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Chief Operations Officer (COO)

Oct 11, 2023

Last Updated

Organizational and “Meta” Roles


The role of COO is often a senior leadership position. The COO is responsible for overseeing all of the aspects of the organization’s work that aren’t research, including human resources, finance, development, communications, legal risk and compliance, etc. This role is a highly autonomous position. The individual regularly makes high-level decisions about the direction of the organization’s operations and projects, weighs in on key organizational strategic priorities, and helps shape the direction of the organization’s work.

Example tasks

  • Meet with and report to the CEO regularly.

  • Meet with external stakeholders and help scale up the organization’s operations.

  • Implement business operations and ensure that operating procedures are respected and documented.

  • Instaure project management tools and ensure their effective and consistent use by staff members.

  • Introduce new policies to improve company culture.

  • Perform annual performance evaluations of direct reports and assess performance evaluations of staff members.

  • Ensure that legal compliance procedures are sound for the organization and communicate with (external) legal counsel.

Why we think this job is impactful

A competent and experienced COO is essential for ensuring the good functioning of an organization. Just like a CTO, a competent COO is crucial for allowing impactful and potentially impactful enterprises alike to maximize their impact. Currently, numerous smaller organizations in the AI ecosystem that are working on essential services and research (e.g., AI models evaluations) see their progress hindered by suboptimal inner workings. Furthermore, specifically concerning small and promising AI organizations, “meta” work is sometimes conducted by individuals within the organization which would be more impactful when working on other projects (e.g., directly on AI research). The COO enables them to maximize their impact by allowing them to “work on what they’re best at”. We expect this role to be impactful in both large organizations and small but promising AI organizations and in well-funded AI startups, given the potential that one may have in steering their trajectory and in helping them leverage their impact on AI catastrophic risk mitigation.

How Successif can help

We have developed a way to assess potential candidate’s fitness for this role and collected sample interview questions that can be asked for this job. If you are passionate about mitigating the risks of transformative AI systems and believe you would be a good fit for this role, apply for our career services.

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