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.
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