What is the difference between CEO and managing partner?

The difference between CEO and managing partner is sometimes blury. The CEO is the senior executive in an organization, and is the highest-ranking employee – usually reporting either to a board of directors (if one exists), or directly to the owner(s) of the company. He/she may also be an owner / partner / shareholder, but that’s not always a given – sometimes, the CEO is just a hired employee.

CEO and managing partner

The term “Managing Partner” is typically used when an organization has multiple owners (partners), but one of them in particular is responsible for day-to-day management / leadership of the organization. The other partners may be completely passive, or in board / advisory roles, or they may hold another position in the organization (but not the senior leadership role).

The difference between CEO and managing partner become visible accoring to the type of organization. Investment funds (Private Equity, etc.) often have several partners, with one being designated the “Managing Partner” – the one who makes day-to-day decisions, effectively serving as the CEO of the fund. It’s also common with small consulting firms, where several consultants may be partners in the firm, but one is recognized as the leader – the Managing Partner.

hief executive officer managing partner

So, the two terms both refer to the senior decision-maker, but are usually used for different types of corporate structures (corporation vs. partnership, etc.). I can’t think of any reason you’d have both in the same organization, but there are circumstances where the senior leader could choose to be called either the Managing Partner or the CEO, and either would be appropriate.