COO Chief Operating Officer Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

Last updated: October 4, 2021

COOs, or Vice Presidents of Operations, are responsible for managing the logistics associated with running a business and carrying out all of a company’s essential duties. Their duties include creating an employee taxonomy and management structure, auditing various workplace processes and implementing new strategies to improve efficiency and communication across all parts of a company’s supply and distribution chain.

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COO Chief Operating Officer duties and responsibilities 

 Typically, a Chief Operating Officer acts in a leadership role, effectively carrying out the plans and procedures of the owners or the CEO. Typical duties and responsibilities for a Chief Operating Officer include:

  • Oversee operational policies and procedures.
  • Oversee day-to-day operations, including finance, human resources and sales.
  • Oversee planning, maintenance and efficiency.
  • Prepare operational reports and management reports.
  • Ensure compliance on a company, state and federal level.
  • Drive sustainable growth and minimize losses.
  • Head outreach and business relations.
  • Review budgets and staffing.
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What does a COO Chief Operating Officer do?

COOs are typically employed at large and mid-size corporations as the second-in-command on their company’s executive team who oversees all of an organization’s activities and ensures that the existing business infrastructure has the capacity to achieve the company’s strategic goals. COOs hire and train business administrators who create organized systems for completing their department’s key functions. Their role is to identify the essential structure of the business and assess its efficiency as the company grows, meeting increased product demand without sacrificing profitability. COOs are the main point of contact for their company’s key suppliers.

COO Chief Operating Officer skills and qualifications

The Chief Operating Officer does not just typically carry out orders for their superiors. They create the operating procedures that the whole company will follow. A successful COO will usually have these prerequisite skills:

  • Exceptional track record of leadership
  • Superior project management skills
  • Resourceful and analytical with exceptional communication skills
  • Understanding of all facets of business 
  • Outstanding public speaking and interpersonal skills
  • Knowledge of IT/business infrastructure 
  • Aptitude in problem-solving and decision-making
  • Understanding of analytics and performance metrics

COO Chief Operating Officer salary expectations

The average salary for a Chief Operating Officer is $119,545 per year. The salary of the Chief Operating Officer varies with the responsibilities and size of your business. Typically, they will be offered a full benefits package and in some cases extra compensation through stock options, relocation assistance and retirement plans. They also average an additional $25,000 per year through profit sharing.

COO Chief Operating Officer education and training requirements

Most businesses require at least a bachelor’s degree or 10 years of experience for the Chief Operating Officer position. Some smaller companies are looking for as little as 3 years in a compatible leadership position. Various companies also require a master’s degree in business or a specific field relating to the hiring company.

COO Chief Operating Officer experience requirements

The average experience requirements for a Chief Operating Officer is 2 to 7 years at the executive level of another company with a proven track record of success. The majority of companies are looking for a highly qualified candidate who has specific job experience in the same type of business they are hiring for.  

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Frequently asked questions about COOs


What is the difference between a COO and a Operations Manager?

COOs have the most authority out of any administrative professional at their company. COOs oversee Operations Managers and delegate tasks to them, which the Operations Managers then implement. COOs are mainly involved with creating overall strategy, developing budgets and setting expectations for their team, while Operations Managers work hands-on to ensure functions are completed appropriately. COOs work with all aspects of a company’s logistics and operations, while Operations Managers may specialize in a particular part of the company’s production process and oversee the administration of a single department.


What are the traits of a good COO?

Good COOs are experienced business professionals who enjoy using logic and analysis to solve problems. Because COOs collaborate closely with other members of the executive team and contribute to a company’s overall vision, they should be well-versed in all areas of business. Successful COOs are excellent communicators and can remain positive and calm in stressful situations. COOs regularly work with company business partners to negotiate contracts related to company operations, so they should be able to use interpersonal skills to form genuine connections and lasting business relationships. Good COOs are cautious and naturally assess the risks associated with any decision.


Do COOs have different responsibilities in different industries?

COOs generally have the same role regardless of their company’s industry, although they may need different experience and industry backgrounds depending on their field. COOs are experts in how their specific type of company operates and may use different supply strategies or company organizational structures depending on the business’s purpose. Regardless of the precise operations of their employer, all COOs assess the efficiency of their company and work to improve the way their staff works together to achieve a common goal according to a timeline.


What are the daily duties of a COO?

On a typical day, COOs may attend meetings in an office environment or visit company warehouses and manufacturing centers to work hands-on with administrators to review and implement new procedures. They meet with clients and suppliers to renew contracts, confirm changes or research new methods of accomplishing company goals. COOs regularly meet with other executives to align company behaviors with their values and mission statement.

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