What are the Primary Responsibilities of a COO?

A Chief Operating Officer (COO) is the corporate executive who oversees ongoing business operations within the company. The COO reports to the CEO and is usually second-in-command within the company. Alternative titles for the COO include Chief Operations Officer but may also include Operations Director and Director of Operations.

Duties include, but are not limited to of the COO:

The role of the Chief Operating Officer (COO) varies greatly from one industry to another and even from one company to another. The one constant is the Chief Operating Officer's close relationship with the CEO, who is often responsible for defining the role. Responsibilities often include:

  • Develop and set the overall strategy and direction alongside the Board of Directors
  • Plan and align the short, mid and long-term objectives to achieve the strategy
  • Overseeing day-to-day operations and keeping the CEO apprised of significant events.
  • Creating operations strategy and policies.
  • Set company-wide KPI’s to gauge company performance in all areas
  • Provide leadership to process improvements and corrective actions 
  • Communicating strategy and policy to all employees
  • Fostering employee alignment with corporate goals.
  • Succession planning for senior members of the company to ensure all departments are managed continuously.
  • Overseeing the Chief Human Resource Officer or Human Resource Management.

A Chief Operating Officer's success often hinges on his relationship with the CEO, Absolute trust between the two executives is vital; without that trust and respect, the relationship between the two chief executives can become dysfunctional.

The Chief Operating Officer’s role adds complexity to a company's reporting structure. As such, COOs tend to be employed by the largest companies essentially freeing up time for the CEO to focus efforts elsewhere. Smaller companies and start-ups the role of the COO is usually taken by the CFO.  

Background of the Chief Operating Officer

  • Bachelor's degree required, Master's degree in Business Administration often preferred and demonstrable background in exceeding expectations and achievements.
  • Proven experience as COO or in another Director / managerial position.
  • Experience in developing profitable strategies and implementing the vision.
  • Strong understanding of corporate finance and performance management principles
  • Familiarity with diverse business functions such as marketing, PR, finance etc.
  • In-depth knowledge of corporate governance and general management best practices.
  • An entrepreneurial mind-set with outstanding organisational and leadership skills.
  • Analytical abilities and problem-solving skills.
  • Target driven and results focused individual.
  • A natural leader and motivator of people.
  • Excellent communication skills, organisational skills, analytical skills and critical thinking abilities.

What are the salary expectations of a COO?

Average salaries for Chief Operating Officer would be between £100K-£200K however for many the salary range will be even higher depending on the company turnover.

Brief tips for writing a COO CV?

  • Include a profile in your CV which identifies your style of leadership and management to potential employers and highlights a particular area of success relevant to the new post e.g. A Visionary leader with a track record of increasing gross profit margins in engineering solutions 
  • Use Situation, Action and Result (SAR) to demonstrate achievements which had an impact on productivity and profitability in your last role.
  • Familiarise and integrate all the keywords for the role and sector which the business operates in.
  • Remember to include any associations you may have with professional bodies to improve the integrity of your application.


Sales Director

UK Executive Package + equity + LTIP + benefits Leadership

Director Of Mechanical Engineering

M4 Corridor Up to £150K Base + 20% bonus + pension Leadership, Engineering & Technology



If you would like to find out more about our current opportunities, click here!

Join Us


Register your CV to access the latest vacancies, job alerts and much more!

Register Now