Hall of fame

22 June 2010
Sick of the World Cup yet? Never! HT derives great pleasure in finding procurement professionals who have unusual hobbies and interests. Imagine our excitement, then, to discover that Brian Hall, former vice-president of procurement for Visa, used to be a FIFA referee. In the two years running up to the 2002 World Cup the American executive trained for four hours a day, at the same time as working 8am-7pm in his day job. The path to refereeing greatness is a tough one, and refs have to go through rigorous fitness tests before they are deemed worthy to go out on the pitch and monitor the flighty players and their egos. HT wonders what procurement skills Hall brought to the beautiful game. Negotiation can’t have come into it much, refereeing being more of a “my word is final”-type job. Commercial acumen? Not really relevant. In-depth knowledge of contract law? No again. Supplier management skills…? Getting colder. OK, how about a good head for strategy? Yes, that could come in handy to anticipate where the ball’s going to go next. Management and leadership skills? The ref does have to work with two assistant referees. And an ability to make good decisions – and to be answerable for them? Well, that probably tops the list. So what would Hall have taken from the pitch to the office? The ability to shout loudly, brandish little bits of card and blow a whistle. Could be useful in more heated meetings.
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