There is an interesting article in Management Today on The Importance of Being a Chairman by Andrew Saunders.

Whilst the role of a CEO is well understood, the role of a chairman is less well known, nevertheless it is equally important. The chairman is someone who must have a long-term strategic vision for the company, and therefore encourage board members to act in the best way for the company’s long-term success, and yet not dictate.

The chairman has control over two things: the agenda, and hiring and firing the CEO. The chairman also has an important role as the mentor to the CEO. Whilst it is important that the chairman and CEO get along, there is a fine balancing act between making sure that they do not become too close to each other and yet the chairman should also show support to the CEO – unless he chooses to fire them.