Hi people!

I find these two words almost synonymous, but they both appear in an article clearly making reference to two different people. I imagine that a Managing Director has more power and is above a General Manager, who, in turn, reports to the Managing Director. These words are sometimes used interchangeably, but I assume a Managing Director would be equivalent to a CEO. Can anyone comment on this?

Thanks a lot!

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My comment will not be terribly helpful, I'm afraid. I don't think there is a system, and as you say, all three words could be used interchangeably. I do know from my experience as an auditor that Directors are consistently above Managers.
MD and CEO are above General Managers.
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Hello Krish

"CEO" is a well-defined technical term. This post implies the top of a company's managing team that is responsible for execution of management. On the other hand, "directing manager" and "general manager" are common phrases not well defined. My dictionary says "managing director" is an BrE word almost synonymous to "CEO". But in some countries, this is used like "managing director of X department". It is also true for "general manager" is synonymous to CEO in some companies (especially French companies) but we come across such phrases like "factory general manager" or "branch office general manager". So it's tough to identify what a directing manager and a general manager really are.

I came across these definitions for

director : person elected by the shareholders to manage the company and decide its general policy

managing director: company director responsible for the day-to-day operation of the company

Are they correct??
Hi Mara:

The best definition I would offer is an example from a large company's proxy statement. I chose General Electric Company. Here is a quotation from the proxy statement

General Electric Company’s 2006 Annual Meeting of Shareowners will be held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, 1101 Arch Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107-2299, on Wednesday, April 26, 2006 at 10:00 a.m., to address all matters that may properly come before the meeting. Following a report on GE’s business operations, shareowners will vote on:
(a)election of directors for the ensuing year;
.... (etc.)

The Directors are voted into office. They serve on the  "Board of Directors" often called the "Board" and the GE statement reports that they meet together monthly. There are Managing and Non-managing Directors.

The Managing Directors are involved in company operations. Non-Managing Directors meet without any management directors or employees present three times each year to discuss board policies, processes and practices. Sometimes they are called Independent Directors.

Thus, Directors represent the shareholders' interests in the company. They decide things such as filling the CEO position, executives' pay and compensation, corporate strategy, major company investments, mergers and acquisitions, etc. 

Managing Directors are company employees involved in operations.

Non-Managing Directors are not company employees, but are paid to attend meetings of the board and vote on the issues raised.

CEO = Chief Executive Officer; usually the CEO is the president of the Board. 

A General Manager is a position of major responsibility in a company, such as having executive control of a major division. A company has one CEO, but many General managers. General Managers are not necessarily Directors. 
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The definitions will vary from country to country so I don't think it's helpful to look for one 'rule'.
Yes, I agree with you that one example does not make a general rule for all.  But, I have seen lots of proxy statements from many different companies, and they pretty much all use these terms consistently. I was just citing a typical case for illustration. 
A major  Anglo-Dutch company I have seen does use the term "Committee of Managing Directors" instead of "Board of Directors", but that is a minor difference.

Do you have a counter example?
Managing Director- Is not a recogizable position in the US I am afraid.
However, the directorship of a department is higher than that of Genreal Manager.
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