According to abbreviationfinder, the chief executive officer (CEO) is the executive manager of a company. In larger organizations, he is also called the board of directors, general manager or president. The Chief Operating Officer (COO), on the other hand, is the doer who is supposed to get the ideas on the road.
The title “Chief Operating Office” (COO) is currently also very popular outside of Anglo-Saxon countries. Because more and more companies are looking for someone who is responsible for taking greater care of internal tasks and processes.
In Anglo-Saxon countries, “C-Suite” refers to the top hierarchy level of a company. The “C” stands for “Chief” and refers to international job descriptions for managers. In this context, the so-called chief executive officer (CEO) is best known.
He can be compared to the German managing director and holds the highest position in the company. All other “chiefs” such as the Chief Financial Officer (CFO), who is responsible for finance, or the Chief Operating Officer (COO), who is responsible for day-to-day business, report to him.
Depending on the desired organizational chart, a separate “chief” can in principle be used for each division. For example, this could be the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) or the Chief Information Officer (CIO) for the strategic and operational management of IT.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
While in Anglo-Saxon countries a CEO is considered a legal term, in countries such as Germany it is just an addendum to a job description. In large listed group structures in Germany, the CEO corresponds to the chairman of the board, whereas in smaller German companies a CEO would correspond to a head of the company. The term CEO is often added to a CEO so that the position is easier to classify internationally.
As a rule, the CEO takes the highest decision-making authority at management level, positions the company on the market in the long term and makes important decisions. Although the function designation is often used internationally, the interpretation sometimes varies from country to country. In some countries, for example, the CEOs are not at the top but at a lower hierarchical level.
In the British sense, the CEO would be a managing director, which in the US would be a subordinate position in middle management. Because in US companies, the first board member is often named a CEO, which corresponds to the German chairman of the board. Whereas in countries like Canada, the CEO forms part of the executive board level, but does not serve as the chair, but ranks alongside a chief financial officer on an equal footing.
Tasks of the CEO
In Germany, the CEO assumes all typical managing director functions. This means, for example, the company’s strategic direction, market positioning and the achievement of company goals.
The CEO is also responsible for company figures such as sales, profit and loss. CEOs are ideally characterized by a high sense of responsibility and the ability to make decisions and live with the consequences.
Chief Operation Officer (COO)
The chief operations officer is the pragmatist among managers and is responsible for over-the-counter business or all specific company processes. The Chief Operations Officer usually reports directly to the CEO.
In small and sometimes medium-sized companies, the CEO usually also assumes the functions of a COO, while in larger organizations it is no longer so easy to reconcile strategic and operational decisions and management tasks.
Tasks of the COO
The COO takes over the management of the operative business of a company. That means he is responsible for the quality and competitiveness of the products and services. He also coordinates the operational sub-areas of marketing and sales.
However, the COO does not have to make any strategic decisions about alignment and positioning, but rather ensures that all processes run smoothly and that day-to-day business runs smoothly. This requires a certain foresight for his daily decisions. He also acts as HR manager.