Association of online publishers Helping media owners build better digital business

AOP appoints new Product Development Committee chair

Piers Jones
AOP has appointed Piers Jones, Head of Product Development, Guardian News & Media to Chair its Product Development Committee with immediate effect.

He succeeds Mary Beth (MB) Christie, Head of Product Management for FT.com, who was the first Committee Chair when the committee was formed by AOP in November 2009.

The AOP Product Development Committee is tasked with ensuring that digital publishers maximise value from their investments in technology. The Committee’s remit covers a range of subjects: from diversifying revenues, to emerging web technologies, product development best practice and product selection.

Product Managers bridge technical, editorial, design and marketing functions, orchestrating and co-ordinating with the needs of the audience in mind.

AOP also ran an event focussed specifically on this area in December 2010, entitled ‘the Secrets of Product Success’, believing this to be a critical area for publishers to launch and continually develop products and websites which are ultimately both commercially successful and suited to their target audience.

Lee Baker, Director of AOP says: “Our committees are our active touch-points to our members to develop the UK digital publishing industry. This Committee was borne out of a need for a common understanding of the roles and responsibilities of digital product managers - and it has proved a useful forum for this group to discuss key issues in this area”.

Piers was recently promoted to Head of Product Development at Guardian News and Media (GNM) and has been there for two years. He leads the Product Management team who work across GNM’s products including Guardian.co.uk, m.guardian.co.uk, jobs, dating and apps, including the iPhone app. Prior to moving to the Guardian News & Media, Piers worked at Reed Business Information, for nine years, in digital product, technology and strategy roles.

Piers Jones, new Product Development Committee Chair adds: “I’ve been part of this group since it started, and I’m delighted to be able to continue the excellent work that MB has started, helping the group to share information and best practice and to seek ways of further establishing the role of Product Management within the industry.”

MB Christie, former Product Development Committee Chair concludes: “It has been a pleasure chairing this group. I hope we have been able to encourage media owners to recognise the discipline as a critical part of their digital transformation. "

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