Chief Operating Officer (COO): Definition, Duties & Job Description

coo job description
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Your CEO is the head coach, and the COO is the captain—this is a fantastic way to comprehend the Chief Operating Officer’s position and job description.

A COO, often known as a Chief Operations Officer or Vice President, is a senior executive who reports to the CEO. Their principal tasks include overseeing the company’s daily operations, directing key initiatives, and putting company-wide strategies into action.

While the CEO develops long-term corporate plans, the Chief Operations Officer puts them into action. This article explains the COO responsibilities, job description, and anything else you need to know. Enjoy.

What is a Chief Operating Officer (COO)?

The chief operating officer (COO) is a senior executive in charge of a company’s day-to-day administrative and operational functions. The chief operating officer (COO) often reports directly to the CEO and is considered second in the chain of command.

In certain businesses, the COO is referred to as “executive vice president of operations,” “chief operations officer,” or “operations director.”

Types of COOs

Every business is unique and at a distinct stage of development. A startup firm’s needs will be significantly different from those of a company that has been in business for 100 years and has a large market share in its industry. The specific type of COO necessary to help the firm realise its goals will differ depending on the company, its demands, its cycle stage, and its unique qualities.

COOs are classified into seven types:

The executor is in charge of overseeing the implementation of senior management-created firm strategies and delivering results on a daily basis.

  • The change agent is the person in charge of spearheading new projects and maybe guiding specific firm turnarounds.
  • A mentor is someone who is recruited to advise younger or newer members of a company’s workforce, such as a young CEO.
  • The most valuable player (MVP), is elevated inside to prevent them from defecting to a competitor organisation.
  • The “other half,” who is brought in to supplement the CEO and often possesses the CEO’s opposing attributes and abilities.
  • The partner, who is brought in to co-lead as another version of the CEO
  • The heir apparent, who becomes COO to learn from the CEO in order to eventually take over as CEO.

What are the Duties of a COO?

Did you know that the average yearly compensation for a COO is £157,563? So, let’s have a look at the tasks they must complete in order to receive this salary.

The responsibilities of a Chief Operating Officer vary based on the industry, company operations, size, and business goals.

The following is a list of the essential responsibilities and obligations of the COO position:

#1. Day-to-day operations

Overseeing the organization’s day-to-day operations should be a fundamental component of every COO job description. This necessitates close collaboration with all departments, particularly the business development, human resources, sales and marketing, legal, and information technology teams.

The COO manages the entire business administration and oversees other senior executives such as the CFO, CMO, and HR Director.

The COO performs the following major duties as part of everyday operations:

  • Setting up the company’s recruitment standards 
  • Reviewing the marketing efforts and outputs 
  • Optimising business workflows for greater productivity
  • Performance and KPI management 

#2. Budgeting and financial planning

Unless a corporation employs a Chief Financial Officer, the COO is in charge of all financial matters. They conduct financial reviews and devise strategies to meet the company’s revenue targets.

When the CEO lacks financial skills, the COO assumes the job of interim CFO. This operations officer also investigates asset purchases and sales, industrial alliances, and investments.

#3. Administrative decisions

The COO collaborates with senior management and the board of directors to assess the company’s performance and make long-term plans. They examine each department to identify areas for improvement in order to boost production.

The COO is also in charge of forming alliances with key stakeholders. They communicate with clients, investors, and partners to bring them together and keep them informed about the company’s success while empathising with their concerns.

#4. Business-critical travel

There will be times when the COO must travel to represent the organisation. This might be for high-level corporate sales meetings, investor meetings, acquisition planning, or executive meetings if your company is multinational.

Any COO would benefit greatly from having access to TravelPerk.Your COO has complete control over their travel thanks to the user-friendly tool for arranging business trips. At the same time, if the team is travelling, they will have a bird’s-eye perspective of the rest of the team.

What is the Ideal Skillset of a COO?

Individuals in the COO job often have years of experience and a highly academically prepared skill set. However, there are few career paths that may prepare you specifically for this function.

If you want to be a Chief Operating Officer or are trying to employ one for your company, here is a list of abilities you should be aware of.

#1. Leadership skills

Despite being second-in-command, COOs oversee the majority of an organization’s processes. They communicate with the bulk of the workforce, provide guidance to all departments and their leaders, and plan how to optimise various workflows for cross-collaborative teams.

You’ll need someone with excellent leadership skills to take on these responsibilities. The candidate must have a distinct leadership style and grasp attributes such as empathy, teamwork, delegating, emotional intelligence, and influence.

#2. Management skills

A COO is in charge of everything, from people to projects. They must constantly stay one step ahead of the competition and plan for the future. Understanding organisational psychology and bringing forth the most in every person are therefore essential abilities for a COO.

COOs must be well-organized in their work because they have so much on their plates. The ideal candidate will be knowledgeable with project management, self-management, and management tools.

#3. Decision-making skills

Another important aspect of the Chief Operating Officer’s job is strategizing. They provide intelligence and assistance to the CEO while establishing future plans. As a result, critical problem-solving abilities, self-awareness, and an understanding of the implications of their decisions are essential.

COOs must develop decision-making skills in order to address any difficulty the organisation meets head on.

#4. Coordination and communication

The Chief Operating Officer’s responsibilities include delegating and managing. Communication is critical in this task.

The COO should have excellent communication skills in addition to good leadership abilities. They must reach an agreement, settle disagreements, bring people together, and foster teamwork.

In carrying out these obligations, the COO fosters company culture and supports team bonding and morale whether working remotely or in person.

#5. Business acumen

COOs are at the highest top of a company’s organisational hierarchy. They are in charge of moving the company ahead by leveraging their knowledge and expertise. As a result, business acumen is a key component of a COO’s skill set.

A Master of Business Administration (or comparable) degree can be used as a candidate assessment metric in this situation. Candidates with this qualification are frequently well-equipped with the necessary expertise to propel the firm forward.

Chief Operating Officer Education and Training Requirements

A Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration or other equivalent fields is the minimal academic requirement for Chief Operating Officers. Candidates who have completed an advanced apprenticeship in a relevant area can also work their way up to the post of Chief Operating Officer, however professional credentials may be required.

Some employers may demand a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree. The COO of a specialised industry, such as engineering or medicine, is often a professional Engineer or Physician who has risen through the corporate ranks. Professional certificates such as Project Management Professional (PMP) or Associate Chartered Accountant (ACA) are required by some firms for Chief Operating Officers.

How to Become a COO

The road to becoming a COO, like any other C-suite position, can be long. Learning on the workplace and in education can take several years. Others become COOs much faster, for example, by joining a startup or launching a business.

To advance your career as a chief operating officer, you will most likely concentrate on the following steps:

  • Get your diploma: A business bachelor’s or master’s degree will lay the groundwork for corporate strategy and operational management.
  • Gain diverse work experience: Companies that value employee growth and cross-functional experience are wonderful places to work for future COOs.2
  • Develop leadership experience: Developing your management skills is a fantastic way to prepare for running an organisation.
  • Create a network: Your first (or next) COO position could be the consequence of productive, respectful relationships developed both within and outside of your company.

Chief Operating Officer Job Description Example

Here is a related job description example if you are not looking to hire a Chief Operating Officer (COO):

About QuestDB

We have built the fastest open-source time series database from the ground up to offer breakthrough performance for real-time analytics using SQL. We bring experience and technical approaches from low-latency trading to leverage real-time data processing in various industries, such as financial services, IoT, application monitoring, and machine learning. We are an ambitious and growing organisation working within the fastest-developing database category, and we aim to become the market leader in this space.

We are a remote-first company based in London and backed by leading venture capital firms and Y Combinator.

The role

As a Chief Operating Officer, you will be a critical part of our growing company, ensuring operational excellence and driving growth and you will work closely with our CEO with a focus on the operations of our business strategy. While the CEO is engaged in long-term business goals, the COO is tasked with implementing day-to-day operations that align with those goals and corporate strategies.


  • Define and set-up the operation strategy, including long-term goals, in close collaboration with senior leadership and teams
  • Shape the financing strategy and provide valuable input on key business model questions
  • Own the overall responsibility for company operations, translating the company’s strategy and vision into comprehensive goals for performance and growth
  • Oversee daily operations and proactively mitigate business, governance and operational risks by interpreting data and metrics, as well as establishing policies that promote the company’s culture and vision.
  • Set-up KPIs to continuously monitor business performance and foster a customer-centric, data-driven culture, whilst identifying and targeting areas in which the business should improve
  • Build and lead a highly-performant, cross-functional operations team and cultivate an agile, one-team culture.
  • Own the operational budget, manage a sustainable and profitable financial strategy while growing the business and assist the CEO in fundraising ventures


  • 5+ years of work experience in a similar role
  • You have a track record of scaling product and engineering with VC funding and continued growth.
  • A deep awareness of the best technological approaches and methods and can adapt them to a strong growth strategy.
  • Valuing people more than processes
  • An entrepreneurial mindset and a hands-on way of working
  • Excellent skills at delivering state-of-the-art the business documents and presentations
  • Bonus if you have strong SQL skills and experience in data visualisation

What we offer

  • Wonderful, highly qualified colleagues and a friendly and agile environment
  • Freedom of choice for your technical equipment (Mac, Linux or Windows)
  • Equity options for employees
  • Flexible working hours
  • A supportive, collaborative and inclusive culture
  • Exciting opportunities for career progression as we grow

Job Type: Full-time

Salary: £90,000.00-£110,000.00 per year


  • Flexible schedule


  • Monday to Friday


Bachelor’s (preferred)


Operations management: 5 years (preferred)

Chief Operating Officer Salary

The average compensation for Chief Operating Officer applicants is £80,838 per year, according to Indeed Salaries. The real salary may vary according to the employer, work duties and responsibilities, location, credentials, experience, and industry.

What Is the Difference Between a CEO and COO?

A CEO is the highest-ranking employee in a firm, responsible for the firm’s long-term health and direction, whereas a COO is the second-highest figure in the firm, reporting to the CEO and in charge of the firm’s day-to-day operations.

What Does It Take To Be a COO?

COOs have a solid educational background as well as substantial job experience. A strong COO will have worked in a number of positions, preferably within a single organisation, to understand all of the many components of a business and how they interact. This enables them to identify specific problems and gaps inside the organisation. A COO must also have prior expertise managing people and teams. COOs should also be excellent communicators, effective leaders, and adaptable managers.

Is COO a Stressful Job?

It necessitates the capacity to deal with stress and pressure, the ability to navigate corporate politics, and the resilience to deal with ongoing unpredictability and change. Furthermore, effective COOs must be able to balance short-term demands with the company’s long-term strategy, which can be a difficult undertaking.

Is COO Higher Than CFO?

The COO reports directly to the CEO and works closely with them. The CEO hires them as well. The CFO is employed by the CEO and reports to them, as do the COO and other C-suite jobs.

The Bottom Line

A COO is the CEO’s right-hand man and the company’s second-in-command. The COO is in charge of a company’s day-to-day operations and assists the CEO with a number of activities. Although not all businesses require a COO, those that do frequently benefit from the specialised skill set that a COO provides to a company, such as strong analytical, organisational, and communication skills.


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