AskDefine | Define chairperson

Dictionary Definition

chairperson n : the officer who presides at the meetings of an organization; "address your remarks to the chairperson" [syn: president, chairman, chairwoman, chair]

User Contributed Dictionary



From chairman, politically corrected so as not to estrange females.


  1. a person who presides over a meeting, a board, etc.
    She was the chairperson of the board and she presided over the meeting.


  • Chinese:
    Mandarin: 主席 (zhǔxí), 議長 (yìzhǎng)
  • Czech: předseda
  • Dutch: voorzitter
  • Finnish: puheenjohtaja
  • French: secrétaire général (for a political party), président
  • German: Vorsitzender, Vorsitzende
  • Hebrew: יושב-ראש
  • Interlingua: presidente, chairman
  • Japanese: 議長 (ぎちょう), 委員長 (いいんちょう)
  • Maltese: ċermen
  • Norwegian: styreformann, møteleder
  • Lithuanian: pirmininkas (1), pirmininkė (1)
  • Portuguese: presidente (da assembleia)
  • Romanian: director
  • Scottish Gaelic: neach-na-cathrach m|f
  • Sindhi: نِشِستمان
  • Spanish: presidente
  • Swedish: ordförande

Extensive Definition

Chair is a term frequently used for the highest office in an assembly such as a committee, commission, or board. The term is also applied to the holder of the office. While the term chairman remains in widespread use, chairwoman, chairperson, and chair have become increasingly common.
The duties of the chairman are to preside over the assembly and to conduct its business in an orderly fashion. When the assembly is not in session, the chairman often acts informally as its head, its representative to the outside world, its spokesperson, etc.
A majority of FTSE 100 companies in the UK have a "chairman," as do the boards of most Fortune 500 companies in the U.S.

Corporate governance

A chair is selected by a company's board to lead the board of directors, preside over meetings, and lead the board to consensus from the disparate points of view of its members. The chair is the presiding director over the other directors on the board and is expected to be fair, a good listener, and a good communicator. Directors have a high level of fiduciary responsibility for overseeing the operation of a corporation.
The term president is often used interchangeably with chair, although this usage is much more prevalent in the United States. The CEO is the head of the management committee and usually reports to the board, which is headed by the chair.
In public companies, the role of the chairman of the board is distinct from that of the company's CEO or managing director. This point has more recently been brought into focus after corporate governance shortcomings were observed in companies where the two roles are combined. It is believed that the separation of functions within the board of directors or in the structure of the supervisory board and management board would facilitate control over the workings of the company and increase the accountability of the CEO or chair of the management board. In an attempt to inject transparency into the relationship between executive management and the board of directors as well as between management and the market or shareholders, the UK Cadbury Report was published in 1992. Its recommendations have been adopted to a greater or lesser extent by some countries within the European Union and the United States, as well as by the World Bank..

Chair of the Board types and their relation to the company management

In the case of companies and similarly-organized bodies, there are generally two types of Chair: Non-executive and Executive.
Non-executive Chair of Board:
  • A part-time officeholder who sits on and chairs the main board of a company
  • Provides support and advice to a CEO.
  • This position usually entails fulfilling a similar function on a number of additional board committees, as well as being a political figurehead of the Company.
Executive Chair of Board:
  • A full-time officeholder who typically leads the board and also takes a hands-on role in the company's day-to-day management.
  • Help the CEO to oversee all the operational aspects involved in running the company, which include project planning and development delivery, retail and leasing, sales, market research and many other areas within their extensive scope.
  • Have overall responsibility for the company which involves engineering and controlling the company's current growth in and future expansion into international markets.
  • In addition, oversees all projects' development activities and related businesses of the company, generating significant financial returns for the shareholders and driving sustainable development.
The chairman sets the style of leadership of the board which in turn filters down through the organisation.

Academic position

Chairs at academic institutions refer to the position, rather than the individual, and are often named after the person who donated the money to support the position. Professors appointed to such a chair often receive guaranteed funding (often endowed). Colleges and universities, especially older and well-financed ones, may have many such chairs.
Some of the best known chairs have been held by a succession of well-known scholars; the Lucasian Chair of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge has been held by Isaac Newton, Charles Babbage, Paul Dirac, and Stephen Hawking, while the Quain Chair of Jurisprudence has been held by John Austin, H. L. A. Hart, and Ronald Dworkin.
The word "chair" is also used in an American universities to refer to the head of an academic department, particularly if the policies of a university are such that the chair is elected directly, or appointed with the recommendation of, the department's faculty. Chairs are simultaneously administrators and faculty members; chairs at one major American university system were estimated to spend 61 to 80 percent of their time on administrative duties, as opposed to their research and teaching.
chairperson in German: Vorsitzender
chairperson in Persian: فرنشین
chairperson in Dutch: Voorzitter
chairperson in Japanese: 会長
chairperson in Norwegian: Styreleder
chairperson in Simple English: Chairperson
chairperson in Finnish: Puheenjohtaja
chairperson in Swedish: Ordförande
chairperson in Vietnamese: Chủ tịch nước Việt Nam
chairperson in Yiddish: יושב ראש
chairperson in Chinese: 主席
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