What Does a Chief Operating Officer Do?

A Chief Operating Officer (COO) is a senior executive responsible for overseeing the day-to-day administrative and operational functions of a company. The COO is usually the second highest executive position after the CEO and reports directly to them. The COO is responsible for ensuring that the company operates efficiently and provides leadership and management to help the company achieve its objectives. The COO is not the same as a president, although in a large company there may be a COO with presidents who oversee different branches of the company.

All other senior management positions, such as the Chief Financial Officer or Chief Information Officer, also focus on their specific roles. The COO is responsible for all members of the company, except for the CEO and board of directors. This includes selecting, training, and training new leaders, as well as combining the company's strategic and business plans with its enterprise operating system, operating model, and organizational structure. For example, Richard Fuld, the President and CEO of Lehman Brothers, had a number two succession under his command, usually titled as President and Chief Operating Officer.

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.