The COO, or Chief Operating Officer, of a company is the person who ensures the organisation functions as it should. They are responsible for planning business strategies to help the company run as smoothly as possible.

Of course, every member of staff should be involved in this process to some degree. But the COO is the main executive responsible for daily organisational processes. They must maintain a clear, cohesive infrastructure for governance.

The COO typically reports directly to the CEO. As they are generally the second-highest executive position in the company, they have a broad range of high-level duties that must be upheld. We’ve put together some of the key responsibilities a COO must be prepared to take on.

What Are The Responsibilities of the COO?

The responsibilities of the COO will vary depending on the organisation but they centre around managing internal processes. The COO must be a skilled manager and able to handle various aspects of day-to-day operations. As a key part of senior management, their grasp of daily operational processes must be clear and comprehensive.

The role of the COO includes strategic planning. Working with the CEO and other members of the C-Suite, they will develop policies that match the vision of the Board. This means they must have a broad view of the company and the direction it should be moving in. Where the Board sets out general policies and goals, the COO builds them into the company.

They are then responsible for the long-term implementation of these policies. This involves working with members of staff at various levels of the organisation to set reasonable targets and ensure these are met. Throughout this journey, they will analyse employee performance across different projects and departments. They must ensure standards are being met in real time.

What Is The Difference Between the COO and CEO?

The roles of the COO and CEO are quite similar but have some clear differences. Depending on the organisation, the COO may go by other names, such as ‘Vice President of Operations’. This is a useful way of seeing the difference between CEO and COO.

While the COO holds many varied responsibilities, they are always second-in-command to the CEO. In fact, the COO is often seen as the heir apparent of the organisation.

In contrast to the CEO, the COO also often takes a more practical role in implementation. They may take the CEO’s strategic ideas and make sure the right departments are informed.

The exact divide between these roles varies between organisations. For example, in some companies, the CEO takes on the majority of external decisions while the COO is more focused on internal procedures. It all depends on the organisational structure and the vision of the Board.

In both roles, there is a need for strong leadership skills including but not limited to creativity, communication, delegation, flexibility and project management. They need to be able to work well with employees while always considering the bigger picture.

What Makes a Good COO?

As part of the senior executive team, the role of the Chief Operating Officer requires all the essential skills of a strong manager. They should be able to lead and inspire employees with confidence. This means leading by example to create a great company culture and efficient company processes.

It’s important there is a strong relationship between COO and CEO. In the best cases, the skill set of the COO will perfectly complement that of the CEO. A COO who has a lot of experience in Finance will be more beneficial for a CEO with a background in Marketing. When the two figures work seamlessly together, the whole organisation will benefit.

As a result, the nature of a good COO will depend on how their company operates. Every Board has their own priorities and plans and so there are many different types of COO.

Above all, the COO should always ensure good communication with those above and below them. From the Chairman to the newest employee, they must be able to convey their ideas. The COO has to translate complex organisational ideas into understandable information. When they are clear on the expectations of the company, they will be able to transform these goals into a reality.

How Can Convene Help Your COO?

Convene is an award-winning Board Portal, designed to digitise and streamline your meeting processes from start-to-finish. A COO requires a software infrastructure that facilitates clear, efficient communication throughout the organisation. Convene was conceived to make fluent collaboration a reality in business.

Now available fully integrated Microsoft Teams, our comprehensive software has numerous features to ensure efficient collaboration before, during and after meetings. These include, but are not limited to:

  • A Document Library with role-based access to ensure your sensitive documents are protected.
  • A built-in Audit Trail so you can be sure you are compliant with all regulations.
  • Integrated Video Conferencing so you can make the switch from remote to hybrid working seamlessly, whilst still viewing your Board Pack all on one screen.
  • Surveys, with the option for anonymity, so you can be sure you are aware of your employees' opinions.
  • Accessibility Features, including text-to-voice, which makes us the leading accessible Board Portal.
  • Fully GDPR-compliant security measures with AES 256-bit encryption and CMMI Level-5 accreditation. With Convene, confidential governance documents are protected to the highest level.

If you’d like to learn more about how Convene can help your organisation achieve better governance, please don’t hesitate to book a demo today!


Lucy Palmer

Written by Lucy Palmer

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