Dixons' CPO to head UK procurement for National Grid

15 February 2012

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16 February 2012 | Angeline Albert

Dixon Retail's CPO is leaving his role to lead the National Grid's direct purchasing operations in the UK from 1 May.  

After more than three years in the post at the consumer goods retailer, Rob Douglas told SM he is leaving to head up a team of 70 direct buyers, who purchase construction and engineering products and services for National Grid programmes.

Sarah Jurta will continue to manage the company’s indirect spend as head of UK indirect purchasing. Both Jurta and Douglas will report to the company’s global CPO Ray Schlaff. Meanwhile, Ross Turrini will continue to manage indirect and direct spend in the group’s US operations.

The National Grid’s vice-president of global procurement strategy Ray Hill has been temporarily managing direct purchasing in the UK. He will continue in his VP role.

The group’s UK purchasing team supports the construction of gas and electricity links, which includes future gas connections proposed between UK and other European countries. Buyers must also be ready to support government proposals to build between up to eight nuclear facilities in the UK.

Douglas said: “A major focus for me [at National Grid] is continuing to refine and embed category strategies. One challenge is the long lifespan of assets which may run for 50 years and understanding the total lifespan costs of assets. I originally worked as product purchasing manager at Ford in the UK, buying for car plants across Europe. I’m looking forward to being in an engineering environment again.”

At Dixons, Douglas’ team saved £28 million in 2010/11 helping towards the overall group target of saving £50 million a year for three years (up to 2013). He said that for 2011/12, the function is on target to save £25 million.

Douglas told SM: “In the past five years, Dixons has been an incredibly tough environment to work in, in terms of consumer sales, and procurement was able to deliver value.”

He said the category strategy process successfully embedded at Dixons will continue to deliver the retailer £25 million a year in savings. More than 95 per cent of the spend they manage is now covered by category strategy, he said.

Dixons is now seeking a successor for Douglas.  

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