The CEO and chair relationship

Sound governance and dynamic leadership are essential qualities in successful third sector organisations. When the CEO and Chair relationship functions well, it provides a supportive environment for the CEO and allows the organisation to flourish. When the relationship breaks down it can have a cascade effect to the rest of the organisation.

ACEVO has a number of resources you may find useful when considering your relationship with your Chair. Prevention is always the best tactic. A relationship where both CEO and Chair are clear on their respective roles and responsibilities, make time for regular and constructive communication and there is a clear appraisal system in place for both roles will generally function well and can withstand a crisis. In our experience, relationship breakdown does not need to happen and a crisis can usually be averted or resolved internally through timely communication and sensible, structured discussions. 

  • Our publication Leading the CEO and Chair to Effective Governance provides best practice advice on developing a constructive relationship with your Chair. 
  • Our member briefing on 10 ways to keep your job explains how to pick up on the warning signs and deal with issues before they get to crisis point. 
  • The report of the ACEVO Governance Commission is practically-focused piece of work, that supports voluntary organisations to understand and address the issues and challenges that can affect their governance, including CEO and Chair relationships.

If you are an ACEVO member and you feel your CEO and Chair relationship has reached crisis point and your role is at risk, please contact our CEO in Crisis service.