What Does an Operations Executive Do?

An operations executive oversees day-to-day business at a company.
An operations executive must be able to make quick decisions.
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  • Written By: Arwen Taylor
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 30 March 2014
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An operations executive, also known as the chief operating officer or chief operations officer, is an executive-level position within an organization who is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the company. These executives report to the chief executive officer (CEO) and might have junior executives that handle some of the job duties. They are usually responsible for creating policies and procedures that help the company function optimally.

This job is a somewhat fluid position, the duties of which differ from industry to industry and even from company to company. There is only one per company, but not every company has one. In some businesses, the operations executive is groomed to take over the position of the chief executive officer if the CEO retires, is terminated or leaves the company.

The general focus of the job is to develop and manage systems and resources within the company that help the business achieve its stated goals. For example, the human resources department generally falls under the operations executive's purview. A few of this person's responsibilities include maintaining proper staffing levels and ensuring that positions are filled with qualified personnel.


Operations executives are found in businesses of all sizes and in both the public and private sectors. It is an office job that might require extensive travel, depending on the position's specific job duties within the company. This is especially true for an executive whose company has offices in multiple locations. Although he or she often has a flexible schedules, the job might require him or her to work long hours and pull weekend duty.

Like the other executive officers, this employee might be put under tremendous pressure to ensure that the company succeeds in achieving its goals. The most common traits held by people in this position include the ability to communicate effectively, analyze large amounts of data and exhibit sound business judgment. People in this position also need the ability to lead others, must be self-motivated and need to be able to make quick decisions.


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