Director vs. Executive Director

What is the difference between director and executive director? Two of the most important positions in the top…

What is the difference between director and executive director?

Two of the most important positions in the top level management of any company are director and executive director. The director is usually the chief executive officer and when a company is first established this position is usually filled by the founder/owner. The role that the director fulfills in the company is to make sure that the company meets the objectives it has set, oversee the operations and provide the leadership that the company needs. The success of the company depends on the expertise of this person.

There are two types of directors – a regular director and an executive director. The roles and responsibilities of each one is different.

What does an executive director do?

The job of an executive director is a demanding one in any organization. This person is responsible for making sure that all the employees complete the jobs assigned to them in addition to hiring and firing employees. Another aspect of the position has to do with entering into contracts that will be beneficial for the organization. Some of the other duties associated with this management level position are:

  • Advising and supporting the board members
  • Overseeing the design process
  • Marketing
  • Advertising
  • Quality control
  • Budget
  • Use of resources

The executive director has to be always conscious of the way that the public perceive the organization and has to work to make sure that this perception is positive.

What does a director do?

The position of director is a non-executive one. The person in this position does not have the same high level of knowledge and expertise as an executive director. It is almost as if this person works outside the organization and does not have a hands-on approach to running the operations. Instead a director is like an overseer, making sure that the organization follows the rules and regulations and that the interests of the stakeholders are being attended to. Usually this type of director is not a direct employee of the organization and is more of a contractor that has his own business.


  1. The roles and responsibilities of a director and executive director are different even though the legal responsibilities are the same.
  2. An executive director is the boss of an organization and is involved in all aspects of the operation. A director is not an employee and is simply a role in which a person makes sure that the company is taking care of the interests of the stakeholders.
  3. A director brings objectivity to an organization. An executive director has the expertise needed to run the organization.


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