A chief of staff or executive assistant is a high-ranking professional who typically has extensive experience in administrative work. This position is responsible for supporting other higher-level executives in their roles, helping them to oversee the operations of a company. To be successful in this role, strong leadership, communication, organizational and decision-making skills are essential. The addition of a chief of staff (CO) to the CEO's office can be beneficial if two factors are taken into consideration.
Firstly, the executive assistant must understand the role of the executive director, as they will be involved in the flow of information and continue to handle the routine tasks that support the activities of the chief of staff. Secondly, the individual should have a career path that could lead to senior marketing or operations positions, such as director of operations. The chief of staff works closely with directors of business development and R&D on alliances and acquisition projects, as well as with the director of human resources in the search for scientific talent. They may have earned a doctorate and an MBA from top programs before working for a strategic consulting firm.
The chief of staff also ensures that everyday tasks don't fall by the wayside while they focus on their CEO and board of directors. The position of chief of staff is a critical and reliable leadership role, as it is the strategic right hand of the CEO. It dates back to the passage of the Department of Defense Reorganization Act of 1958, but does not have operational command authority over army forces. The Chief of Staff is nominated by the President and must be confirmed by a majority vote of the Senate. Third-level chiefs of staff are often found in large organizations that require drastic strategic, operational and cultural change, especially when the leader is new to their highest position.
The Chief of Staff also orders the Inspector General of the Army to carry out necessary inspections and investigations. A former chief executive who now advises boards of directors argues that many chief executives need a chief of staff to help keep their office running smoothly. This position is essential for ensuring that all tasks are completed efficiently and effectively.