Is Operations Knowledge the Key to Becoming CEO?

For many companies, the chief operating officer (COO) is often considered to be the CEO-in-training. For example, prior to Tim Cook becoming the new CEO of Apple, he was the company’s chief operating officer. He oversaw the management of Apple’s supply chain from end-to-end. In August 2011, Clearwire, the high-speed Internet service provider, named COO Erik Prusch to the CEO position because of his experience with the day-to-day operations of the company. In a recent study, Accenture found that one in nine COOs succeed the CEO within a year.

So, why are COOs often tapped as successors?

Knowledge of a company’s operations brings a lot to the table. COOs, directors of operations and supply chain professionals all are responsible for managing a company’s productive resources. They seek to provide value to customers through high-quality, cost-efficient products and services. This value then translates into customer loyalty, customer satisfaction and increased profits. So, undergraduate and graduate students alike should continually seek a greater understanding of operations and supply chain management as they climb their way to the top.

To learn more, visit UST’s Operations and Supply Chain Management department.

Sheneeta White is an assistant professor in the Operations and Supply Chain Management Department