The Supreme Council is the governing body of the Order and is composed of elected representatives from each jurisdiction. The Supreme Council acts in similar manner to shareholders at an annual meeting and each year elects seven members to the Supreme Board of Directors for three year terms. The twenty-one member board then chooses from its own membership the senior operating officials of the Order, including the Supreme Knight. State Councils in each of the 50 United States, each province in Canada, and other jurisdictions carved out of member countries are led by State Deputies and other officers elected at state conventions.
Territorial Deputies are appointed by the Supreme Knight and lead areas not yet incorporated into State Councils.
District Deputies are appointed by the State Deputy and oversee several local councils, each of which is led by a Grand Knight. Other elected council officers include the Deputy Grand Knight, Chancellor, Warden, Recorder, Treasurer, Advocate, Guards and Trustees. A Chaplain and Lecturer is appointed by the Grand Knight a Financial Secretary by the Supreme Knight. Council officers are properly addressed by using the title "worthy" (e.g. Worthy Grand Knight). Councils are numbered in the order in which they chartered into the Order and are named by the local membership. San Salvador Council #1 was named for the first island Columbus landed on in the New World. The title "Knight" is purely fraternal and is not the equivalent to a sovereign accolade. Therefore Knights of Columbus do not rank with Chevaliers and Commanders of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre, the Order of Malta, the Order of St. Gregory the Great, or members of any other historic military or chivalric orders.