Chapter summary

Leadership has the potential to shape the ways organizations and their actors create and execute strategy, even in complex settings. Within the leadership domain, the role and influence of Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) has been a central issue. The CEOs together with the top management team and other collective organizational actors and structures, have a decisive influence in building the history and culture of their firms. This chapter aims to introduce the reader to: the characteristics of the chief executive officer role and its importance in modern firms, the ways Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) influence the practice of strategy and offer an additional lens to our understanding of CEOs, not only as decision makers, but as creators and communicators of strategy.

Keywords: chief executive officer; upper echelons; strategy as practice; strategy practitioners; top management team.