Chief Operating Officer COO job description template Workable

chief operating officer definition

Some management experts have said the COO position is in declining in importance because of C-suite changes such as fewer CEOs serving as the chairman of the board of directors for companies. This freed up modern CEOs to perform some of the duties formerly given to their COOs, making COOs unnecessary. Richard Fuld, the chairman and CEO of Lehman Brothers, had a succession of “number twos” under him, usually titled as president and chief operating officer. Chris Pettit was Fuld’s second-in-command for two decades until November 26, 1996, when he resigned as president and board member. Bradley Jack and Joseph M. Gregory were appointed co-COOs in 2002, but Jack was demoted to the office of the chairman in May 2004 and departed in June 2005 with a severance package of $80 million, making Gregory the sole COO.

chief operating officer definition

He currently serves as deputy chief operating officer at News, with responsibility for the Fox TV stations. Along with a solid set of soft skills, COOs should understand project management and how to build a team, said Windler. The COO role often is the final rung on an executive’s career ladder before becoming a chief executive. The Smith Difference is designed to bring your career goals within reach with our personalized resources and quality education. To find out more about how a degree like the Online Master of Business Administration from the University of Maryland can benefit your career goals, check out our website and connect with one of our enrollment advisors today.

Clear decision rights.

Share your open role with qualified chief operating officers using the world’s largest professional network. It’s for all of these reasons that a COO is one of the most elusive and misunderstood positions in the business. If you can understand the role of the COO and find a good one, they can bring great value to your company. We are looking for an experienced Chief Operating Officer or COOto oversee our organization’s ongoing operations and procedures.

A good relationship between the two is key in ensuring that a company realizes its goals. The two executives will focus on their roles without interfering with the other. Today, we have bigger companies, with expanding global operations, aggressively pursuing acquisitions. Second, companies chief operating officer definition are becoming more deliberate about succession planning. Boards are anxious to identify and groom heirs and often see the COO title as a useful step in the process. Finally, the easy mobility of top talent means companies must find ways to hold on to their most valuable non-CEO executives.

Seven Types of Chief Operating Officers

Finally, there is no single agreed-upon description of what the job entails or even what it’s called. Often, companies turn responsibility for all areas of operations over to the COO—this typically includes production, marketing and sales, and research and development. For example, last summer Microsoft filled the long-vacant position of COO with Kevin Turner from Walmart. In announcing his appointment, the company stated that Turner was expected to use his retail experience to lead Microsoft’s effort to grow the consumer products business. The most cursory survey of COO job designs shows real disparity in spans of control, decision rights, reporting structures, and the like. To become a COO, guide a business’s daily operations and report to and support the CEO and senior executive team, there are certain skills and educational requirements that students should strive for.

  • A Chief Operating Officer must have a broad knowledge of and wide experience in business management.
  • Chief Operating Officer means the person appointed by the PMA Managing Director as the Chief Operating Officer of PMA Facilities and in the absence of that person, the person appointed to act in that position for the time being.
  • Other halves are COOs brought in to complement a CEO’s skill set, experience and style.
  • In any case, Michael Dell and Kevin Rollins, whom Dell introduced as COO in 1996, seem to operate in this mode.
  • The increase in talent mobility means that the role will likely be used more often as a retention mechanism for key executives who are at risk of moving to a competitor.
  • This professional oversees all of a company’s important day-to-day operations and may even be considered the heir apparent to the current CEO.

Though he did not have the title of COO, it was vice chair, he did the job of COO and was Dell’s mentor. A COO typically has extensive experience within the field in which a given company operates. This slow build helps prepare COOs for their roles, by letting them cultivate extensive experience in the practices, policies, and procedures of their chosen field. The COO is responsible for ensuring that business operations are efficient and effective and that the proper management of resources, distribution of goods and services to customers and analysis of queue systems is conducted. Master’s degree in business administration along with certifications in operations management from a reputed institute.

Chief Operating Officer Key Skills

Schwartz became sole president of Bear after Spector was ousted, and several months later assumed the position of CEO as well when James Cayne was forced to resign . Michael Capellas was appointed president of Hewlett-Packard in order to ease its acquisition and integration of Compaq, where Capellas was previously chairman and CEO. Capellas ended up serving just six months as HP president before departing. His former role of president was not filled as the executives who reported to him then reported directly to the CEO. Being a top management position, the salary that the role of COO commands is very high irrespective of the Industry to which it belongs. However, the pay scale varies within Industries, with some Industries paying less and some Industries with the scarcity of professionals with the requisite skills to handle this role paying more than others.

Although these skills can be acquired in leadership trainings and other executive-level seminars, they are best developed “in the trenches,” according to Hayashi. Like all C-suite executives, COOs should be great communicators and leaders, according to Windler. “A good rule of thumb for those hoping to become a COO is to have a deep understanding of business, people management and the industry as a whole,” Whittier said. As TechTarget contributor Margaret Rouse explains, the COO functions similarly to the role of U.S. vice president, in that the role of president is highly dependent upon the vice president. The Balance uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

Is COO higher than CFO?

Who ranks higher: COO or CFO? The positions of COO and CFO are comparable in seniority as both are managerial positions that report directly to the CEO. Both COO and CFO may also be known as a senior vice president.

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