What is the Role of a Chief Operating Officer?

A chief operating officer (COO) is a dual role that combines the functions of CEO and manager. It is responsible for designing and implementing policies to promote company culture and vision, as well as overseeing operations to keep businesses running. The COO is also responsible for leading the execution of strategies developed by the senior management team. This position is often created as a concession to the complexity and scope of the current CEO's work, with their numerous external commitments. Managing large companies, often global, sometimes requires two hands; in such cases, the chief operating officer generally assumes responsibility for delivering results day by day, quarter by quarter.

The 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. Research in Motion's corporate structure had more than one chief operating officer, including Jim Rowan as chief operating officer for global operations and Thorsten Heins as director of product and sales operations. This is why this position is almost ubiquitous in operations-intensive companies, such as the airline and automotive industries, as well as organizations operating in hypercompetitive and dynamic markets, such as high-tech companies. We are looking for a chief operating officer (COO) who has strong leadership skills and the ability to approach business with a creative point of view.

The COO is a senior executive responsible for overseeing the day-to-day administrative and operational functions of a company. They are also responsible for controlling the entire operation of the organization using their administrative and management skills. When Larry Ellison, founder and CEO of Oracle, and its chief operating officer, Ray Lane, separated in 2000, it inspired a lot of media attention. Similarly, Richard Fuld, president and CEO of Lehman Brothers, had a number two succession under his command, usually titled as president and chief operating officer. This traditional role is responsible for maintaining and driving operating results within a company. A successful COO must have strong leadership skills and be able to approach business with a creative point of view.

They must be able to manage day-to-day operations while also being accountable to the highest-ranking executive. Understanding what makes a chief operating officer successful is vital because their effectiveness is fundamental to many companies' fortunes.