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Chief Operating Officer vs. President: What Are the Differences?

Learn about the two careers and review some of the similarities and differences between them.

The roles of president and chief operating officer are both important in a company, but they have different responsibilities. A president is typically the public face of the organization and is responsible for setting strategy, while a chief operating officer is responsible for executing the president’s vision and ensuring the day-to-day operations of the company run smoothly. In this article, we compare and contrast the job titles of president and chief operating officer, and we provide information on what you can do to pursue each role.

What is a Chief Operating Officer?

A Chief Operating Officer is responsible for the day-to-day operations of a company. They work with the CEO to develop long-term plans and objectives for the company and then create strategies to ensure that these goals are met. The COO oversees all departments and ensures that they are running smoothly and efficiently. They are also responsible for developing and implementing policies and procedures to help the company run more effectively. The COO typically has a deep understanding of the company’s products, services and industry and uses this knowledge to make decisions that will help the company grow and succeed.

What is a President?

The President is the head of state and the head of government for the United States of America. The President is responsible for carrying out the laws of the country and for leading the executive branch of the federal government. The President is also the commander-in-chief of the country’s armed forces. The President is elected to a four-year term by the people of the United States and can be elected to a maximum of two terms. The President’s duties include giving State of the Union speeches, signing executive orders and treaties into law, and pardoning criminals.

Chief Operating Officer vs. President

Here are the main differences between a chief operating officer and a president.

Job Duties

A chief operating officer oversees the daily operations of a company, while a president directs the strategic direction. This means that a chief operating officer focuses on how a company operates day to day, including things like production, sales and customer service. A president, however, has more of a high-level perspective, focusing on the direction of the company’s strategy, growth plans and major decisions that affect the overall direction of the business.

Another way to think about the job duties of a chief operating officer and a president is that the COO performs tasks within the company, while the president manages the employees who perform those tasks. For example, a chief operating officer might be responsible for hiring a new CEO for a company. The president would oversee the process of finding a new CEO and make sure the candidate is a good fit for the position, but they wouldn’t actually conduct interviews or make offers themselves.

Job Requirements

The job requirements for a chief operating officer (COO) and president are similar in that both positions typically require extensive experience in the business world. Many COOs and presidents have worked their way up through the ranks of their respective organizations, starting out in entry-level or mid-level management positions. In addition to experience, most COOs and presidents hold at least a bachelor’s degree in business administration or another related field. Some also hold a master’s degree, such as an MBA.

Work Environment

Chief operating officers and presidents typically work in different environments. Presidents often work in an office, but they may also travel to visit employees or clients. Chief operating officers usually work in an office environment, but they may also travel to visit facilities or vendors.

Chief operating officers and presidents can both work long hours, depending on the needs of their companies. They may have irregular schedules that include nights and weekends.


Both the chief operating officer and president of a company are responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of the business. This includes making sure that all departments are functioning properly and meeting their goals.

The chief operating officer is typically responsible for managing the company’s finances, human resources, and other operational aspects. They work closely with the CEO to ensure that the company is running smoothly and efficiently. The president, on the other hand, is usually responsible for setting the company’s overall strategy and direction. They also often have a more public-facing role than the COO and may be responsible for representing the company to shareholders, the media, and other external groups.

Both the COO and president need to have strong leadership skills in order to be successful in their roles. They must be able to motivate and inspire employees to do their best work. They also need to be good at problem-solving and decision-making in order to handle the challenges that come up on a daily basis. Excellent communication skills are also essential in both positions, as they need to be able to clearly articulate the company’s vision and goals to employees, shareholders, and other stakeholders.


The average salary for a chief operating officer is $209,783 per year, while the average salary for a president is $133,848 per year. The salary for both positions can vary depending on the size of the company, the industry in which the company operates and the level of experience the individual has in the position.


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