The Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) manages the affairs of the IOC, and functions by making its recommendations to the IOC Sessions. These recommendations are usually approved by the full IOC Session, thus the Executive Board effectively runs the IOC.
The Executive Board was formed in 1921 and was at that time known as the Executive Committee. Since he had become IOC President in 1896, Pierre, Baron de Coubertin had basically run the IOC as a one-man shop. At the 1921 Olympic Congress Coubertin announced that he was planning a long trip and would be unable to attend to the affairs of the IOC during that time, and that perhaps they should form an Executive Committee to help with the management. This proposal was passed unanimously by the Congress.
Coubertin was initially not considered a member of the Executive Committee. It originally consisted of only five members, with a President, Vice-President, Secretary, and two members-at-large. The first President of the Executive Committee was Godefroy, Baron de Blonay (SUI), who served in 1921-23. Blonay had been the IOC interim President during World War I while Coubertin was in the French military. The other four initial members were J. Sigfrid Edström (SWE), Jiří Guth-Jarkovsky (TCH), Melchior, Marquis de Polignac (FRA), and Henri, Count de Baillet-Latour (BEL).
In 1924, when Baillet-Latour succeeded Coubertin as IOC President, the Executive Committee brought him onto the Committee as a Vice-President, although Blonay still held the title of President. In 1927 the make-up of the Committee changed, with Baillet-Latour assuming his role as President, Blonay as Vice-President, and there were now five members-at-large.
The Executive Board, renamed in 1955, stayed approximately that size until the mid-1960s when Avery Brundage was IOC President. In 1966 the IOC formed two new positions, designating a 1st- and 2nd-Vice-President, and increased the size of the Board to 9 members, with 6 members-at-large. A position of 3rd-Vice-President was added in 1968, but the Board stayed at 9 members.
In 1985 the Executive Board again increased in size to 11 members, and in 1989 the position of 4th-Vice-President was added. The Board stayed that size until 2000 when four new positions were added for a total Board size of 15. Those positions were representatives of the NOCs, Summer IFs, Winter IFs, and Athletes, and the Board has remained that size, with those positions, into 2019. In 2008, under President Thomas Bach, the Vice-Presidential numbering was eliminated and all are now again called simply “Vice-President.” Executive Board members are elected by the IOC Sessions. The Vice-Presidents and board members are elected for four-year periods.
The Executive Board (EB) meets just prior to IOC Sessions, and also meets several times per year. Generally, there are four EB meetings each year, usually spaced out about 3 months apart. The EB meetings prior to Sessions are held in the host cities for the Session, but most of the other yearly meetings are conducted at the IOC Headquarters in Lausanne. Most EB meetings are well-attended by the international sporting media, with press conferences usually held daily, and the IOC Media team releasing multiple daily updates, especially now in the age of social media, on the meetings decisions, announcements, and findings.