Chief Product Officer (CPO) Job Description & Template

Chief Product Officer (CPO) Job Description & Template

Discover the main responsibilities of a Chief Product Officer (CPO) and get a practical CPO job description template. Find out about CPO salaries and the best way to hire one.

The Chief Product Officer (CPO) oversees the entire product life cycle and leads cross-functional teams to deliver innovative products that drive growth.Here's a CPO job description template to help you attract top-tier candidates for your organization. You'll find details about their salary ranges in the US, typical reporting structures, and how to find the perfect CPO for your team.

Further Reading:

  • Get a breakdown of what a Chief Product Officer does and how to hire one in our ultimate guide.
  • Discover what services a Fractional CTO offers and the massive benefits you will get by hiring one.

A Chief Product Officer (CPO) is a senior executive who oversees the entire product life cycle from conception to launch. They develop and execute robust product strategies in line with the company's goals and market demands.

They lead cross-functional teams, including engineering and product design, to deliver innovative products that drive business growth. They also collaborate with the marketing and sales departments to ensure the product meets market demands.

Depending on your needs, you can choose to hire a full-time or a fractional CPO. A fractional CPO can take on all the responsibilities of a full-time CPO at a significantly lower cost. (More about this soon.)

Amy Maher profile image
Amy Maher
  1. Fractional CPO
  2. Product Strategy
  3. Growth
  4. UX
Building B2C startups for 13+ years | strategy, growth, innovation, leadership

Chief Product Officer Job Description

About Us

Include a clear description of your company and its focus areas.

CPO Job Description

We are seeking a dynamic Chief Product Officer (CPO) to lead our company's product strategy and drive innovation.

In this role, you will report directly to the CEO as a full-time member of our executive team. You will oversee product development, customer experience, market research, and work closely with engineering, marketing, and sales teams. You will manage the product life cycle, analyze market trends, and identify opportunities for growth and expansion.

The ideal candidate will be a strategic thinker with excellent leadership skills and the ability to collaborate with other senior executives. They will have a proven track record of leading high-performing teams and a deep understanding of product management, user experience, and market analytics.

Key Chief Product Officer Responsibilities

  • Develop and implement a product strategy to meet growth targets and company objectives, collaborating with executive leadership.
  • Translate product strategy into actionable plans, including roadmaps, feature prioritization, and release schedules.
  • Monitor and analyze market trends, customer needs, and the competitive landscape to identify growth opportunities and improve existing products.
  • Oversee the entire product development life cycle, from ideation and prioritization to execution and release.
  • Lead product design and user interface efforts to create exceptional user experiences, ensuring products are intuitive and visually appealing.
  • Conduct thorough market research to inform product positioning, differentiation, and pricing strategies.
  • Collaborate with various departments, including marketing, sales, and engineering, to ensure effective communication and alignment throughout product development.
  • Establish and track KPIs and metrics to measure product performance, customer satisfaction, and market success.
  • Lead and inspire cross-functional teams, including marketing, engineering, design, and sales.
  • Guide team members' career growth and participate in the recruitment process for the product team.
  • Interact with stakeholders, including executives, investors, and board members, to present product strategies, roadmaps, and performance metrics.

Required Experience and Skills 

  • Extensive knowledge of managing products through their entire life cycle, including growth and sunset phases.
  • Demonstrated ability to lead and manage large, diverse product teams, including hiring, mentoring, and performance management.
  • Expertise in creating and executing long-term product strategies that align with company goals.
  • Deep understanding of customer needs, user experience design, and market research methodologies.
  • Ability to stay ahead of industry trends, conduct competitor analysis, and adapt product strategies accordingly.
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills for effective collaboration with C-suite executives, stakeholders, and cross-functional teams.
  • Proven experience working with marketing, engineering, sales, and design teams to ensure product success.
  • Proficiency in using data analytics, AI, and market research to inform strategic decisions.
  • Proficiency in product management tools and methodologies, such as agile and lean practices.
  • Strong analytical and problem-solving skills to address complex product challenges.
  • Ability to foster a culture of innovation and creativity within the product team.
  • Experience in budgeting, forecasting, and managing the financial aspects of product development.
  • Proficiency in analyzing product performance metrics, such as Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV) and Net Promoter Score (NPS), to drive informed decision-making.

Required Qualifications

  • A bachelor's in business administration, economics, product marketing, or a related subject, and an MBA.

Salary and Perks

  • Competitive salary with performance bonuses
  • Stock options or equity packages
  • Medical, dental, and vision coverage
  • Pre-tax contributions for health and retirement plans
  • Paid time off and flexible work arrangements
  • Parental leave for new parents
  • Wellness programs and gym memberships
  • Relocation assistance
  • Professional development funds

FAQs on CPO Salary, Reporting, and Hiring

1. What Is the Salary Range of a CPO in the US?

In the United States, a full-time Chief Product Officer salary generally earns around $308,000--$570,000 annually, including benefits such as bonuses, profit sharing, and commissions. On average, the annual earnings for a CPO are approximately $411,000.

The Chief Product Officer salary can fluctuate based on various factors like the individual's experience, the specific industry and location, the role's complexity, and the size of the company.

However, if you're looking to hire top-tier product leadership at a lower cost, consider hiring a fractional CPO instead. (See below).

2. What Is the Reporting Structure of a CPO?

The Chief Product Officer (CPO) typically reports directly to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

They often collaborate closely with other senior executives, such as the Chief Technology Officer (CTO), Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), and Chief Operating Officer (COO) to drive product innovation and growth.

The role of the Chief Product Officer has evolved from focusing solely on the operational aspects of product development and quality control to being more strategic and customer-oriented.

With markets becoming more competitive, the CPO role has expanded to include close collaboration with marketing and sales teams as well. Today's CPOs drive business growth by enhancing user experience and market fit and using product analytics for informed decision-making.

Here's what this role may encompass in the (near) future:

  • AI Integration: CPOs will increasingly leverage AI to gain deeper product insights, predict customer needs, personalize user experiences, and optimize the product development process.
  • Ethical and Inclusive Development: There will be a greater focus on developing products that consider diverse user perspectives and ethical standards. (Examples include creating apps that are accessible to people with disabilities and designing AI algorithms that are free from bias.)
  • External Collaboration: Enhanced collaboration with external partners, including startups, and other technology providers will drive innovation.

4. What Is a Typical Career Path to Become a Chief Product Officer?

A CPO's career often begins with entry-level roles in product management, product engineering/development, or product marketing.

From there, they typically move into mid-level roles such as Product Manager, Engineering Manager, or Product Marketing Manager, which give them deeper insights into product development and market needs.

Subsequently, they advance into senior leadership positions, such as Director of Product Management, Director of Engineering, or Director of Product Marketing, honing their strategic and leadership skills.

Finally, they step into the CPO role, leveraging their comprehensive knowledge to oversee product strategy and life-cycle management.

Entrepreneurial experience, such as founding and growing a product-focused startup, can also be a viable path to becoming a CPO.

5. What Types of Organizations Need a Chief Product Officer?

CPOs are crucial for various types of organizations, particularly those focused on innovation, product development, and customer experience. For instance:

  • Large enterprises need CPOs to manage extensive product portfolios and drive innovation.
  • Mid-sized firms in the growth stage benefit from CPOs to streamline product development and market expansion.
  • Startups and scale-ups require CPOs to establish product-market fit, oversee rapid scaling, and ensure consistent quality. (In such smaller firms, a CEO or a COO may handle the duties of a CPO as well. They may hire a dedicated CPO as they grow and become more complex.) 

6. How Does a Chief Product Officer Differ from a Chief Technology Officer, Product Manager, and Vice President of Product? 

As we've discussed, a Chief Product Officer (CPO) is a senior leader responsible for defining the product vision and overseeing the entire product strategy. They often report to the CEO or Board of Directors.

Here's a comparison between the CPO and other major executive leadership roles:

  • CTO (Chief Technology Officer): Oversees and coordinates all technology-related activities within a company, including software development, and research and development. Typically reports to the CEO or COO.
  • Product Manager: Handles day-to-day operations of specific products within the company's portfolio, focusing on software development, feature prioritization, and cross-functional team coordination. Usually reports to the VP of Product or the CPO.
  • VP of Product (Vice President of Product): Bridges the gap between the CPO and the Product Managers by overseeing the product management team, guiding the implementation of the product strategy, and managing multiple product lines. Typically reports to the CPO or directly to the CEO in organizations where a CPO isn't present.

7. What Is a Fractional CPO and What are the Benefits of Engaging One (Compared to a Full-Time CPO)?

A fractional Chief Product Officer (CPO) is an experienced executive who works with your company on a part-time basis, providing the same level of expertise as a full-time CPO without hefty full-time costs.

While many companies traditionally hire a full-time CPO, there are clear advantages to choosing a fractional CPO:

  • Cost-Effectiveness: Fractional CPOs work for a monthly retainer, avoiding the substantial salaries, bonuses, equity, payroll taxes, and retirement contributions associated with full-time CPOs. For instance, Go Fractional offers experienced fractional CPOs for $10,000 to $20,000 per month, amounting to $120,000 to $240,000 annually.
  • Flexibility: Fractional CPOs can adjust their engagement levels based on your company's evolving needs, offering flexibility that full-time positions often lack.
  • Wide Expertise: With diverse experience across industries, fractional CPOs bring a broad perspective and skill set, quickly identifying challenges and implementing effective strategies.
  • Objective Perspective: They offer fresh insights from an external viewpoint, spotting inefficiencies and opportunities that internal teams might have missed.

We've seen that bringing on a fractional product leader often leads to better results and a higher return on investment than a full-time hire, especially for companies looking to scale efficiently.

Will Rocklin profile image
Will Rocklin
  1. Advisor
  2. Leadership
  3. Team Building
  4. Product Strategy
fCPO (ex-Google, ex-Square, ex-Sequoia backed Head of Product)

8. How to Hire a Fractional CPO

The best way to bring on a fractional CPO is through Go Fractional.

We can connect you with an experienced product head skilled in driving product strategy and managing teams.

This approach saves you the time and effort of a time-consuming in-house executive search.

Vicky Volvovski profile image
Vicky Volvovski
  1. Product Strategy
  2. Roadmap Planning
  3. Fractional CPO
  4. Product Vision
Product strategist & consultant | former Head of Product @ Zapier | Founder in climate tech

Here's a breakdown of our hiring process:

  • Get in Touch: Tell us what you're looking for in a CPO, including the industry experience, specific skills, and the level of involvement required.
  • Candidate Selection: We'll screen and interview potential candidates based on your criteria and present you with the best fit.
  • Interview Process: We will set up interviews to get to know your top candidates.
  • Finalize the Hire: You choose your ideal CPO, and we'll handle the contract and paperwork, providing ongoing support after they start.
  • Fast Onboarding: Our fractional CPOs can start within a week.If you're looking for a CPO with a history of success who can take charge of your product strategy immediately, contact Go Fractional now.

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