Pauline Paquet

BTW, who is helping the CEO?

Learn about the key figures behind successful CEOs, from Chief of Staff to Personal Assistant, and how they contribute to effective leadership and organizational growth.

Executives can often feel extremely isolated in the face of the challenges they encounter. It’s not rare to see a CEO working more than 70 hours per week, often at the cost of personal well-being and strategic oversight.

BUT, delegating support functions is essential, allowing the CEO to maintain their focus on what they do best: growing the company. That’s why it is crucial to identify when and who to recruit in the inner circle of the CEO. Getting help is not a luxury, but a necessity to manage the workload and focus on high-value tasks.

To help you identify the right support personnel, let’s clarify the roles of Chief of Staff, CEO’s right hand, Office Manager, and Personal Assistant, as they are frequently misunderstood or mixed up. Understanding the differences between these roles will allow you to make an informed choice.

Let’s begin with the Right Hand of the CEO. This is an internship role that serves as a multi-faceted assistant to the founder. Ideally, you should aim to fill this position as soon as possible. The ideal candidate generally has a background in business or engineering, typically at the Bac+4/5 level. The average compensation for this role is around 1,000€ per month. This intern assists the CEO in a variety of tasks, including research, data analysis, and sales coordination. Their day-to-day activities might involve competitive analysis, recruitment, and marketing.

On the other hand, a Chief of Staff is more of a strategic partner to the CEO. They usually have at least three years of experience and often come from entrepreneurial, venture capital, or finance backgrounds. Their responsibilities include overseeing key initiatives, managing cross-departmental communication, and assisting in the execution of company-wide strategies. They are typically hired post-Series A and can expect to earn from 40,000€ up to 150,000€ per year for those with the most experience.

“As a company grows towards the Series B stage, it becomes virtually impossible for the CEO alone to be everywhere and still be able to take a step back to reflect on long-term strategy and vision. The Chief of Staff has an essential role as a sparring partner to empower the CEO to bring value where it really matters. Additionally, bringing in someone with a complementary skill set compounds the strengths of the top management team.” Laetitia Carle, COO, previously Chief of Staff @ Greenly

Less tied to the CEO directly, the Office Manager is the backbone of daily operations, responsible for internal communications, administrative work, and facilities management. Candidates usually have a Bac+2/+3 degree in HR or Office Administration. This role becomes crucial when the company grows beyond 10 employees. The salary for this role ranges from 24,000€ to 48,000€, depending on experience.

Once, a CEO told me: “I hired my personal assistant at 175 employees. If I had known how it would make my life easier, I would recommend to any CEO approaching the 100 employees to take a personal assistant”. The Personal Assistant focuses on administrative assistance to the CEO. This includes managing calendars, organizing travel, and coordinating meetings. Like the Office Manager, candidates generally have a Bac+2/+3 in HR or Office Administration. The role is usually filled post Series B funding or when the company has more than 100 employees, and the salary ranges from 24,000€ to 55,000€.

Want to dig deeper? Read our Series B Blueprint

The “Early-Stage Founders’ Blueprint for Series B Success” draws from all the startups we’ve seen at XAnge across Europe and brings together key experts from our ecosystem. Developed for Series A CEOs preparing for Series B, the blueprint explores the specific challenges and changes you’ll encounter, providing insights, strategies, and practical tools to help you meet both market and VC expectations—all while navigating the human complexities of the Series B landscape.

In our recently released “Early-Stage Founders’ Blueprint for Series B Success”, we discussed a rarely addressed topic: who should support the CEO? A Chief of Staff? A CEO’s “right-hand”? An Office Manager? A Personal Assistant? Let’s see the differences between each of those jobs…

*Thanks to Ravio for Compensation data – scope France 😉

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