Chief Operating Officer

Chief Operating Officer

You’ll have to maintain control of diverse business operations, so we expect you to be an experienced and efficient leader. If you also have excellent people skills, business acumen and exemplary work ethics, we’d like to meet you. While vice presidents run their departments, chief operating officers generally have responsibilities that encompass all of the business, including serving as the chief of staff for a CEO. A COO provides day-to-day leadership, monitoring company performance through management information system reports and evaluating the effectiveness of company operations and cross department boundaries to assure that company goals are met. Because his responsibilities are business-wide, his activities are an important determinant of the company culture.

President – legally recognized highest “titled” corporate officer, and usually a member of the board of directors. There is much variation; often the CEO also holds the title of president, while in other organizations if there is a separate CEO, the president is then second highest-ranking position. In such a case the president is often the COO and is considered to be more focused upon daily operations compared to the CEO, who is supposed to be the visionary. If the corporate president is not the COO (such as Richard Parsons of Time Warner from 1995–2001), then many division heads report directly to the CEO themselves, with the president taking on special assignments from the CEO.

What is COO?

definition of a coo

chief executive officerCEOResponsible for the overall vision and direction of an organization, making the final decisions over all of the corporation’s operations. The highest-ranking management officer; often also the chairman of the board. Usually called CEO in the United States, chief executive or managing director in the United Kingdom, Commonwealth of Nations, and some other countries.

As your business grows, you’re likely to discover that you need to appoint additional senior level executives to help manage the day-to-day operations of the company. As such, you may question whether you need a vice president or a chief operating officer (COO). While there is some overlap between the two positions, COO’s tend to take a company-wide approach to providing day-to-day leadership, while vice presidents tend to be more focused on developing overall strategies for a specific department within the business.

Understanding a Chief Operating Officer (COO)

The Walt Disney Company has used the President and COO titles in varied ways for their number two executive. Ron W. Miller was president from 1978 to 1984, while serving additionally as CEO for 18 months from 1983 to 84. Frank Wells was president from 1984 to 1994, where he reported to the board of directors and not chairman and CEO Michael Eisner.

The highest-level executives in senior management usually have titles beginning with “chief” and ending with “officer”, forming what is often called the C-Suite or CxO, where “x” is a variable that could be any functional area; not to be confused with CXO. In other companies, a president is a different person, and the primary duties of the two positions are defined in the company’s bylaws (or the laws of the governing legal jurisdiction). The next level, which are not executive positions, is middle management and may be called “vice presidents”, “directors” or “managers”, depending on the size and required managerial depth of the company. In many cases, the general manager of a business is given a different formal title or titles.

Prior to the creation of the group management board in 2006, HSBC’s chairman essentially held the duties of a chief executive at an equivalent institution, while HSBC’s chief executive served as the deputy. After the 2006 reorganization, the management cadre ran the business, while the chairman oversaw the controls of the business through compliance and audit and the direction of the business.

What is a COO role?

The chief operating officer (COO) is a senior executive tasked with overseeing the day-to-day administrative and operational functions of a business. The COO typically reports directly to the chief executive officer (CEO) and is considered to be second in the chain of command.

Most corporate managers holding the titles of chief executive officer (CEO) or president, for example, are the general managers of their respective businesses. More rarely, the chief financial officer (CFO), chief operating officer (COO), or chief marketing officer (CMO) will act as the general manager of the business. Depending on the company, individuals with the title managing director, regional vice president, country manager, product manager, branch manager, or segment manager may also have general management responsibilities.

This is a middle management and not an executive level position, unless it is in the banking industry. Alternatively, a manager of managers is often referred to as a “senior manager’ or as an “associate vice president”, depending upon levels of management, and industry type. Gori reported to Chief Executive Officer Donald Guloien before additionally assuming the title of CEO on October 1, 2017, upon Guloien’s retirement.

When Wells died in a helicopter crash, no replacement president was named as his duties were resumed by Eisner. Michael Ovitz was president from 1995 to 1997, being hired by Eisner and then dismissed not long afterwards. Bob Iger was president and COO from 2000 to 2005, when he succeeded Eisner as CEO. Thomas O. Staggs was COO from 2015 to 2016, during that time the senior executive team had a dual reporting structure to both Staggs and Iger; Staggs resigned after the board did not give him assurances that he would succeed as CEO. The COO role is a key member of the senior management team, reporting only to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

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  • Typically, senior managers are “higher” than vice presidents, although many times a senior officer may also hold a vice president title, such as executive vice president and chief financial officer (CFO).
  • The highest-level executives in senior management usually have titles beginning with “chief” and ending with “officer”, forming what is often called the C-Suite or CxO, where “x” is a variable that could be any functional area; not to be confused with CXO.
  • The board of directors is technically not part of management itself, although its chairman may be considered part of the corporate office if he or she is an executive chairman.

definition of a coo

Vice presidents in small companies are also referred to as chiefs of a certain division, such as vice president for finance, or vice president for administration. Note that in some financial contexts, the title of vice president is actually subordinate to a director. Vice chair or vice chairman – officer of the board of directors who may stand in for the chairman in his or her absence. However, this type of vice chairman title on its own usually has only an advisory role and not an operational one (such as Ted Turner at Time Warner). An unrelated definition of vice chair describes an executive who is higher ranking or has more seniority than executive vice president.

What is the meaning of CEO and COO?

CEO means Chief Executive Officer while COO means Chief Operations Officer. 2. The CEO is often the highest ranking officer of the company. The CEO title is often given to or held by the Chairman of the Board or the President while the COO is often held by the ranked Vice President of the company.

You will get very good at thinking about accountability systems and organizational structures. You’ll see executives challenge each other to improve performance and debate critical business issues. While developing an executive mindset is one of the most challenging barriers to growth, the Chief of Staff role is the ultimate shortcut. The chief operating officer (COO), also called the chief operations officer, is one of the highest-ranking executive positions in an organization, comprising part of the “C-Suite”. The COO is usually the second-in-command at the firm, especially if the highest-ranking executive is the chairman and CEO.

Sometimes, EVPs report to the vice chair, who in turn reports directly to the CEO (so vice chairs in effect constitute an additional layer of management), other vice chairs have more responsibilities but are otherwise on an equal tier with EVPs. Royal Bank of Canada previously used vice chairs in their inner management circle until 2004 but have since renamed them as group heads. Director – a manager of managers within an organization who is often responsible for a major business function and who sometimes reports to a vice president (note that in some financial services companies the title vice president has a different meaning). Often used with name of a functional area; finance director, director of finance, marketing director, and so on. Not to be confused with a member of the board of directors, who is also referred to as a director.

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Non-profit corporations’ governing board members may be called directors like most for-profit corporations, or an alternative like trustees, governors, etc. In particular, the group chairmanship of HSBC is considered the top position of that institution, outranking the chief executive, and is responsible for leading the board and representing the company in meetings with government figures.

In large companies, many vice presidents will have the title of general manager when they have the full set of responsibility for the function in that particular area of the business and are often titled vice president and general manager. They often appear in various hierarchical layers such as executive vice president, senior vice president, associate vice president, or assistant vice president, with EVP usually considered the highest and usually reporting to the CEO or president. Many times, corporate officers such as the CFO, COO, CIO, CTO, secretary, or treasurer will concurrently hold vice president titles, commonly EVP or SVP.

Chief Operating Officer (COO)

definition of a coo

As a result of this unfair exposure, you will have a significant leg up in developing an executive mindset. You will quickly learn how senior executives operate and think — How does an operations leader make difficult tradeoffs?

CEO vs. President: What’s the Difference?

Typically, senior managers are “higher” than vice presidents, although many times a senior officer may also hold a vice president title, such as executive vice president and chief financial officer (CFO). The board of directors is technically not part of management itself, although its chairman may be considered part of the corporate office if he or she is an executive chairman.

COO

The COO is responsible for the daily operation of the company and routinely reports to the highest-ranking executive—usually the chief executive officer (CEO). Also known as the chief operations officer, the chief operating officer (COO) is a C-suite executive position, often considered second in command to the chief executive officer (CEO). As the title suggests, she is responsible for the daily operations of a business, supervising all or most aspects of the company’s procedures and plans. Depending on the organization, the COO may be tasked with managing issues including marketing, financial growth and development, sales, research, and personnel.

Chief Operating Officer

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