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Chief Operating Officer

Position Overview

Chief operating officers, also known as COOs, oversee a company's operations to ensure all processes are efficient and follow the objectives set out by the corporation. They should be focused on 'big picture' business strategies and develop policies that promote a positive company culture. They work with other executives and watch over all departments of the company, including sales, marketing, HR, finance, supply chain, and IT. The COO is a critical part to a company's senior management team and only reports to the chief executive officer. COO's should be an expert in the industry of relevance and should be knowledgeable regarding effective operations. Additionally, as second-in-command, the COO should be an exceptional leader who is open to change and stays current on market and industry trends. It is their job to ensure the business can experience sustainable growth while still maintaining quality. Their exact roles can vary, depending on the size of the organization.

Chief Operating Officer Duties

  • Develop and implement effective business strategies
  • Set ambitious goals for company growth
  • Encourage and promote positive company culture
  • Watch over the company's daily operations in all departments
  • Be an effective leader to promote strong performance
  • Work with the CEO on other important business strategies, such as fundraising projects, investments, and acquisitions
  • Create reports for review by the CEO
  • Manage effective and professional relationships with business partners and suppliers
  • Oversee the implementation of various department activities, such as marketing programs

Typical Employers

  • Research firms
  • Construction companies
  • Manufacturing companies
  • Food production companies
  • Agrochemical companies
  • Agriculture equipment manufacturers
  • Pharmaceutical companies
  • Financial providers / banking
  • Tech companies

Required Education and Training

Chief operating officers should have at minimum a bachelor's degree in business administration, or something in the commerce field; a master's degree would be beneficial. If they wish to work for an agriculture company, COO's should have at least five years of experience working in a leadership position within the industry.

Key Skills and Qualities

  • Proven leadership experience that has produced positive change
  • Understanding of key functions in all business departments, such as HR, IT, marketing, etc.
  • Working knowledge of operation metrics
  • Ability to analyze large amounts of data / market information
  • Highly organised
  • Excellent at presenting and public speaking
  • Exceptional decision-making skills
  • Ability to problem solve effectively
  • Great at multitasking

Average Salary

On average, a COO in the United Kingdom makes £83,000. This can vary greatly, depending on the size of the company, the industry, and individual experience level. Some COO's make as low as £42,000 and others can make as high as £140,000.