Set up and register a limited company (private or public)

The company's officers

The officers of your company are the people formally appointed to run it - the company directors and if it has or requires one, the company secretary. Among their other duties the directors have a responsibility to prepare and deliver documents - such as the accounts and annual return to the registrar. They also have a duty to notify changes to, for example, its registered office or directors.

If officers resign or new ones are appointed, or if their personal details change, the Registrar of Companies must be informed straight away. You can find downloadable company forms on the Companies House website.

You can find out more about company directors and secretaries in our guides on company directors' responsibilities and company secretaries' responsibilities.

How many officers does a company need to have?

The number of officers required depends on the type of company:

  • Private companies must have at least one director, one of whom must be an individual person (as opposed to another company). A private company is not required to have a secretary but can choose to appoint one if they wish. A sole director may also be the company secretary.
  • Public limited companies must have at least two directors, one of whom must be an individual person and a company secretary. The company secretary must be formally qualified.

Restrictions on company directors

It is up to the members to appoint the people they believe will run the company well on their behalf. The only restrictions that prevent anyone becoming a director are:

  • they must not have been disqualified from acting as a company director - unless the court has given them permission to act for a particular company
  • they must not be an undischarged bankrupt - unless they have been given permission by the court to act for a particular company
  • they must not be under the age of 16

Can one person form a company?

An individual can form a private company but the sole director must be an individual. A public company must be formed by at least two persons one of which must be an individual.

Subjects covered in this guide


Companies House Contact Centre

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