Chief Operations Officer

Chief Operations Officer

The chief operations officer (COO) of a business occupies the second tier below the CEO and/or chairperson, which means that they have incredible influence and responsibility in the company, especially if it’s a large one. It’s an executive position, serving on the board, but the specific responsibilities vary from business to business and sector to sector.

There’s usually just one chief operations officer in a production and operations company, but they will usually be on a par with other executives such as finance, marketing, innovation or specific disciplines that are unique to the company. What makes the COO different is that their role will be to oversee the actual workings of the business, from sourcing resources to manufacture, design and delivery. Needless to say, they’ll have a dedicated team and possibly several layers of management between themselves and the shop floor, but as far as the core operations of the business are concerned, the buck stops with the COO.

In short, their responsibility is to ensure the decisions made by the CEO or chair (or other body depending on the structure of the company) are implemented within the boundaries set by the other executives.

 

The skills required

Chief operations officer jobs are usually filled by people who are already at the top of their game in the businesses they currently work in, and will be senior persons with highly impressive CVs and track records of delivering successfully wherever they have worked. If you’ve overseen the implementation of complex operations systems that have delivered on corporate goals for your previous employers, there will always be COO jobs with your name on them.

At this level, you’ll also be well connected in your industry and in the wider business world, as you’ll often need to draw on those connections to get things done. You’ll be excellent at communicating the often complicated plans and aims of the company to your subordinates, who may themselves occupy executive positions, while remaining on the ball and able to deeply monitor progress to steer projects in the right direction.

 

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