My way to the top - Sandy Duckett

29 April 2010

10 September 2009 | My way to the top

Buyers should face their fears, says Sandy Duckett, deputy group corporate services director at financial services firm Standard Life


For the greater good

Improving the performance of individuals and the organisation's bottom line profit motivates me.

As head of group procurement I have the scope to increase value, improve cash flow, reduce the expense-to-turnover ratio and ultimately improve the company's share price. I was recently promoted to deputy group corporate services director and have responsibility for Standard Life's insurance and business continuity planning.

I like developing my team and seeing them fulfil roles they were previously unable to carry out.

The grass can be greener

While I have benefited from a host of challenging roles in different businesses, I stayed with the same company too long. I probably would have gained more from moving to other firms earlier in my career.

If I could change something I would have studied for my professional accountancy exams far earlier in my career, because this would have presented me with other opportunities. That said, I have enjoyed my career to date and I've got no real complaints or regrets.

Face your fears

Ensure you take yourself out of your comfort zone. Real personal development is about doing things that you have never done before and anxiety over the unknown is only addressed when you tackle the things you fear.

For example, I gained invaluable experience when I moved away from procurement to a general management role.

You generally come out of it stronger, or you recognise what is not for you. Either way, you learn.

Promote the value agenda

In the current economic climate I believe there is a huge opportunity for procurement to promote the value agenda and avoid continuing to talk about cost only.

Only by delivering this will we ensure the value of the procurement function is recognised.


CV: Sandy Duckett

Career history:

2009-present: Deputy group corporate services director, Standard Life

2008-2009: Head of group purchasing, Standard Life

1978-2008: Various roles from accountancy trainee, senior buyer and procurement financial analyst through to purchasing director, Scottish Power


Education: Accountancy, Chartered Institute of Management Accountants; MBA, Heriot-Watt University

Hobbies: Family, home, football and holidays

Favourite films: Gladiator and The Deer Hunter

Favourite TV show: The Office

Most treasured possession: My iPod

Hero: My dad


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