Managing Director/Chief Executive Kaihautū Whakahaere/Tumu Matua

Managing directors/chief executives lead and make overall decisions for an organisation to make sure it operates effectively.


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Managing directors/chief executives may do some or all of the following:

  • provide the overall direction and management of an organisation
  • lead the development of an organisation's values and objectives
  • develop and put in place business strategies, plans and policies to achieve goals
  • ensure the organisation's policies and procedures are followed by staff
  • manage risks to the organisation and consult with management staff on issues
  • assess and manage business operations and financial performance
  • ensure the organisation complies with company law and other relevant legislation
  • report regularly to stakeholders, often through the board of directors
  • maintain relationships with key board members and management staff
  • represent the organisation at conferences and official occasions.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for managing directors/chief executives includes:

  • business and senior management experience
  • corporate governance experience
  • developing and implementing strategic business plans.

Personal Qualities

Managing directors/chief executives need to be:

  • able to lead and motivate others
  • able to multitask and delegate
  • skilled at planning and organising
  • skilled at problem solving and decision making
  • good at communicating
  • positive and adaptable
  • able to work well under pressure.


Managing directors/chief executives need to have:

  • a strong understanding of business, finance and other areas of management
  • a strong understanding of what clients and stakeholders need from an organisation 
  • knowledge of how to enable cultural development within an organisation
  • knowledge of company law and other legislation relevant to the organisation.


Managing directors/chief executives:

  • often work long and irregular hours, which may include evenings and weekends
  • work in offices, but may spend time at different worksites within their organisation
  • often travel to meet with clients or stakeholders and to attend conferences.

Subject Recommendations

A tertiary entrance qualification is required to enter further training. Useful subjects include business studies and English.

Managing Director/Chief Executives can earn around $200K-$800K per year.

Pay for managing directors/chief executives depends on their experience, the size and earnings of their organisation and whether it is in the public (government) or private sector.

  • Public sector managing directors/chief executives usually earn between $200,000 and $800,000 a year.

  • Private sector managing directors/chief executives usually earn between $300,000 and $1.2 million a year.

Source: Te Kawa Mataaho Public Service Commission, 'Chief executive remuneration 2021/22'.

Managing directors/chief executives may progress to set up their own business, or move into an executive chairperson or board of director role. They may also move into local or national politics.

Years Of Training

To become a managing director/chief executive you usually need experience in a senior leadership role.

A relevant tertiary qualification is usually required, such as a Bachelor’s degree or diploma in business management, applied management, commerce or law, or a Master of Business Administration. 

Managing Director/Chief Executive