns (eg a President who admits to not knowing much about foreign affairs is electable if voters like their domestic programme enough), but then ironically those Presidents have more power in foreign affiars. Similarly, in for-profit and non-profit corporations, often there seems to be leaders who focus on the core purpose of the organization to the exclusion of effectively connecting to the outside world, or the reverse, suggesting that these concerns should be separated to reduce the chance that either will be neglected. Breaking out 'organizational' activities comes from the observation that there activities which are 'inward' yet, like foreign affairs, are not the 'core purpose' of the organization.

The breaking out of the audit/control functions comes from advice (eg [1]) that compliance functions like Legal need to report directly to the CEO, as well as advice that even in companies with independent divisions, functions like accounting should be centralized (a point made in the book [2]), as well as a sense that in many contemporary governments, it would be better if the 'negative' functions of auditing and compliance were more separated from the 'positive' functions of the executive, as well as an observation that some older governmental structures had separate branches of government for ferreting out corruption, as well as an attempt to capture what the heck CFOs do besides finance, and then to separate it from finance.

All of these things are roles that on the one hand you really have to either kinda do 'yourself', or have done by someone who you really trust and who shares much of your goals and expertise; for example:

Mapping these onto the old idea of worker/soldier/priest, inward would be worker, risk management would be soldier, community would be priest.

These roles are also fairly disjoint from one another, except for the President, whose role overlaps somewhat with the EVPs. I have tried to design them so that it should be fairly easy to tell, for any given function, which role the function falls under.

after studying the White House/Cabinet structure a little more, here's my notes on a simplification of that (not necc. much different from the above):

Executive delegates/aides/advisors: Chief of Staff Comm Legal Congressional affairs

Setting policy and running the organization: Foreign Security Economy Domestic Internal econ/admin/compliance

also, one view of government (not mine, perhaps, although i'm the one expressing it this way) is that primary 'deliverables' of government are police and domestic regulation (Justice and FBI cabinet), military and foreign affairs (State and Defence and foreign intelligence cabinet), economic growth.

A second list is:

These seem to be grouped by expertise and by type of 'deliverable' and by typical political leaning.

Of these, 5/10 are 'domestic' and otherwise unrepresented in my model. Here's how they map to my model.

This suggests adding a third "inward EVP".


so how does that fit in with my previous proposal of 9 roles + "todo/some missing roles"?

todo/some missing roles:

pretty well, actually; most of the US roles map to roles within my system if you include the 'todo's:

So the two unmapped roles are Congressional Affairs and Economy. Can these be generalized to other contexts? Congressional Affairs is clearly an attempt by the US President to relate to another independent power center within their own organization, Congress; this is probably generalizable to some degree (although in traditional businesses, the other power center besides the CEO is just the Board, which is not independent; it is the direct superior of the CEO). I don't know exactly what to make of Economy; the issue here is that a government has multiple types of domestic 'deliverables'; preventing crime and economic growth. I guess this could be compared to having multiple lines of business in a company.

This means that out of the 'missing roles' above, the following are still missing (eg unconfirmed by my US whitehouse/cabinet model, as synthesized above):

One remaining issue: i said 'add' various advisors, but in a business context the company's advisors (eg legal) also tend to serve the CEO (sometimes the Board may have their own, though). I can't imagine the Board would pay for the CEO hiring a political advisor, the way that Congress seems to be okay with. Also, as i said, there is no alternate power center in a company to require a Congressional Affairs person. So let's just lump together the political advisor and Congressional Affairs and call them a sort of Internal Biz Dev/Negotiator/Liaison/Aide/Surrogate/President/VP/Assistant/Envoy who helps the CEO deal with other structures within the company (stuff like helping prepare presentations to the Board, etc; this is certainly done in companies); however since in my structure we already have a President/COO maybe they could do that? Also in the US government, the Chief of Staff does some of that. So i don't add a Liason.

And as for business/health/tech, let's just add an addition Domain-specific Expert Advisor positions. Actually, i guess everyone needs Tech these days (at least, as much as they need Legal and Finance). Most everyone probably needs some Business expertise too, but the Finance person probably provides that a little (just as the Finance and Tech guy together probably provide a little numerical/logical thinking literacy).

So the result is:

What if we wanted a smaller number? CEO+12 is attractive because 12 and 13 are both nice numbers. CEO+6 or CEO+7 is attractive because 12 and 13 are already pretty large numbers (larger than a 'two pizza team'):

and then eliminate/consolidate either 3 (for CEO+12) or 8 (for CEO+7) of these (i'm not quite sure how to do that generically, esp. if we want to keep the expert advisors on the team?):

one idea for CEO+7 is to select:

what's left out?:

actually, could merge Chief of Staff and community and communications, freeing up one more spot. You could add in a legal/finance/tech expert to that spot, but i think it's unlikely that you could find one person who is an expert in all of these (although you could find someone who is somewhat knowledgable in all of these). Alternately, you could add an EVP inward #2. Alternately, you could leave the spot open to be filled in a non-generic (organization-specific) manner. Alternately, you could delete that spot to get a team of 7 people (CEO+6) instead of 8 people.

for a total of:

note: critic/analyst could also be with EVP risk; admin/org/meta could also be with Chief of Staff, or with expert/critic/analyst, or with CFO; community could also be with EVP inward; communications could also be with EVP outward. Taking these into account, the stable points seem to be:

With admin/org/meta, critic/analyst, community, communications, legal/finance/tech expert, being assigned amongst these.

note: EVP risk and Chief of Staff (if communications and community are in their portfolio) seem to align with the classic social archetypes of warrior/priest. EVP inward is the semi-classic archetype of Maker/Builder/Worker/Manager. CFO/audit/control and EVP outward appear to be ubiquitous archetypal roles in the modern era, as is Secretary. President/COO is the archetypal 'second in command'/VP/lieutenant. So, all of these roles seem to be justified as somewhat 'necessary' by their ubiquity. Must they be distinct? Control/audit/CFO probably has to be separate from everyone else, as it is a negative, independent role. Other than that, the argument for distinctness is not so strong. Imo one person is often not interested in doing both EVP inward and EVP outward unless they have to. In social archetypes, Warrier is often separated from Priest and, in the modern era, from EVP outward (sales). So we have at least CEO,CFO,EVP inward and/or Chief of Staff, EVP risk, EVP outward. If we don't add a COO, this makes a nice 5-person team.

So, we have a 5-person team:

or a 7- or 8-person team:

With the additional roles of admin/org/meta, critic/analyst, community, communications, legal/finance/tech expert, being assigned amongst these.

I guess if i were CEO, my preference might be the following, excluding idiosyncratic personal differences and political/trust issues (so eg if we pretend the other team members are cooperative clones of the CEO), because (a) it would be nice to have a co-CEO to help with my work, but to prevent conflict it would be nice if one of these CEOs were subordinate to the other, so have a President/COO (b) it would be nice to have the EVP inward and EVP outward and EVP risks not to have to bother with the nitty-gritty of the Chief of Staff/Secretary, community, or communication work, so have a separate Chief of Staff/Secretary and give them community, communications; (c) it seems to me that EVP risks goes naturally with admin/org/meta, because the way to contain or to prepare for many kinds of risks is to institute procedures; (d) i think i would like to have someone tasked separately with keeping up with legal/finance/tech issues and developments. (e) criticism should probably go with either EVP risks or legal/finance/tech, as the others are 'positive' roles (except for CFO, which must be separate); but i think EVP risks/admin/org/meta has their hands full already, and also it might be hard for them to mix being a boss of people in admin/org while also being a critic of the organization, so put criticism with legal/finance/tech expert, which is 'neutral' and so can accomodate some negativity. So:

note that the breakdown here is: 2 CEO and sub-CEOs (bosses), 2 executive-level special roles (Control, Chief of Staff/Secretary; further administrative overhead), 3 EVPs (managers of the rest of the organization; do-ers), and 1 (super)advisor (thinker, learner, critic).

in terms of rank, i suppose technically all executive team members would report directly to the CEO, who would be very involved in the decisions to hire/fire/compensate them, so there are two ranks; CEO and everyone else. But in a soft sense, the President/COO is of higher rank than the others, since the President/COO is supposed to be the second-highest authority. I imagine the CEO and President would be the only ones who are regular Boardmeeting attendees. The executive team as a whole would operate as a team, however, and would all consult and all help on stuff like preparing Board presentations, strategic decisions, etc.

note that in most organizations, these would be roles, not 8 separate people (there is a section above on which combinations of roles to watch out for as they would give a lot of power to one person; but this is probably unavoidable in a small organization)


in the US white house, the Chief of Staff sometimes speaks for the President, and the VP is sometimes sort of marginalized due to the phenomenon of picking a VP during the campaign according to what voters will like, rather than according to whom the President actually wants to run things. So in our structure, let's merge those:

Now we have only 7 top-level bullet points (if you count EVP inward and EVP outward as 'top-level') but some of them might have to be multiple positions (eg legal expert vs finance expert vs tech expert; communications vs President).

We could also consider merging Control/audit/CFO with EVP risks, admin/org/meta. This is probably often done, but if so, must be careful to at least have a legal expert and an audit person with direct reporting above that person, b/c otherwise the 'positive' side of admin/org/meta will result the control person being judged by 'positive' metrics, and hence they are incentivized to game the metrics, and to take legally risky courses of action, while also being the person in charge of preventing their own metrics from being gamed and ensuring legal compliance.


" kbagby 18 hours ago [-]

As noted in the Officers section of the handbook, Delaware doesn't require any specific positions. Under the "internal affairs doctrine" of U.S. federal law, it's doubtful that another state can technically require that a Delaware corporation appoint a specific officer position, but some states purport to do so and it's most pragmatic to simply comply with their requirement. For example, California and New York (though not Washington) require that Delaware corporations doing business within their borders disclose the following specific officers:

For early stage startups, there’s not much distinction between CEO and President or CFO and Treasurer. Generally, the board of directors determines the officer positions and duties. In many cases this is spelled out in a startup’s bylaws. For example, under the bylaws on Clerky, the CEO has general supervision and control of the business and other officers. The President has the same duties as the CEO, but is subordinate to the CEO. The CFO and Treasurer also have similar duties – to handle the startup’s financial matters, including deposits, maintaining books, etc., but the CFO supervises and directs the treasurer’s responsibilities. " -- [3]

The (old, public domain?) Robert's Rules has a President, a Secretary, a Treasurer, and an Executive Secretary [4].

So, yeah, someone to run things, someone to take notes at meetings, and a treasurer, seem to be common.


the has the following special subsections on the main part of its homepage: