Chief Operating Officer Job Description

In the organizational structure, the COO is subordinated to the CEO (Chief Executive Officer) and may carry the title of "president" or "vice-president" of the company. The COO's attributes are more hands-on than those of the CEO are, but there is a constant feedback between the two positions. Having to manage a company's daily activity is not an easy task, so the range of responsibilities a COO must undertake is wide.

Job responsibilities

As mentioned, the Chief Operating Officer has to oversee all the operations within a company, organization or business on a daily basis. The tasks however vary greatly from industry to industry and depend on the size of the company and its operations. Small businesses employ few operations, while corporations may be involved in numerous activities that, in many cases, require more COOs to oversee them. In emerging businesses, the attributes of the COO, and other chief officers, are held by one person, regularly the CEO.

In general, the Chief Operating Officer

  • has to monitor and manage the manufacturing activity or commercial activity allocating in an efficient manner the company's resources

  • has to evaluate the performance of the company's departments to fulfill organizational requirements

  • has to conduct a company's activity in accordance to short or long term strategic planning, has to participate in management meetings, offering suggestions and solutions to improve the company's policies

  • Finally yet importantly, the COO has to report on a regular basis to the CEO with whom he/she will collaborate in finding the best solutions and strategies for the company's future

  • The COO is not responsible for conducting external affairs, this being an attribute of the CEO. In order to fulfill all this, a COO has to make proof of management skills and knowledge, as well as of good understanding of the industry and business he or she activates in.

Educational requirements

A Chief Operating Officer's job description regularly specifies a high-level of education: a master's degree, a MBA (Masters in Business Administration) degree, or similar qualifications. In addition, good domain knowledge of the industry and business is required for the COO position. Experience is relevant, especially in coordinating teams, in the decision making process or in leadership positions. Moreover, a COO must understand modern management theories, such as Total Quality Management.

As a top manager, a Chief Operating Officer must possess strong managerial and leadership skills, interpersonal skills, the ability to coordinate a vast mass of employees and a high resistance to stress. The COO is in many situations the next in line for the CEO position, so he or she must manifest the same personal qualities and skills as the CEO.


This position is one of the highest paying positions out there, with an average of $ 80,000 a month for the less experienced to over $200,000 for those with 20 or more years of experience.