Cover of Riding Shotgun by Nate Bennett and Stephen Miles
Riding Shotgun
The Role of the COO, Updated Edition
Nate Bennett and Stephen Miles


248 pages.

Hardcover ISBN: 9781503600386
Ebook ISBN: 9781503601000

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Excerpts and More

The role of Chief Operating Officer is clearly important. In fact, it's arguable that the number two position is the toughest job in a company. COOs play a critical part in executing the strategies developed by top management. And, in many cases, they are being groomed—or test-driven—as the firm's CEO-elect.

Riding Shotgun provides unique insight into this little-understood role. The authors develop a framework that illustrates who the COO is, why a company should create this position, and what the challenges associated with this job entail. Drawing heavily on first-person accounts from top executives, the authors offer a set of strategies to inform individuals who aspire to serve as COO. With a new preface and conclusion, and even more interviews from some of the most established and important companies in today's economy, this book is a one-of-a-kind resource for the C-suite and the boardroom.

About the authors

Nathan Bennett is Associate Dean for Faculty and Research and Professor in the J. Mack Robinson College of Business at Georgia State University.

Stephen Miles is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of The Miles Group. Previously, he was a Vice Chairman at Heidrick & Struggles. Stephen specializes in CEO succession and has partnered with numerous boards of Fortune 500 companies to ensure successful leadership searches and transitions.

Together, they are the authors of Your Career Game: How Game Theory Can Help You Achieve Your Professional Goals (Stanford, 2010).

"The critical role of COO has received little of the attention it deserves. Bennett and Miles illuminate the potential and the perils of beingnumber two. A must-read for anyone aspiring to make the leap, and for those who recruit, oversee, and coach them."

—Michael Watkins, Founding Partner, Genesis Advisers and author of The First 90 Days: Critical Success Strategies for New Leaders at All Levels

"The relationship between the CEO and COO is critical to the success of any company. This book gives a variety of perspectives on this leadership dynamic in a highly enjoyable read."

—Bruce Chizen, Venture Partner, Voyager Capital and Former CEO, Adobe Systems

"As organizations and corporate boards look to solve critical succession issues or strive to become more focused and efficient, they often think of creating or recasting the COO role within their respective organizations. Done correctly, the results can be magical; done incorrectly, and the fallout can be devastating for any organization. This book is the first of its kind and long over due. Riding Shotgun carefully lays out the questions that need to be answered and the critical success factors to ensure that the person who is going to assume the role is set up for success. Every Board Member, HR Executive, or CEO who is considering the COO role in their organization should read this book!"

—Tom DiDonato, Senior Vice President for Human Resources, Lear Corporation

"This updated edition provides essential insight in to what makes the COO role work and remains a must-read for current or aspiring COOs."

—John S. Petterson, Senior Vice President, Tiffany & Co.