Product Director - FT.com
The Financial Times is a trusted guide to an increasingly fragmented world. We are one of the world’s most influential news organisations, recognised internationally for our authority, integrity and accuracy. We help the world make better choices. We influence leaders and shape the leaders of the future. Our fearless, intelligent reporting makes the difference in thousands of decisions around the world every day. Our digital products are in the pockets of prime ministers, presidents and chief executives. We hold powerful institutions to account. We shine a light in dark places. We move markets. We are the FT.
About FT Product and Technology
The FT is as much a product and technology company as it is a journalism company. Much of our recent success has come from innovation in our digital products and services and we know that our future success will depend on it. Product and Technology is composed of 400 people, split across three organisations: product, technology and delivery. Since 2016 we have been led by Chief Product and Information Officer Cait O’Riordan. Don’t expect a stuffy finance environment. We come from all walks of life and all kinds of different backgrounds and we bring ourselves to work.
Who is the Product Organisation?
We are the best bit! :-) We are around 60 people, mostly product managers, customer researchers, product designers and business analysts. We work primarily in London and Sofia, Bulgaria. Our purpose is to create continued innovation in the FT’s digital products and services. We do a lot to deliver great products, but we believe our most important responsibility is working out what is worth building in the first place. We drive the process of product discovery, working with customers and prototypes to identify solutions that answer the needs of our subscribers and our business. We negotiate outcomes with our leaders and colleagues, find opportunities with customers, design solutions with customers, and prioritise delivery to maximise our impact.
What is the role
As Product Director you will have three key responsibilities:
Product Leadership: You will be part of the Product leadership team. We have high ambitions. We want to create a progressive product organization and one that is capable of attracting the very best talent. Alongside this, you will be expected to contribute towards identifying and leading change across FT as part of our ongoing (forever) digital transformation where Product is a leading voice.
Product Director of FT.com (and apps): FT.com and related FT news apps are the crown jewels of FT. They represent our editorial mission, our gold standard journalism and our engine of growth. The total revenue contribution of these products is in excess of 150M. Our product strategy identifies an incremental opportunity to support transformational growth. As product director for these products you will be responsible for ensuring we continue to develop the way our customers find and interact with our journalism whilst accelerating the growth of our subscription in terms of revenue. Growth in revenue is key as it drives profitability and our ability to invest in our journalism and subscription business.
Product Director for Retain Mission: Missions are new to FT. We have three missions: acquire, retain, transform. All missions have a cross-functional leadership team. The Retain Mission is focused on optimising how we retain our customers through all disciplines (marketing, product and editorial). As Product Director, you will need to have the leadership skills to drive the mission forward.
Who are we looking for?
You must strongly value quality journalism with experience of working with an editorial team of size. Equally, you must be commercial with a deep seated sense of success tied to your ability to generate significant growth in our subscription business. We want someone who will form an amazing partnership with the Directors of Delivery and Technology to lead the group together. We also want someone who will work closely with our discipline leads, like the Directors of Product Design, Customer Research and Operations & Reliability. Equally, strong alliances with other departments outside of Product & Technology will be critical. Marketing and Editorial in particular will be close partners. We are looking for an inspiring leader, who can drive the evolution of our already great team to the next level of product innovation and business impact.
Create growth in ft.com subscription business
Develop FT.com products to reflect our world class journalism
Evolve the FT.com strategy and its mission, ensuring these are aligned with the wider subscription strategy
Get the most out of your product teams: Give them focus and help them unpick problems. Develop their craft and their decision-making. Empower them, but don’t forget to also help them learn how to use that power.
Defend them against the thousands of conflicting priorities that exist in all companies over a certain size. But not too much.
Get the most out of your stakeholders. Get them behind what your teams are doing. Make them allies and champions.
Get the most internal cultural value from the work your teams are doing. Communicate effectively.
Propose the best objectives for your Product Group
Lead your teams in unearthing big opportunities. Find the risky ones. Somehow make them happen. We will do everything we can to de risk, but we also fear perpetual optimisation.
As part of the Product leadership team, develop Product as an organisation.
Have worked with editorial departments and, ideally, with newsrooms.
Demonstrated experience and ability to lead and develop a team of product managers, aligned to a common goal centered around a vision
Strong verbal and written communication skills with experience to influence at all levels
Strengths in solving problems, issue resolution, attention to detail, and ability to multitask while maintaining a sense of humour
Ability to understand technical concepts, manage trade-offs and evaluate opportunities with internal partners
Ideally, familiarity with paid for subscription models and media, or at least have a strong sense of where big bets might pay off vs low level optimisation opportunities
Proven practitioner of product discovery and lean techniques
A proven track record of outcome data driven driven product development
Proven ability to work across a complex set of stakeholders and functions across all levels - from board members, to editorial and engineering
Track record of working across distributed teams with at least 5 years managing multiple teams of product managers
Strong track record of coaching and mentoring more junior product managers for success
Proven ability to effectively manage and grow a team. Experience building environments that are trusting, creative, challenging and psychologically safe.
An ability to secure top talent
A leading or emerging voice within the Product community
Resilient, collaborative, flexible and able to cope well in ambiguous situations.
What’s in it for you? Our Benefits
We are committed to providing a strong package across all our offices as well as an inclusive environment to develop your career. Examples of our benefits include: generous annual leave allowances, flexible working, medical cover, enhanced maternity & paternity packages and subsidised gym memberships. Full details of our benefits can be found here.