Universal purchasing chief retires

15 December 2005
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15 December 2005 | Rebecca Ellinor

Last chance for recruiters
posted 5:31pm 18/1/06

After just shy of 20 years at Universal (formerly PolyGram) he has seen annual savings go from £50,000 to £1.5 million. He managed to reach areas of spend previously untouched by procurement - a fact demonstrated by Universal's win at this year's CIPS Supply Management Awards.

"It's a job I've always enjoyed doing, particularly at Universal, because they give me the freedom to do the job as long as I deliver," he said.

Richards established the company's first group purchasing department and, in preparation for his departure, he outsourced much of it to buyingTeam in 2002. They will now report to a new manager.

But, like so many others, he fell into procurement by chance.

"I left school with two choices - to get a job or work with my Dad. In Wembley there were three factories, one of which was GEC. I was introduced to the chief buyer who took me on."

Richards believes the job has changed a great deal: "Buyers today are more professional and they've earned the respect of their peers as a result."

He is now looking forward to learning the finer points of golf and travelling with his wife.

Have you been a buyer for longer than Mike, or do you know someone who has? Call the SM news team on 020 7324 2743.

CAREER FILE - Mike Richards

1986-2005 Universal Music Group - group purchasing manager 1985-86 Various temporary assignments including work for Ciba-Geigy 1980-85 Downs Surgical (Smiths Industries) - chief buyer; purchasing manager; appointed general manager of the procurement division in 1982 1978-79 Link Paper (Inveresk Group) - operations manager 1967-78 3M UK - assistant purchasing officer, print and stationery; print co-ordination officer; senior purchasing officer, administration; manager purchasing services 1965-67 Fuller Electric (Hawker Siddeley Group) - raw materials buyer 1964-65 Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing Co - assistant purchasing officer, packaging and print 1959-64 GEC - Progress chaser, buyer



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