The title of COO emerged in the latter half of the 20th century. Quickly the office of COO became one of the three prestigious roles in the corporate world along with CEO and CFO. Initially, the role of COO was to take over and reduce the daily burden of tasks of the CEO. However, the role of COO was loosely defined from its beginning. The office was seen as the right hand of CEO and soon became a corporate chameleon.
The role of COOs varies significantly from one industry to another or even from one company to another making it difficult to define it precisely. However, the duties can be summarised under these dimensions-
The Executor: One of the roles the COO performs is to execute the strategies developed by the top management. The complexities in CEOs jobs today are handled by the COOs on a monthly or quarterly basis. Consequently, the role of COOs is indispensable in operation intensive industries like Aviation and Automobiles.
The Mentor: Some of the firms hire a COO to mentor young or inexperienced CEOs, mostly a founder. A flourishing entrepreneurial venture may look for an experienced industry veteran who can develop both business and the CEO.
The Other Half: Companies may bring in a COO a complement to the knowledge base, leadership style and experience of the CEO. Certain decisions might involve critical factors that a COO may well complement to the decision of the CEO.
The Heir: In most of the cases, the reason to bring a COO is to nurture and groom the future CEO. This allows the COO to get accustomed to the work environment, business and people of the firm.
In the recent past, many organizations have done away with the COOs. According to executive search firm Crist Kolder Associates, as of 2014, only 36 percent of Fortune 500 companies had a COO. This is likely because of the rise in the use of Information technology that has helped CEOs to look after the day to day operations more directly. So, they can handle most of the C-level operations without the requirement of COOs. It is becoming less common for the CEO and chairperson of the Board to be the same person. Hence, the split has increased the authority of CEOs. As executives can handle more operations, the organizations are getting flatter. Rigid hierarchical structures are moving out as leaders have realized the usefulness of collaborative approaches.
The role of COOs is evolving in the leadership team. These are few ways in which COOs may serve in coming decades:
Strategy Implementation: This is the job most firmly identified with conventional obligations. The top officials can concentrate their efforts on making the C-suite's methodologies a reality. This might be executing the CEO's drawn-out objectives, working with the CFO to discover very much adjusted acquisitions or a large group of other usage related employments.
Change Leadership: The only constant in the business world is change. Sometimes, an association will welcome a COO to deal with the authority about a specific vital move. In other cases, an association may need somebody in the job to deal with the ever-changing necessities of the association in a powerful world.
Experienced Mentorship: Developing pioneers is fundamental to the accomplishment of an association. The head working official can offer their experience and knowledge to help create more youthful pioneers.
Partner: Sometimes CEOs essentially need somebody to work with them to complete things, somebody to fill in as reinforcement or somebody to be a right-hand. This feature of the activity is the reason the top officials have regularly been viewed as the second-in-order in numerous associations.
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