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Chief Product Officer Job Description

When a company is seeking to develop and release a new product, a chief product officer (CPO) is often put in charge of its overall success or failure. This manager not only represents the product for the company, but is also responsible if the product is not successful. While other such positions specialize only in some aspect of product development and marketing, the CPO oversees all aspects.

Function

The chief product officer is the top manager responsible for overseeing a company's product strategy, based upon goals the CEO set. The CPO has the overall authority over all product development, serving as a product representative, involved in marketing and selling and communicating product benefits to the public. This manager leads a team of product developers and fulfills managerial roles such as assigning duties, hiring new talent, training employees and evaluating their performance. This manager is responsible for making sure the final product is completely functional and meets customer expectations.

Conditions

The chief product officer spends considerable time in the office in both the design laboratory and production area to oversee various steps in the production process. The CPO will often follow safety precautions and wear safety equipment, since safety issues impact some parts of the production process. CPOs typically work long hours, beyond 50 per week; plus, some must be on call in case of emergencies, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Qualifications

A bachelor's degree is usually required. It is an upper-level position usually attained through internal promotion, though outsiders with extensive experience in successful product development and marketing can also get the job. The CPO must be able to think strategically and make long-term plans, according to VentureLoop. Interpersonal and communication skills are needed since this manager must work alongside other executives and also effectively manage employees.

Outlook

The need for industrial production managers such as chief product officers is expected to decline by eight percent between 2008 and 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The number of products manufactured in the United States is declining due to international competition and an overall economic slowdown.

Compensation

The median annual salary for industrial production managers such as chief product officers was $83,290 in 2008, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The highest 10 percent earned more than $140,530, while the lowest 10 percent earned less than $50,330.



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