This article is about secretaries as leaders in organizations. For the most senior public servant in an Australian governmental department, see Departmental secretary
. For the common meaning of secretary as an office support worker, which can also be a title, see Secretary
is a title often used in organizations to indicate a person having a certain amount of authority
, or importance in the organization. Secretaries announce important events and communicate to the organization. The term is derived from the Latin word secernere
, "to distinguish" or "to set apart", the passive participle (secretum
) meaning "having been set apart", with the eventual connotation of something private or confidential, as with the English word secret.
was a person, therefore, overseeing business confidentially, usually for a powerful individual (a king, pope, etc.).
In England, the term secretarius
was used "from the beginning of the thirteenth century in the varying meanings of a confidential clerk, an ambassador, or a member of the king's council".
In the fourteenth century, the title became strongly associated with the keeper of the king's signet
From the Renaissance
to the late 19th century, men involved in the daily correspondence and the activities of the powerful assumed the title of secretary. With time, like many titles, the term was applied to more and varied functions, leading to compound titles to specify the authority associated with its use, like general secretary or financial secretary
In some countries, such as the United States, the term secretary
is used to indicate the holder of a cabinet
-level post. There are a number of popular variations of the title used to indicate that the secretary in question has a high degree of authority, such as general secretary
(or, following usage in the Norman language
), first secretary
, and executive secretary
In a club
, the secretary is also considered to be, in most cases, the third person in charge of the organization, after the president/chairman and vice president/vice chairman.
In smaller organizations, the secretary typically takes meeting minutes
, notifies members of meetings, contacts various persons in relation to the society, administers the day-to-day activities of the organization, and creates the order of business. The secretary of a non-governmental organization
or international non-governmental organization
can combine the function with that of vice president/vice chairman.
or First Secretary
is the official title of leaders of most Communist political parties
. When a Communist party is the ruling party in a Communist-led one-party state
, the General Secretary is typically the country's de facto
leader. Examples include:
International intergovernmental organizations
International nongovernmental organizations
Council of Diaspora Métis (CDM)
The Duke of Edinburgh's Award International Association (IAA)
The European Organisation for Civil Aviation Equipment
The International Community of Breeders of Asexually Reproduced Ornamental and Fruit Varieties - CIOPORA
International People's Conference Organisation (IPCO)
The Orange Defense Network (ODN)
Sports governing bodies
is the title of the chief officer or leader in many organizations, and is also a modern diplomatic rank
. Examples include:
- ^ "Xi's here to stay: China leader tipped to outstay term". Yahoo! News. 9 August 2016. "A lot of analysts now see it as a given" that Xi will seek to stay Party General Secretary, the country's most powerful post, said Christopher K. Johnson, a former CIA analyst and now China specialist at the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies.
- ^ a b J. Otway-Ruthven, The King's Secretary and the Signet Office in the XV Century (1939), p. 60.
- ^ a b Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised, 4th edition, Scott, Foresman and Company, Chicago, 1915, pp. 244–247.
- ^ 
Last edited on 22 March 2021, at 14:22
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