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An officer is an a corporation official usually elected by the board of directors and authorized to sign legally binding contracts for the corporation.

Expanded Definition

The authority to sign legally binding contracts is called agency. The old maxim, "I never sign what I write; I never write what I sign," applies. Most corporations have policy manuals that spell out what documents an officer of a given rank is permitted to sign, and with whose approval. Often they must be reviewed by the legal department.

Officers have the ability to designate others in the organization who are authorized to sign contracts of specified types and within specified limits. They often have the word "agent" in the title. For example, a purchasing agent or a shipping agent.

Executives usually are officers. In some states, the names of officers of the corporation must be reported to the Secretary of State for filing with the corporations articles of incorporation.

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