The CEO and COO are both essential for helping a company reach its objectives. The CEO is the highest-ranking official in an organization, while the COO is responsible for internal operations. The CEO is responsible for setting the company's vision, objectives, standards, and processes, while the COO is the director of operations who manages and directs the operational and administrative matters of the company. The COO usually reports directly to the CEO and is considered second in the chain of command.
As companies grow, the complexity of their departments increases, requiring an expert such as the COO to fill in any gaps. The COO implements processes that adapt to changing needs of the company. Both functions are important for achieving the company's long-term objectives and vision. The executive director or CEO is the top high-level executive that the members of the board of directors choose to manage all the activities of the company.
If the role of the CEO is largely focused on setting direction for the company, then the role of chief operating officer (COO) is a complementary function that focuses on how to get there. A chief operating officer (COO) is an executive member of a company who is tasked with managing the daily operations and administrative functions of the company.