The chief operating officer (COO) is responsible for overseeing the operations of the organization. Sometimes they are called the President of Operations. The list of responsibilities can be varied and depends on the specific organization.
For example, optimizing daily operations or improving company culture. COOs provide strategic advice and implement new business initiatives. They may also oversee administrative functions. Their goals are to boost productivity and profitability.
The COO of a non-profit may also be responsible for implementing systems and logistics to ensure the delivery of aid. On the other hand, the COO of a car company may be responsible for ensuring that manufacturing operations become more productive. Either way, they are responsible for daily operations and need strong business acumen.
One of the most famous COOs in the world is Sheryl Sandberg. As the COO of Facebook (now Meta Platforms), she oversaw the business operations of the company from 2008 to 2022. This freed up CEO Mark Zuckerberg to focus on the strategic direction of the company. Often, a COO is a CEO's right-hand person. When a COO steps down from the role, they are often retained on the board of directors. This helps ensure their significant knowledge and experience isn't lost.
There are major changes happening in the way we work. These include new work environments, increasing corporate responsibility, and the automation of production. The COO is often responsible for responding to these changes. This makes it an exciting and valuable role. If you want to help shape the future of your organization, becoming the COO is a good way to be a part of it. You will oversee every single aspect of daily business operations.
Typically, the COO is the second highest C-suite position within the organization behind the CEO. They work closely with other executives such as the Chief Financial Officer and the Chief Technology Officer. COOs often lead sales and marketing directors, product managers, human resources staff, and business development executives. Their role is to help other executives improve the operational performance of their departments.
Many COOs go on to be promoted to the CEO position within the organization when a vacancy opens. Within an organization, the COO position can include a diverse range of responsibilities, such as:
- Advising and supporting the CEO.
- Taking the lead in implementing company strategies.
- Implementing new initiatives in sales, HR, product, customer service, and other departments. Usually working alongside the executive in charge of the specific department.
- Ensuring internal processes within the organization are working and making changes when necessary.
- Verifying company operations are maximizing employee productivity and performance.
- Working with an executive team to ensure all departments are working in unison to achieve company goals.
Organizations in both the public and private sectors have COOs. This includes larger private companies, non-profits, government departments, and educational institutions. This allows prospective COOs to specialize in a specific industry.