October 3, 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.
RMN Electi, formerly RM Nephew and Associates, recently assisted in the recruitment of Steven Roth as the new chief product officer for Northwoods. “Steven gravitates toward mission-driven companies and joined Northwoods because of our people, purpose, and culture,” Northwoods said.
Mr. Roth most recently served as vice president of product for Togetherwork, where he was responsible for the product team with a mandate to bring product best practices across a nine-product portfolio. Before that, he was director of product at Acceptd, an SaaS company with an application and audition platform for performing arts organizations. Prior to that, Mr. Roth was chief product officer for Halo Health, a fast-growing software startup backed by Bain Capital.
As chief product officer of Northwoods, Mr. Roth oversees product delivery, product management, and customer support. He combines deep technical, product, and business acumen with customer input to make sure Northwoods builds products that deliver value, solve problems, and help human services agencies achieve their goals.
Based in Dublin, OH, Northwoods develops customized, high-tech software solutions for adult and aging, child support, child welfare, and economic assistance.
RMN Electi, with offices in Boston and New York, offers partnership-driven solutions to business leadership and recruitment challenges for a premier list of clients, primarily in the healthcare, technology, and professional services sectors. Those clients range from Fortune 500 companies to mid-sized firms and private equity-sponsored enterprises. The firm has extensive experience partnering with privately held, family-owned businesses and has conducted numerous C-suite and board-level searches over the past decade. RM Nephew & Associates was founded in 2010 by Robert Nephew, an executive search veteran with more than 35 years of experience.
Last year, a group of private investors led by majority partner CTR Group, a Virginia-based, family-owned employment services firm, completed its acquisition of RM Nephew & Associates. Hunt Scanlon Ventures facilitated the introduction and the transaction. The acquisition positions the firm for sustained growth and expansion and will enable it to better serve its clients on a multinational level. With the acquisition, CTR Group will be adding a new strategic offering to its business that will enable it to provide top-tier executive search services to its defense and commercial clients. “We look forward to our expansion into the executive search arena,” said Arnold Boyd, CTR Group’s founder and CEO. “I see this acquisition as the ideal way for CTR to phase seamlessly into a new industry with an experienced and dedicated team already in place.”
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.
Benchmark Executive Search placed Ben Conklin as chief product officer at Janes, a U.K.-based global agency for open-source defense intelligence. The position reports to CEO Blake Bartlett. “Ben Conklin brings a distinguished background, proven leadership and deep product and mission expertise to Janes,” said Jeremy King, president of Benchmark. “We look forward to following his progress.” To fill the key role of in the Washington D.C. area, Janes said it turned to a search firm with industry experience, reputation and the track record to help it land a high-impact executive. “Benchmark came so highly recommended by senior executives in the U.S. that when we had a critical and urgent need to hire a proven product leader to accelerate our business, I had no hesitation in engaging Jeremy King and Benchmark for the search,” said Mr. Bartlett. “Benchmark’s professionalism, attention to detail, customer excellence and ability to attract outstanding candidates is world-class.”
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media