Difference Between CEO and COO

CEO stands for Chief Executive Officer, while COO stands for Chief Operating Officer.


Business Quiz

Test your knowledge about topics related to business

1 / 10

If a general manager asks the sales manager to recruit some salesman on his behalf, it is an instance of ___________.

2 / 10

Shares traded through stock exchanges are called __________.

3 / 10

Cash flow is:

4 / 10

In case of death or insolvency of a partner the firm is?

5 / 10

Business-to-consumer (B2C) is also known as

6 / 10

In order to gain a competitive edge on the competition, some companies focus on:

7 / 10

Whose Liability is limited to the extent of his capital to the firm?

8 / 10

A building jointly owned is called office________.

9 / 10

The return of shares to the company is known as ___________.

10 / 10

Non-economic activities aim at __________.

Your score is


Key Takeaways

  1. The CEO is the highest-ranking executive, responsible for overall strategic direction, while the COO oversees day-to-day operations and implements the CEO’s vision.
  2. The CEO reports directly to the board of directors and represents the company externally, while the COO reports to the CEO and focuses on internal processes.
  3. The CEO’s role is more visionary and long-term, while the COO’s is tactical and focused on achieving operational efficiency.


The CEO (Chief Executive Officer) is the highest-ranking executive in a company and is responsible for setting the strategy and direction of the organization. The COO (Chief Operating Officer) is responsible for the company’s day-to-day operations and ensures the CEO’s plans are executed effectively.


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Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonCEOCOO
Commanding positionTop of all the employees of the companySecond in the chain of command
Answerable toChairman, if the CEO is an appointed oneAnswerable to CEO
Faces of the companyThe public face of the companyThe front of the company handles internal affairs.
Main responsibilitiesDevise a plan and strategy for the growth of the companyImplement the plan and techniques devised by the CEO
Presence in companyAlways mandatoryOnly present when there is a need for that position in a large-scale company.
Determining factors forSuccess and failure of the companyThe smooth functioning of the company


Who is CEO?

CEO, Chief Executive Officer, is the ship’s captain, who may be the person who founded the company or maybe appointed by the founder/ chairperson.

S/he is the person responsible for the success or failure of the company.

There are uncountable responsibilities for a CEO.

S/he is the person who has a vision for the company and devises plans, strategies, and working flow for a company in all the aspects possible.

S/He is the face of the company when it comes to public attention.

He is the topmost executive personnel in a company and the prime decision-maker, though s/he will get suggestions from the Board.

The CEO is the person responsible for signing a company’s annual reports in all aspects.

The refined responsibilities of a CEO in a reputed company are,

  1. Making up of strategies for short-term as well as long-term growth of the company.
  2. Act as a communication bridge between the company’s working resources and the investors, founders, government, and the public.
  3. Evaluating the pits into which the company may get stuck and ensuring that the company is prepared for that.
  4. Regular evaluation of the work quality fetched by the other executive officers.

There may sometimes arise a situation where the CEO is an appointed one. In such cases, the CEO is answerable to either the Board of Directors or the chairperson.


Who is COO?

The COO, Chief Operating Officer, is the second person in the hierarchy of command when it comes to well-established and large-cap companies.

A COO usually will be a person who compliments the CEO and has the qualification to sit on the chair of the CEO.

The COO is responsible for the proper functioning of various sectors of the company. He should report to the CEO about the day-to-day operational and administrative process that takes place each passing day, building the stepping stones for the company toward a long-term goal.

Chief Operating Officer often comes from the last level of employee, climbing the ladder of the hierarchy of the company, gaining experience from a variety of sectors inside the company, which will aid them in maintaining a smooth workflow of the company when s/he sits on the COO chair.

So, the COO will have more extended work experience in the sector of industries in which the company falls.

The primary responsibilities of a COO in a company are,

  1. Evaluating and organizing all the operative and administrative functions inside the company.
  2. Regulating all the internal affairs in a company, whatever they may be in whatever sector.
  3. We are implementing the vision, strategy, and goals of the CEO.

Main Differences Between CEO and COO

  1. CEO is the first in the commanding hierarchy. The COO is answerable to the CEO
  2. CEO is responsible for the success or failure of the company. The COO is responsible for the smooth functioning of the company process.
  3. CEO is present in all companies and is a mandatory role. The COO is only appointed when the company is large enough to undergo a complex process for growth.
  4. CEO responsibilities mainly involve serving as a bridge between the company and the public/investors/founders. The COO’s responsibilities involve serving as a connection between the company employees and the CEO.
  5. CEO is answerable only to the chairperson or Board of directors. The COO is answerable to the CEO.
  6. The CEO is responsible for devising a company’s goals, strategy, and plans. The COO is responsible for the proper execution of the plans and strategies devised by the CEO.
Difference Between CEO and COO
  1. https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2008-12235-016
  2. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/smj.4250120206
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