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.
Managing directors/chief executives in the public sector usually earn
$180K-$740K per year
Managing directors/chief executives in the private sector usually earn
$250K-$1M per year
Source: Public Service Commission and Hays, 2021.
Pay for managing directors/chief executives varies depending on experience, the size and earnings of the organisation and the type of sector (public or private).
Public sector managing directors/chief executives usually earn between $180,000 and $740,000 a year.
- Private sector managing directors/chief executives usually earn between $250,000 and $1 million a year.
Sources: Public Service Commission, 'Chief Executive Remuneration – Annual Overview', March 2021; and Hays, '2020/21 Salary Guide', 2021.
(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our pay information)
What you will do
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.
Skills and knowledge
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.
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.
A tertiary entrance qualification is required to enter further training. Useful subjects include business studies and English.
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.
Useful experience for managing directors/chief executives includes:
- business and senior management experience
- corporate governance experience
- developing and implementing strategic business plans.
Find out more about training
- Institute of Directors in New Zealand
- 0800 846 369 - firstname.lastname@example.org - www.iod.org.nz
- Institute of Management New Zealand (IMNZ)
- 0508 225 546 - email@example.com - www.imnz.co.nz
What are the chances of getting a job?
Experience improves managing directors/chief executives job chances
Managing directors/chief executives with managerial and relevant sector experience have the best chance of employment. A proven record of success at a senior management level in a related industry is also useful.
According to the Census, 54,480 managing directors/chief executives worked in New Zealand in 2018.
Private and public sector opportunities for managing directors/chief executives
Opportunities for private sector managing director/chief executive roles are highest in Auckland and other major cities. Opportunities for public sector chief executive roles are highest in Wellington.
Types of employers varied
Managing directors/chief executives usually work in the head office of medium to large organisations.
Managing directors/chief executives may work for:
- government organisations
- private businesses
- commercial companies
- not-for-profit organisations.
- Institute of Directors, 'Longer, Harder and Riskier – What Are Directors Paid These Days?' (media release), 20 August 2020.
- Institute of Directors, 'The Essentials of Being a Director', accessed March 2021 (www.iod.org.nz).
- Institute of Management New Zealand website, accessed April 2021, (www.imnz.co.nz).
- Public Service Commission, 'Chief Executive Remuneration Disclosure,' accessed April 2021, (www.publicservice.govt.nz).
- Stats NZ, '2018 Census Data', 2019.
- Training.co.nz, 'The 11 Highest Paying Jobs in New Zealand - 2021 Edition', 11 February 2021, (www.training.co.nz).
(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our job opportunities information)
Progression and specialisations
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.
Last updated 22 April 2021