What is the Difference Between a Chief Operating Officer and a Vice President of Operations?

The executive vice president is superior to the chief operating officer (COO). The two executive positions have different roles and salaries, but they usually hold the same type of position. The difference in names usually varies due to the location of the company, the way it is organized and the industry it is part of. A COO is one of the highest-ranking executive positions in an organization and is part of senior management.

They are usually second in command of the company, especially if the highest-ranking executive is the president and CEO. The COO is responsible for the day-to-day operation of the company and its office building and is routinely accountable to the highest-ranking executive, usually the CEO. The COO normally reports directly to the CEO and is considered second in the chain of command. In some companies, they are referred to by other terms, such as executive vice president of operations, chief operating officer, or chief operating officer.

In smaller companies, they can report directly to the CEO to devise strategies to improve operations. The vice president of operations leads their departments while chief operating officers generally have responsibilities that span the entire business, including the position of chief of staff of a CEO. Common high-level executives include the chief executive officer (CEO), chief financial officer (CFO), COO and chief information officer (CIO). A COO is an executive member of a company who is tasked with managing the day-to-day operations and administrative functions of the company.

They are a senior executive responsible for overseeing the day-to-day administrative and operational functions of a company. Their duties often include maintaining strong communication with the CEO and high-level executives, formulating the company's business strategy, representing management and board to the general public and shareholders, and maintaining corporate integrity. A COO falls into the category of “C” positions (CEO, COO, CIO, CFO), positions that sometimes overlap with the president and vice presidents. Research in Motion's corporate structure had more than one COO, including Jim Rowan as COO for global operations and Thorsten Heins as director of product and sales operations.