What is a General Manager?

General Management
Knowledge Center

Jaap de Jonge
Editor, Netherlands

What is a General Manager?

🔥NEW A General Manager (GM) is an executive / senior role within a company, overseeing most or all of a firm's functions. Contrary to functional managers, GMs have a broad, overall responsibility for profit and loss in a company (or a major part of it), and they manage across all or at least multiple functions (i.e., finance, marketing, operations).

A general manager is a person who has a broad, overall, general management responsibility for a particular business or organization or some substantial area of it.

Persons having a general management responsibility may be called in various ways and hold many different job titles, including (but not limited to):
  • President
  • Senior Vice-President (SVP)
  • Vice-President (VP)
  • Regional Vice-President (Regional VP)
  • CEO
  • Senior Partner
  • Partner
  • Managing Director (MD)
  • Director
  • General Manager (GM)
  • Manager
  • Country Manager
  • Segment Manager
  • Regional Manager
  • District Manager
  • Branch Manager
  • Etc.
People performing the above mentioned jobs are all general managers. What sets a GM apart is that he or she has a broad, overall, general management responsibility for a particular area of a business or organization. Unlike a functional manager who has a responsibility just for a particular function, like HR, Logistics, Finance, Marketing, etc.

Another thing what distinguishes a GM is that he or she is typically a generalist, while a functional manager is typically a specialist.

A generic management education like business administration, business economics or business law, and/or a broad experience with multiple functions in the company are a typical background.

Typically a GM ranks higher and has a higher salary than functional managers when they are in the same part of the organization. On the other hand, a CFO with the finance responsibility for an entire multinational ranks higher and earns more than the GM of the Italian subsidiary of that firm.

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