December 12, 2022 – Today’s chief product officer is responsible for all product-related matters, and the role is growing in demand, according to executive recruiters who place them. The position typically includes product conception and development, production, innovation, and project and product management. In many IT/ telecommunications companies, the position includes release management and production. Chief product officers generally work on product strategy based on goals set by the CEO and/ or board members. The high demand for chief product officers is keeping executive search firms busy.
Menlo Park, CA-based executive search firm Lonergan Partners recently placed Saurabh Kulkarni as chief product officer and SVP of software at Lucata Systems. The search was led by Kirsten Settle. “Saurabh is a proven leader who brings a wealth of experience in scaling technologies from concept to product,” said Michael Maulick, chairman and CEO of Lucata. “We are very pleased to have Saurabh on board. His experience, leadership, and insights will be invaluable in Lucata’s mission to make our breakthrough technology universally accessible to solve complex problems in a broad range of industries such as finance, healthcare, national security, supply chain, etc.”
With over two decades of experience in the computer industry, Mr. Kulkarni will bring a combination of technological insights and business acumen to Lucata as it continues to scale to address important challenges in areas such as graph analytics and AI/ML. He most recently served as VP and GM of Graphcore, North America where he led engineering and commercial activities for the region. During his tenure, Graphcore North America saw tremendous growth in customer adoption of its technology. Before Graphcore, Mr. Kulkarni held senior leadership positions at Intel, Microsoft, and Oracle in domains spanning computer architecture, server platform architecture, cloud infrastructure, cloud native services, AI/ML accelerators, and systems. Throughout his career, he has been passionate about productizing disruptive technologies and converting them into successful business opportunities.
The next-generation Lucata computer architecture enables organizations to accelerate and scale graph analytics orders of magnitude beyond the capabilities of existing approaches. Lucata leverages patented migrating thread technology to massively scale unified memory and perform high performance, multi-hop analytics, including exhaustive breadth-first search, on unpruned, unsharded scale 40 databases and beyond.
Lonergan Partners is an advisor to technology companies in the Silicon Valley and around the globe. Its partners provide retained executive search services working to recruit CEOs, board of directors, and C-level executives in high tech. Its clientele includes public companies such as Google, Gigamon, Imperva, Rambus, Inphi, Lumentum, Brocade, Xilinx, Fortinet, Symantec, Atheros, Dell, Energous, Teradata, FireEye, and Ruckus Wireless. Lonergan Partners also recruits for venture backed early and mid-stage companies such as Groq, Axiado, D-Wave Systems, Synthetic Genomics, and SiFive. The firm’s private investor relationships include DFJ, Goldman Sachs, Sequoia, NEA, KPCB, Lightspeed, Google Ventures, Sutter Hill, Mayfield, Silver Lake, and Menlo Ventures, among many others.
Ms. Settle is a partner with Lonergan Partners, focusing on recruiting CEOs, CXOs, and direct reports to the CEO for growing public and venture-backed companies in high-performance computing, AI/ML, semiconductors, and systems. She has made placements at prominent public companies including Rambus and Infineon, and has obtained a loyal venture-backed clientele including Groq, SiFive, and Axiado.
Finding Chief Products Officers
A number of executive search firms have stepped up to find top chief product officer for top organizations. Here is a sampling from the Hunt Scanlon archives:
Riviera Partners, a recruitment provider specializing in C-level engineering, product, and design leader placements, assisted in the placement of Stephanie Cuthbertson as executive vice president and chief product officer at HubSpot in Cambridge, MA. Andrew Abramson led the assignment. “Stephanie’s deep experience in product strategy from Google, Amazon, and Microsoft makes her well-poised to have a big impact at HubSpot,” said Yamini Rangan, CEO of HubSpot. “She has a strong reputation for leading with humility and empathy, coaching exceptional talent and operating with a customer-centric mindset.”
Accelent recently placed Rahul Lahiri as the new chief product officer for PebblePost, a leading digital to direct mail platform. Mr. Lahiri will head the product division as the company looks to build on the momentum and growth it has experienced in the last year. Leading the assignment were John Boehmer, managing director, Maura McShane, partner, and Jerzy Jung, associate. “This has been a blockbuster year for PebblePost and the brand we work with,” said PebblePost CEO Jacob Ross. “Rahul will play a critical role in evolving the Programmatic Direct Mail platform and the PebblePost Graph to further our mission of enabling brands to reach consumers at home with the most relevant and respectful physical mail.”
New York-based Work&Partners recently placed Heather Jordan as chief product officer of Toppan Merrill, a provider of financial printing and communication solutions. Founder and president Alan Work led the assignment. Ms. Jordan was previously with data analytics company Nielsen where she held multiple roles throughout her tenure. Most recently she served as senior vice president, product leader. Her earlier roles at Nielsen were vice president, program manager and senior product manager. Earlier in Ms. Jordan’s career she was director of research and account executive at Spartan Communications.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media