An executive committee is a subsection of the board of directors. It has close ties with the company’s leadership and gets together, typically on short notice, to discuss urgent matters that affect the organisation and bring them to the full board’s attention.
Who typically sits on the executive committee?
Board members are voted to serve on the executive committee. It typically comprises three to seven officers, including:
- The Chairperson: The board chairperson usually chairs the executive committee meetings as well. They are responsible for overseeing all board and committee activities, making sure they align with the organisation’s mission.
- The Vice-Chairperson: The vice-chairperson is the second-in-command and assists in the chair’s administration and management duties.
- The Treasurer: The executive committee treasurer is responsible for overseeing the company’s finances.
- The Secretary: The secretary serves the same purpose as the board secretary — recording meeting minutes and taking care of board documentation.
Authority and responsibilities of the executive committee
The executive committee is expected to fulfil the following responsibilities:
- Deciding on behalf of the board
The executive committee is entitled to act for the full board. It functions as the board’s steering wheel, giving priority to issues that the directors should address.
- Resolving urgent matters
Urgent matters that need the board’s attention are brought to the executive committee who then decides if it can be handled by them or must be passed to the full board.
- Organisational oversight
Executive committee members are charged with oversight responsibilities, including supervising the daily application of board policies and ensuring the board’s commitment to maintaining good governance procedures.
- Liaison between the board and CEO
The executive committee is the CEO’s link with the board. Executive directors can therefore present ideas to the executive committee and get feedback before taking them to the board.
The relationship between the board and the executive committee
The executive committee is an extension of the full board and acts as its eyes and ears. While both share members and responsibilities, the two are separate entities in an organisation. Even though the executive committee includes senior-level board members, it still has to report to the full board.
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