Board needs buyers

4 October 2006
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05 October 2006 | Rebecca Ellinor

Highly respected business and management guru Charles Handy told an audience of purchasers that many of them should have a seat on the board.

Addressing senior-level procurement professionals at the CIPS event in London last month, Handy said since most parts of a business can be outsourced, those who manage the outsourcers are core.

"They become some of the most important people in the organisation, and ought to be on the board," he said.

Speaking to SM after the event, Handy said it wasn't a blanket rule, but in many cases it would be appropriate.

"Having got rid of half of the people who work for you, but who still work for you elsewhere and are therefore still important to the company, the people who manage that - the purchasers - have a strategic job."

Asked why he thought there weren't already more examples of senior procurement professionals with a place on the board, he replied: "People are old-fashioned. Those at the top don't understand what important work is going on there [in procurement]."

During the evening, Handy gave a presentation and was then interviewed by procurement adviser and presenter Dick Russill.

Speaking about one of his latest books, The New Philanthropists, in which he features successful business executives who have all invested a proportion of their earnings to help those less fortunate than themselves, Handy suggested altruism and capitalism can go hand-in-hand.

When asked by Russill what those who might feel inadequate upon reading the book should do, Handy replied: "I believe there's an altruistic gene in all of us. Everyone here is competent if they unleash their talents somewhere else."


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