What is the difference between a CEO and a COO?

On Behalf of | Nov 24, 2021 | Business Formation |

Companies in New York have different business structures depending on size and other factors. You may have heard the terms CEO and COO and wondered whether your business structure needs to have one or both of these positions.

What is a CEO?

The chief executive officer, or CEO, of a company is the highest position. This is the person who makes all of the major decisions for the company and steers the company’s overall vision. If there is a board of directors, the CEO oversees meetings with the board as well as communications with stakeholders. Depending on the size of a company, the CEO may not be as involved in the day-to-day operations of the company as the COO is.

What is a COO?

The chief operating officer, or COO, is second in command and reports directly to the CEO. The COO is in charge of a company’s daily practical operations and is typically a person with a deep understanding of the field that the company is working in. The COO should be able to understand and implement the larger vision that the CEO has.

Can the two roles be combined?

During early business formation and planning, your company may not have both a CEO and a COO. These roles are often combined and simply called the president. The president of a company might also be the owner of the company.

Success, growth and change

As your business grows, your role as president may need to change. For example, if you’re taking on a lot of responsibility for day-to-day operations, it may be necessary to delegate those tasks to a COO and restructure your business model.