Chief Operating Officer Vs. President

Learn about the educational requirements, yearly earnings, professional responsibilities and employment prospects of chief operating officers and presidents.

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Comparing Chief Operating Officers to Presidents

These executives find ways to bring more money into the organization, whether through more efficient procedures or through new partnerships. Readers will learn about the education, salaries, career outlooks, and duties of these professionals.

Job Title Educational Requirements Median Salary (2017)* Job Growth (2016-2026)**
Chief Operating Officers Bachelor's Degree $137,792 -3% (Chief Executives)
Presidents Bachelor's Degree $148,571 8% (Top Executives)

Sources: *PayScale, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Responsibilities of Chief Operating Officers vs. Presidents

Chief operating officers and presidents are both responsible for keeping a company moving forward by being innovative in their business strategies. The former focuses more on the operations of a company, including designing new marketing techniques. The latter, however, is tasked with solidifying the culture and values of the overall company. Both of these professionals work primarily in an office setting, along with other executives and board members.

Chief Operating Officers

Working in production- and sales-focused industries, such as automotives and computers, chief operating officers often lead the development, production, marketing, and sales departments. They keep these operations running efficiently and ensure they meet the production and sales goals of the company. In fact, new chief executive officers can benefit from the holistic view chief operating officers bring to the company. During business overhauls or expansions, these professionals put new procedures in place that will add to the operational infrastructure, including adding new workers and replacing machines. They also create ways for managers to assess their employees.

Job responsibilities of a chief operating officer include:

  • Reporting on the production and efficiency of the company's operations
  • Hiring new executives to the operations team
  • Meeting with clients and partners to build relationships
  • Working to help develop a new company's business strategy


A business's president works with the board of directors and may serve as a member of the board. They create a cohesive vision for the future of the company and develop strategies to meet the goals. Deciding how the company will function financially is another task for the president, as they will dictate the products and services the company offers. They may also design a company's programs that are meant to drive fiscal growth and meet with shareholders to ensure the company is being pushed in a direction that will end in a return on their capital.

Job responsibilities of a president include:

  • Completing a risk assessment on all new programs and projects the company will undertake
  • Informing department heads on how to best utilize their budgets
  • Planning professional development classes for employees
  • Analyzing budgets spending to find trends

Related Careers

If a career as a chief operating officer interests you, perhaps a job as a human resource manager could be for you, as both deal with finding the best employees. On the other hand, if a position as a president is more interesting, a future as a financial manager could be for you, since both track the spending of a company.

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