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Founder and CEO: What is the difference?

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difference between a founder and a ceo

Founder and CEO, are they the same thing? This and many other questions are what this article seeks to find answers to. The difference between founder and CEO are quite different but so many (including me at some point in time) thought they are the same thing.

So as we said Founder and CEO are two different things though one person can play both roles in an organisation. In bigger organisations they are mostly two separate persons.

After going through this article today, you will be liberated of your ignorance of the difference between the two and come to light just as I was liberated some time ago. Now I see it clearly.

So let us get down to business.

What is the difference between founder and CEO?

Ha……..Let us start anyway. I wanted saying I can’t state the difference…..Never mind me. I play a lot.

Who is a founder?

Founders are entrepreneurs. They are people who start businesses. If more than one person is involved in founding a company or business, they are called Co-founders.

A founder is actively involved in building the business from the ground up. They are responsible for financing and everything the business needs to take off and succeed.

The founder goes out to find new customers, get financing, sells the product and services. His hands are always dirty doing one thing or the other to get the business up, build a team and succeed.

Founders are ambitious breed of people, always on the go and ready to take responsibility. If their plans fail they take it upon themselves and move on to correcting it. Whatever needs to be done he will be there to do it.

Founders are everything to their business. They take time to do everything including writing a business plan or business proposal.

Who is a CEO?

CEO stands for chief executive officer, the highest ranking executive officer or manager in an organization.

These are people who are responsible for the day to day running of the business but delegates work to capable people in the team.

CEOs most times spend their time teaching so they can get the best out of their team members.

CEOs are good Communicators and have an array of great skills to run the company.

Most CEO only give the work to others to do the job while he watch from the side lines and do the talking like a football coach……I love football that’s why.

A CEO can be appointed by the founder of a company.

Now that we have known what the two are, let us look at how they really differ.

What is the difference between a founder and a CEO?

Difference between Founder and CEO

As I promised to you, here we are with the promise being fulfilled.

The difference between Founder and CEO comes down to the role they play in an organisation.

The word Founder describes the relationship between someone (creator) and the business.

CEO describes one’s position in an organisation. Here is matter of position.

Founders are always founders, CEO are not always CEO. They leave that position eventually. Even if the founder plays the same role, a time will come in the organisation when he will hand over the post of the CEO to someone but he remains a founder even after departing the world.

A business that needs your time to run does not need a CEO. Businesses with CEO are businesses that have grown and reached a stage that they work as team.

A CEO can start working in an organisation as a cleaner and move slowly up the ladder of promotion and get appointed by the company if he is lucky enough.

Founder starts as almost everything in the business and build up to have a team.

Also read: How to save money to start up a business

Essential part of an Organisation

  • Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
  • Chief Technology Officer (CTO)
  • Director- Product
  • Builder- Developer
  • Organizer – Operations
  • Chief Marketing Officer (CMO)- Marketer
  • Chief Financial Officer (CFO)
  • Sales
  • Customer

Also read: How to start mini importation


While founder can take the position of a CEO in an organisation, CEO must not necessarily be the founder or owner of the organization.

Founders can never leave their position as founders even after their lives but a CEO can be there today, tomorrow gone.

At present the founder of apple, Steve Jobs. He is still regarded as the founder but someone else is there as the CEO.

Any organisation that doesn’t have the structures listed above cannot have a CEO but can have a founder.

A business can be without a CEO but a founder must exist.

I Hope you found this helpful?

Thanks for reading.

Don’t forget to share with Family and friends.

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