The Role of the COO

By Stephen Roussin

In corporations, the Chief Operations Officer, or COO, oversees the day-to-day functioning of a business—in other words, its operations. The COO typically reports to the Chief Executive Officer, or CEO, who is responsible for more strategic, big-picture decisions.

During the course of a workday, a COO might deal with matters relating to overseeing marketing and sales, expanding the company’s customer base, securing cost-effective raw materials, and managing the risk of internal operations. To ensure that everything runs smoothly, the COO interacts directly with department heads, providing them with guidelines and targets for achieving various goals.

The COO may also have to resolve conflicts among various department heads; the COO is generally charged with monitoring the productivity of every department, which may involve devising motivations and rewards for reaching goals within each department.

A COO shares insight about the state of the company’s operations with the CEO and the Chief Financial Officer (CFO). Together, these top-level leaders devise action plans and strategies for the company, which they may be required to present to the board of directors for approval.

About Stephen Roussin

Currently the President of Baltimore-based Campbell & Company, Stephen Roussin held the position of President and Chief Operations Officer of New York Life Investment Management LLC. In that role, Roussin more than doubled the firm’s net value, from $85 billion to $175 billion.

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