Chief Operating Officer (COO): Definition, Duties and Responsibilities, and Qualifications

Chief Operating Officer (COO)   – In the world of work or business, of course you often hear what is called a C-Level. C-Level is known as the term for the highest leaders in the corporate world. One of the most well-known positions in the C-Level category is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) as a position that has responsibility or power regarding the highest decisions.

However, it turns out that not only CEOs are included in the C-Level ranks . There are several other positions, such as Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), and of course Chief Operating Officer (COO).

In this article, we will review what a Chief Operating Officer is , or many people are familiar with the acronym COO. Let’s look at a complete review of the discussion about COO, starting from what and how the role of COO is in a company.

Definition of COO

In his brief note on business leaders , Andrew Blumenthal said that the Chief Operating Officer is a senior executive whose job is to supervise the daily administrative and operational functions of a company’s business. Furthermore, the duties of the COO will be reported directly to the CEO as the highest position holder in the company’s business.

Therefore, the COO position is often referred to as the second highest position in a company, after a CEO. For some companies, the COO is also known as the executive vice president for operations. More simply, the COO is the operational director within the company.

COO Duties and Responsibilities

In accordance with what has been explained previously, a person who holds the position of COO is responsible for the administrative and operational functions of the company. In general, some of the COO’s duties are to focus on implementing the company’s business plan according to a predetermined business model. Of course, this task is very different from that of a CEO, which focuses more on long-term goals and the view of the company as a whole.

In short, the COO has the duty to implement various business plans that have been prepared by the CEO. For example, when a company experiences a decline in sales, the CEO will most likely ask for increased production quality control and so on. Of course, this order must be carried out directly by the COO who will convey the chain of instructions to the human resources department, one of which is managing personnel in the quality control division.

The COO position itself is perfect for those of you who have quality and extensive work experience and have previously served as a C-Level . Many companies urgently need someone experienced for this chief executive position. Therefore, many vacancies have been opened for operational directors in this company.

In addition, other examples of COO duties can be seen when business products on the market have been copied a lot or many competing products are almost the same. The CEO as the highest office holder is likely to ask for a certain strategy. This strategy will then be conveyed to the COO so that it can be implemented through strengthening the research and development division, so as to produce products with new variants.

In a company, the COO is usually responsible for various things that are in the operational realm of the company. Someone who holds the position of COO will monitor how the strategy comes from the CEO as well as oversee the implementation of the company’s strategy or operational development, starting from the development, production, to pre-marketing stages.

The difference between COO and CEO, CFO, and CMO

Even though they look equal, each position or position held by these C-Levels has its own level or level. These levels are of course adjusted to the responsibilities and roles in a company.

This can be seen from the strata of instructions or assignments for each position from CEO to CMO. However, in general the CEO is the highest leader in the company, while the COO, CFO, and CMO are under his responsibility.


  1. Holds the position of head of the company’s operations.
  2. Responsible for supervising and making decisions related to the company’s operations.
  3. Has responsibility for solving company problems through the operational realm (communication, collaboration, improvisation, recruitment, operational analysis, and strategy implementation).
  4. Occupies the number two position as the primary senior vice president within the company.
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  1. Holds the position of the highest management of the company.
  2. In charge of making decisions and the general strategy of the company.
  3. Have general responsibility within the company, both the strengths and weaknesses of the company.
  4. Occupying the main position as president/main director of a company.


  1. Holds the position of head of company finance.
  2. Responsible for overseeing planning and all financial administration of the company.
  3. Have responsibility for the finance and accounting functions within the company, supervise staff related to finance, and understand the applicable tax regulations.
  4. Holds the position of senior vice president in the company (financial affairs).


  1. Served as the company’s marketing leader.
  2. Responsible for overseeing the planning to the marketing process of the company’s products.
  3. Has responsibility for market analysis, marketing process, and marketing strategy collaboration with operational leadership.
  4. Have the ability to understand market opportunities and potential, as well as existing risks.
  5. Holds the position of senior vice president within the company (marketing affairs).

7 Key qualifications to be a COO

As the second highest position in the company after the CEO, Chief Operating Officer is considered a position that is high enough to be achieved by someone in the world of work or company. A person to achieve this position is known to have high competitiveness and qualified capacity in his professional career.

According to the Harvard Business Review and career advice from Seek Australia, there are 7 main qualifications that must be possessed by a person to become a Chief Operating Officer (COO) in a company. Some of them are as follows:

1. Have a Relevant Academic Degree

The first qualification, of course, is a relevant or appropriate academic degree, so that it can form the basis of a COO’s qualification. Although not everyone in the COO position has a relevant academic degree. It’s just that, for those of you who have dreams of becoming a COO, it is highly recommended to have a qualified educational base.

Relevant academic degrees are meant not only those related to business economics or the Master of Business Administration (MBA). Several other degrees are also required, provided that they have a high degree of relevance to the company’s operations.

For example, the highest leadership in a pharmaceutical business or hospital. The required degree usually has something to do with medicine or hospital management. A relevant degree will greatly support a COO to be able to better understand every complexity that occurs in his work.

Not only that, higher and relevant education can also help a COO in implementing or implementing various companies easily and precisely. As a position that is responsible for all forms of implementation, COO means that one must be willing and able to take various risks related to the company’s operations. In addition, the implementation of the strategy is part of the steps in maintaining the quality of the company’s own business.

2. Has extensive work experience and is able to become an agent of change

In accordance with a wise sentence, “the best teacher is experience”. As someone who occupies the second highest position in the company, COO of course must have extensive work experience. Not only that, this extensive work experience must also be balanced with qualified abilities and capacities. Extensive work experience and qualified capacity is proof that someone can make a significant contribution to the company.

The time it takes for a person to reach the COO level is usually 10 years working in an equivalent position below. Not only that, the relevance of the work done over a period of 10 years can make the experience of a prospective COO more complete and solid.

3. Able to Become a Mentor or Have Leadership Spirit

As written above, a COO is required to have extensive work experience. This ability is a benchmark that a COO must have when occupying a C-Level in a company. In addition, a COO is usually also needed to mentor young CEOs or even a company founder who is not very experienced.

As a mentor or mentor, a COO can be said to have a responsibility to be an elegant character and not be closed off to others. Even though he has the task of being a mentor, that doesn’t mean that the COO is free to do whatever he wants with his subordinates. This step is usually used by several CEOs of a new company to gain experience through a COO from an industry or similar business.

4. Balancing and Complementing the CEO Experience

It is common that one of the reasons companies bring in a senior COO is not only to mentor, but also as a counterweight to the CEO. This balancing function itself can also be said to complement the experience of a CEO in the company.

CEOs usually need a COO with this qualification so that it doesn’t seem like they are walking alone or get a quieter co-worker, so that they can be a balancer in various decisions or activities.

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The Harvard Business Review states that various large companies in the world, let’s say Microsoft, also need a COO with such qualifications. Bill Gates once had two COOs that he needed to balance him.

The two people are Jon Shirley and Michael Hallman to balance himself. Some say that Shirley and Hallman are a counterweight and a “quiet” side for Bill Gates. In the case of this company, a COO wasn’t primarily geared toward the CEO position.

5. Able to Become a Discussion Partner for the CEO

In a company, the CEO can be likened to a brain or center that exercises control. As someone who holds the highest position, the CEO still needs a discussion partner or interlocutor for strategic issues and problem solving. Hierarchically, one of the positions that must be a discussion partner in solving various operational problems of the company is COO.

Therefore, a COO must also be qualified as a partner for the CEO. In this case the COO is required to be able to provide feedback to the CEO for all his thoughts regarding the company, both practical and psychological. This is because being a CEO is a big responsibility that is very risky. The COO role is needed to minimize risk by opening discussions, both formally and informally to develop the company.

6. Able to Become a “Heir”

It’s no wonder that COO is often referred to as the second position in a company, after the CEO. One of the most onerous responsibilities of qualifying to be a COO is being the “Heir”. The meaning of “Heir” itself is that the COO must be prepared to “inherit” the company if a CEO so wishes.

The COO role, which ranks second in the company hierarchy, has the potential for this kind of inheritance. For a COO, becoming the “Heir” of the CEO is the final stage of promotion.

Although it appears that there is enormous potential for a COO to rise to become CEO. However, the COO also of course has to be prepared for the big risks that are waiting ahead. Some of the things needed to deal with this, of course, are self-preparedness, both mentally and physically.

Being a CEO can be sure to take a lot of thought and time, as well as the way CEOs solve problems or create strategies that are also tiring. Therefore, one of the things that a COO needs to learn and prepare for when he gets a promotion is being able to solve problems and create strategies.

7. Has Great Potential

The great potential of a COO is expected to be a personal selling point for the company. The last qualification that needs to be possessed to become a COO is great potential. A COO is expected to have great potential so that it can become a personal selling point for the company. Some observers believe that a COO candidate must have the best potential and be too valuable to waste.

So, it’s not surprising that some companies give promotions to someone with extensive experience and who is already in the top senior management ranks and performs very well.

Someone who has high bargaining power and selling points is usually an employee at a senior level and has proven to be very familiar with the ins and outs of the company. Plus, the company will think hundreds of times to release someone with great potential and qualified from the company. With the release of someone with such great potential, there will be great potential to become a competitor.

This is of course highly avoided, one of which is by giving promotions to these senior employees, so that they sit in the COO position. The appointment of high-performing senior employees as COO will certainly make the company’s future more secure and CEOs don’t need to be confused about getting balanced co-workers.


If you listen to the reviews above, the COO position can be said to be an achievement that should be pursued by an employee with extensive experience in the company. Even though it takes experience and high flying hours, one’s capacity is able to go further than time. This makes this position can also be achieved by someone who is still young though.

Therefore, for Sinaumed’s who has a dream to lead a company. For young people, of course you have to be optimistic to achieve C-Level in a company. You can develop capacity and quality as well as gain experience.

This will really help you in mastering the operational sector within the company. Great potential and qualified quality will eventually lead you to sit in COO positions.

Thus a complete discussion of the Chief Operating Officer , starting from the definition, duties, types, to their qualifications. For Sinaumed’s who want to know more deeply about the world of work or companies, they can read related books by visiting .

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Author: Human

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