In most British companies, the individual with ultimate day-to-day control over the running of the business. British corporate law requires that for a company to be registered as a Limited Company (Ltd) or a Public Limited Company (plc) there must be at least two people involved: a Company Secretary and a Managing Director (MD).

The Managing Director will normally be responsible for all aspects of keeping the business going, with the exception of keeping financial records (the Company Secretary's job). Ultimate power of hiring and firing usually rests with the MD, and in a larger organisation departmental heads will report to him or her. Much like a CEO in companies organised along the American fashion, the MD is often a person to be feared, although in younger more forward-looking companies you could be lucky enough to find yourself working under an approachable MD. For example I have just received the following email from the MD here:

Dear All.

We have ordered a microwave for the office which should be with us today.

As HQ have prevented us from locating it in the kitchen area we are having to place it within the office area. The implications of this is that the delicate aroma of curries, while being inviting after 6 pints, may not be welcomed by all at 10:00 in the morning.

The main use of the microwave is to provide people on out-of-hours shifts a means to heat up food. It can also be used during lunch time but please be respectful of others.

We are planning to locate it next to the office safe, please do not get the two confused. I do not want the tape backups microwaved and your dinner locked away for weeks....