Four ways to develop the partnership between CPO and CEO

Gurjit Degun
3 October 2014

The procurement profession needs more CPOs in the
c-suite, to continue to raise awareness of its role, attract top talent and deliver value to stakeholders to build a better relationship with CEOs.

That’s according to Babs Omotowa, managing director and CEO at Nigeria LNG and incoming CIPS President, who called on procurement to “raise our game and raise our voices”.

Speaking at the CIPS Annual Conference in London yesterday, Omotowa said there are four ways to develop the partnership between CPO and CEO:

We must have more CPOs in the c-suite. “We must move beyond cost reduction and drive value for shareholders and stakeholders.”

We must continue to raise the voice of the profession. “It is very important that we continue to raise the game of procurement and supply on an international level,” he said. "Procurement has a lot of value to add to the issues that global leaders are facing."

We must attract and develop the best talent. "Not just in procurement but also in marketing and those who are politically savvy," said Omotowa. "They should have the capacity to become a future CPO."

CPOs must look for the opportunities to deliver stakeholder value. "Focus on the challenges that CEOs are confronted with daily such as poverty, unemployment, infrastructure, consumer expectations, child labour and corruption", he said.

Omotowa also said procurement professionals need to adapt to the various agenda of a CEO. For example, he explained that a CEO will have a different priorities during an economic crisis.

“CPOs have to be very proactive, they have to run programmes and be able to drive double digit savings in goods and services sourcing – that is very important and is something procurement organisations and CPOs must continue to do always,” he said.

But he added CPOs should not just focus on cost reduction. “The CPO’s agenda is not always about downturn and survival,” he said. “CPOs have to look at exploring new frontiers such as creating competition, gaining new markets, developing new products – these are much more important.”

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