General Corporations

These are the companies you read about most often in the headlines, including almost all kinds of publicly owned companies. General Corporations don’t have to be large, but have the best ability to grow and stay well-managed. While General Corporations are less flexible and take more effort to set up, that structure is a strength when a company needs good management and clear divisions of responsibility across a larger group of workers and shareholders. Corporations pay taxes at both the federal and state level where appropriate, and must issue records such as annual reports so that shareholders, investors and other interested parties can examine their performance.

Because of the increased reporting responsibility, General Corporations have three levels of duties in most cases:


These are the real owners of the company, by virtue of the investment they make in buying stock. Of course, hundreds or even thousands of people with a few shares each cannot manage a company very well. But shareholders will vote, depending on the charter under which the company incorporates, on a variety of important issues such as the appointment of Directors and/or Officers.

In many corporations, there exists a Majority stockholder who, by virtue of the voting power they enjoy, can take on overall direction of the company. Minority stockholders are simply “along for the ride”, sharing in any financial benefits as the stock rises, but not otherwise involved in running the company.


Most corporations specify a number of directors, often in a Board of Directors, to oversee the high-level direction and management of the company.  Directors do not handle everyday operations but often control, for example, whether a dividend will be issued. Directors are expected to act in an impartial manner for the good of the company; their meetings are on the record and part of the paper trail that other interested parties, such as investors and creditors, can examine. In most general corporations, a Majority stockholder can remove Directors at their discretion.


Often more visible and better known than Directors, Officers such as Chief Executive Officer, Chief Information Officer, Chief Technology Officer and others are hired to direct the company on an ongoing basis. Officers must carry out the general directions of the Directors; their terms, contracts and remuneration can vary widely and are sometimes tied to performance (as when they are given stock as part of their pay, thus they benefit when the company prospers).


Key Points of General Corporation:

All filings with the Delaware Division of Corporations are public record including annual reports listing directors of corporations.