Interim Chief Operating Officer

The Role of an Interim COO: Adding Bandwidth to the Management Team for Operational Improvement

In today’s ever-changing business landscape, organisations often face turbulent times that demand a strategic and agile response. During such periods, an Interim Chief Operating Officer (COO) can provide additional bandwidth to the management team and support operational improvement initiatives. This web page explores the key responsibilities and benefits of hiring an Interim COO during turbulent times.

Understanding the Interim COO Role

An Interim COO is a seasoned executive brought into an organisation temporarily to assume leadership and management responsibilities typically handled by a permanent COO. They step in during transition, crisis, or when the company requires an extra hand to navigate turbulent waters. The primary focus of an Interim Chief Operating Officer is to streamline and enhance the operational aspects of the business.

During turbulent periods, an Interim COO can provide additional operational bandwidth to a CEO.

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Key Responsibilities of an Interim COO

Operational Assessment

  • Initial evaluation: Interim COOs begin by conducting a thorough analysis of the company’s operations, identifying areas needing improvement, cost-saving opportunities, and strategic realignment.

Strategic Planning

  • Short-term and long-term strategy: They work closely with the executive team to develop a clear and actionable strategic plan that addresses the company’s immediate challenges while aligning with its long-term goals.  

Team Management

  • Leadership and coordination: Interim COOs bring leadership and stability to the management team, ensuring effective coordination and communication during turbulent times.

Operational Optimisation

  • Efficiency enhancement: They implement operational changes and improvements, often streamlining processes, optimising resource allocation, and increasing efficiency.

Change Management

  • Managing transitions: Interim COOs facilitate the adoption of new strategies and operational practices, helping employees adapt to changes smoothly.

Crisis Management

  • Stability and resilience: During crises, Interim COOs provide a stabilising influence, ensuring that the organisation can weather the storm and come out stronger on the other side.

Benefits of Hiring an Interim COO

Hiring an Interim Chief Operating Officer during turbulent times offers several significant advantages:

Expertise and Experience

  • Immediate impact: Interim COOs are experienced professionals with a proven track record in managing and improving operations. They bring this expertise to your organisation, delivering quick and effective solutions.

Objective Perspective

  • Unbiased evaluation: As external hires, Interim COOs can objectively assess your organisation’s operations, unencumbered by internal politics or biases.

Cost Savings

  • Temporary commitment: Hiring an Interim COO is a cost-effective solution compared to the long-term employment of a permanent executive.


  • Tailored engagement: You can tailor the Interim COO’s engagement to meet your organisation’s specific needs, whether a short-term crisis or a more extended transitional period.

Knowledge Transfer

  • Skills transfer: Your existing team can benefit from the knowledge and best practices brought by the Interim COO, enhancing the skills and capabilities of your internal workforce.


  • Accountability: Interim COOs are often measured by the results they deliver, which ensures a focus on achieving tangible operational improvements.

Is an Interim COO Right for Your Organisation?

Hiring an Interim COO can be a strategic move if your organisation is facing turbulent times and you need additional leadership and operational expertise to weather the storm and emerge stronger. Their experience, objectivity, and results-driven approach can provide the necessary support to drive operational improvement initiatives and navigate challenging situations successfully.

Contact us to discuss how an Interim Chief Operating Officer could add valuable bandwidth to your management team and help your organisation thrive in turbulent times.

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I am a member of the Institute of Interim Management. To view my IIM profile, go here.