What Is a CPO (Chief Product Officer)?

Every organization has a hierarchy to establish order. There is a hierarchy within Product Managers as well. The top of the pyramid of Product Managers would be a CPO, or in other words, a Chief Product Officer. A CPO generally manages a group of product managers.

So what exactly is a CPO? In short, a CPO is responsible for hiring fantastic Product Managers, sharing the overall vision, and making sure the rest of the Product Managers are on the same page. They also have to make sure that the strategy each product team has is accurate while overseeing that no problems are occurring with each teams’ decisions. They are also responsible for explaining the product story to all the stakeholders in order to keep support for the projects coming. They also build the business culture so as to keep the talent that is recruited. 

Typically there is not a CPO in a small-sized company, as there will only be around 1 or 2 Product Managers. There might be a CPO in a medium-sized company, and there is always a CPO in a large-sized company. 

Within a medium-sized company, the Product Managers will usually report directly to the Chief Product Officer. However, in a large-sized company, there will be Product Directors who gather reports from the Product Managers stationed beneath them. The Product Directors will then report to the CPO. Shown below is a representation of what the general structure looks like.

CPOs have a lot on their plate since they have a lot of heavy responsibilities. It is crucial that the CPO has great communication, organizational, leadership and analytical skills to make sure that the workflow goes smoothly.

Curious about what a Chief Product Officer does on a daily basis? Read more on our article showcasing the Daily Life of a Chief Product Officer of Hinge.

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