Chief Product Officer

If you are looking for a product management leadership job role and would like to discover what skills you need, and what salaries are on offer and a typical job description, you will find a complete guide below.

If you’re an employer looking to recruit for this role, please see our product recruitment services page.

What is a Chief Product Officer?

This role plays a pivotal role in guiding and overseeing the development and management of a company’s product portfolio. This role is responsible for aligning the company’s product strategy with its overall business goals and objectives. They work closely with other departments, such as marketing, engineering, and sales, to ensure that the product roadmap is aligned with customer needs, market trends, and technological advancements.

Their primary focus is on driving innovation and creating products that meet customer demands and deliver value. They are involved in every stage of the product lifecycle, from conceptualisation to launch and beyond. They are the leader, setting the vision and direction for the product team, defining the product roadmap, prioritising features, and ensuring timely delivery. They also conduct market research and competitive analysis to identify new opportunities and stay ahead of the competition. Additionally, they collaborate with cross-functional teams to gather feedback, iterate on product designs, and continuously improve the user experience.

By championing the company’s product vision, this person plays a crucial role in driving growth and achieving business success.

Main responsibilities

The below responsibilities highlight the varied role that a product leader has including steering the product strategy, fostering innovation, and ensuring the successful execution of product initiatives. Each job description and responsibilities will be different depending on company size, stage, growth requirements etc.

Product strategy

Responsible for defining and implementing the company’s product strategy, aligning it with the overall business goals and market trends. This involves setting a clear vision, identifying target markets, and determining the product roadmap.

Leadership and team management

They provide strategic leadership and guidance to the product team. They recruit and develop top talent, nurture a culture of collaboration and innovation, and inspire the team to deliver high-quality products that meet business objectives.

Read our blog on the 6 different Chief Product Officer Leadership styles.

Innovation and development

Leading the innovation process by fostering a culture of creativity and driving the development of new products or enhancements to existing ones. They collaborate with cross-functional teams to ensure that innovative ideas are translated into viable product offerings.

Market research and analysis

Conducting comprehensive market research to understand customer needs, identify market opportunities, and stay updated on industry trends. They analyse market data, customer feedback, and competitive intelligence to inform product decisions.

Product lifecycle management

Overseeing the entire product lifecycle, from conception to launch and post-launch activities. This involves managing product roadmaps, prioritising features, and coordinating with engineering, design, and marketing teams to ensure timely and successful product launches.

User experience and design

Ensuring that products provide exceptional user experiences by working closely with UX/UI design teams. They advocate for user-centric design principles, conduct usability testing, and gather feedback to continuously improve the product’s usability and appeal.

Cross-functional collaboration

Collaboration with various departments, including engineering, marketing, sales, and customer support, to ensure effective cross-functional alignment. They foster communication, facilitate collaboration, and coordinate efforts to achieve product goals.

Revenue and growth

Accountable for driving revenue growth through product innovation, market expansion, and customer acquisition. They monitor KPIs, track product metrics, and make data-driven decisions to optimise product performance and maximise revenue potential.

Discover how a Chief Product Officer can also accelerate a products path to market fit.

Qualifications required

A bachelor’s degree is usually a baseline requirement for employers to hire at this level. However, it’s crucial to emphasise that not just any degree will do. Ideally, your educational background would include disciplines such as product management, marketing, business administration, or economics. 

Some forward-thinking employers may set the bar higher. They might expect candidates to hold advanced credentials, like a master’s or a doctorate degree, where you can showcase the specific knowledge and skills you’ve acquired.

While education is often essential, employers really care about experience. Employers often state on a job description that they are seeking a candidate with a minimum of 10 years of hands-on experience in the product domain.

How to hire a CPO in 2024

Knowing the right time to hire at this level tricky. Read this guide to discover more about the job role, the optimum time to hire depending on your business strategy and growth plans, and the resources you may need in the lead up to starting the hiring process:

  • Onboarding an executive search firm
  • Job description
  • Interview questions
  • Assessment ideas for selection

Download the guide

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The demand for candidates within this role has been steadily increasing over the past few years, particularly in technology-driven industries and consumer-facing businesses. Companies across various sectors, including software, e-commerce, SaaS, fintech, and digital media, are hiring at executive level to accelerate their product strategies and capitalise on market opportunities.

This demand stems from the recognition that effective product leadership is crucial for driving business growth, competitive advantage, and customer satisfaction. As companies continue to prioritise digital transformation and customer-centric product development, the demand for experienced candidates is expected to remain strong in the coming years.

With that in mind, an expected salary of £130,000 – £300,000 could be achieved, with additional benefits such as private medical insurance, performance related bonuses and pension contributions as standard for this level of role.

Additional considerations

Several factors can influence a salary, including:

  • the industry’s competitive landscape
  • the company’s financial health and revenue potential
  • the candidates track record of success
  • the geographic location of the company
  • the level of responsibility
  • the size of the product portfolio
  • and the complexity of the products being managed

Read our guide:
Product management salary 2024

Chief Product Officer job description

Read two recently filled job descriptions that have been effective. For a:

Scale-up tech organisation

Scaling FinTech business

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Chief Product Officer v Chief Technology Officer

For those considering their career paths, or those businesses looking to hire, it’s essential to understand the distinct roles for these two positions. 

Both senior roles share the overarching goal of enhancing user experiences and driving value, but they diverge in approach. The product leader focuses on product strategy, adapting to changing market conditions, and harnessing customer insights, while the CTO’s expertise lies in technology and optimising its use to improve products. Their collaboration is essential, as the product vision needs to align with technical execution, ensuring a balanced and successful product development process.

In short, one steers product strategy and customer-centric decisions, the other leverages technology to bring that vision to life.

Skills required

The particular skill set required by an employer will change business to business but in general terms, a job description would ask for these 12 skills:

Strategic vision

Strong strategic vision to formulate a clear product direction that aligns with the company’s long-term objectives. This skill enables the employee to identify untapped market opportunities, anticipate industry trends, and drive innovation, resulting in the development of products that have a significant impact on market share, revenue growth, and overall business success.

Product portfolio management

Optimising resource allocation and prioritising initiatives is crucial to this role.  Managing the portfolio well means the team can assess the performance of existing products, identify areas for improvement, and make strategic decisions regarding product investments, sunset decisions, and resource reallocation. A well-managed product portfolio can lead to increased profitability, streamlined operations, and improved customer satisfaction.


This skill allows the candidate to facilitate effective communication, foster a culture of innovation and accountability, and drive collaboration between engineering, marketing, design, and other teams. By doing this, this person can accelerate product development, reduce time-to-market, and deliver exceptional customer experiences.

Market research and customer insights

Ability to make informed decisions regarding product features, pricing strategies, and market positioning. By leveraging customer insights, a product team can develop products that resonate with the target market, drive customer satisfaction, and gain a competitive edge.

Innovation and product development

Skilled in innovation and product development can foster a culture of creativity and drive continuous improvement. This skill involves staying abreast of emerging technologies, industry trends, and competitive landscapes. By championing innovation, the product leader can drive the development of breakthrough products, differentiate the company in the market, and establish a reputation as a leader in product innovation.

Business sense

Good understanding of the financial implications of product decisions, evaluate market potential, and assess competitive dynamics. Making strategic choices regarding pricing, revenue models, and resource allocation are all part of the job. By leveraging business acumen, this person can maximise profitability, improve product-market fit, and make sound investment decisions.

Stakeholder management

Effective stakeholder management is critical for a this role to build strong relationships with internal and external stakeholders. This skill involves effective communication, negotiation, and influencing abilities. By managing stakeholder expectations, they can gain support for product initiatives, align cross-functional teams, and ensure smooth collaboration, resulting in successful product launches and market penetration.

Go-to-Market strategy experience

This skill involves market segmentation, positioning, pricing, distribution, and promotional strategies. By developing a well-defined go-to-market strategy, they can ensure successful product introductions, generate early market traction, and accelerate revenue growth.

Product-market fit experience

This skill involves conducting market research, user testing, and gathering customer feedback to validate and iterate on product features. By achieving strong product-market fit, they can drive customer satisfaction, increase customer retention, and generate positive word-of-mouth referrals.

UX/UI design experience

This skill involves understanding usability principles, conducting user research, and collaborating with design teams to create intuitive and visually appealing product interfaces. By prioritising user-centric design, they can enhance user satisfaction, increase user adoption, and drive customer loyalty.

Intellectual Property management

Expertise in intellectual property (IP) management is valuable, particularly in technology-driven industries. This skill involves understanding IP laws, assessing patent landscapes, and strategically protecting the company’s intellectual assets. By effectively managing IP, they can safeguard innovations, maintain a competitive edge, and mitigate legal risks associated with product development and commercialisation.

Global market expansion

Global market expansion skills are essential in companies with international operations or ambitions. This skill involves understanding cultural nuances, adapting products for different markets, and managing localisation efforts. By successfully expanding into global markets, they can tap into new revenue streams, broaden the customer base, and position the company as a global player in the industry.

Product management interview questions

Read our guide to the top 75 product management interview questions, that are often asked at interview by employers.

Chief Product Officer FAQs

What is the role of a Chief Product Officer?
The ultimate aim of a Chief Product Officer is to achieve business growth by constantly improving the businesses product offering against customer feedback. The CPO will need to define and develop the product vision, strategy and roadmap, ensuring their product always stays relevant in the market, and doesnt fall behind in customer expectations. Crucial to the success of the role is the ability to lead cross functional teams - delegating, leading and coaching their teams to success.
What makes a good CPO?
The biggest objective of a Chief Product Officer (CPO) is to ensure that the customer, sales and marketing teams are collaborating effectively, producing a customer centric product that ensures business growth through customer acquisition and retention.
How much do CPOs make?
A Chief Product Officer (CPO) can expect to make between £130,000 and £300,000 depending on the size of the business, its growth ambitions and the specific domain experience and specialism required within the role.
What is the difference between a Chief Product Officer (CPO) and a Chief Technology Officer (CTO)?
A CPO primarily shapes product strategy, channelling customer insights to ensure market adaptability, while a CTO focuses on leveraging the technology to execute, optimise, and innovate product development, forming a crucial partnership for organisational success. This collaboration between strategic vision and technical execution is essential for delivering the best user experiences and long-term value.
Is CPO higher than a VP?
Yes, a CPO is higher in the hierarch than a VP Product. A Chief Product Officer (CPO) is one of the highest-ranking executives in a company responsible for the entire product portfolio. They set the overall product strategy, oversee multiple product teams, and have a significant influence on the company's direction. On the other hand, a VP of Product is a senior leadership role responsible for a specific product or group of products within a company. They focus on the strategic direction and management of those products, working closely with product managers and cross-functional teams.
What is the difference between a COO and a CPO?
The main difference between a COO and a CPO is their area of focus and responsibility. A COO focuses on the overall operations and execution of the company, while a CPO is primarily concerned with the company's product strategy, development, and innovation. Both roles are crucial for the success of an organisation, but they have distinct roles within the executive leadership team.
How many companies have a CPO?
The 2023 CPO Insights Report produced by Products That Count and Capgemini found 30% of Fortune 1000 companies have a Chief Product Officer in 2023, up from 15% last year.
Who does a Chief Product Officer report to?
The Chief Product Officer (CPO) reports directly into the CEO, and usually sits on the board at the organisation,