CIPS News


Part 4: State of the Procurement Profession: CPOs with C-SUITE and CEO ambitions must aim to become Chief Supply Chain Officers

CIPS 12 November 2012

Part 4: State of the Procurement Profession: CPOs with C-SUITE and CEO ambitions must aim to become Chief Supply Chain Officers

Without doubt, the Chief executive officer (“CEO”) and other C-Suite organizational leaders recognize the strategic value in procurement. However, the global dilemma these decision makers face is whether current Chief procurement officers (“CPO’) are adequately equipped with the right strategic and board level skills to officially be admitted into their high level discussion forums.  

Today, rather than officially appointing CPOs to the C-SUITE of organizational leaders, it is increasingly becoming the norm for companies to appoint Chief Supply chain officers (CSCO) with some understanding of procurement and supply chain management. Prominent examples from the random survey of global companies with hundreds of billions dollars in combined annual revenues include:

1. Pier Luigi Sigismondi, Chief supply chain officer, Unilever

2. Rick Ciccone, Chief supply chain officer, Macain Foods

3. Tony van Kralingen, SAB Miller. (Also responsible for both supply chain and human resources)

4. Rich Beck, Senior Vice President, Global Supply Chain Operations, PepsiCo

5. Regine Stachelhaus** .Corporate Procurement, EON

6. John Church* Senior Vice President, Supply Chain General Mills

7. Roger Connor, President Designate, Global Manufacturing & Supply, (GMS) GSK

8. Randy Rotermund, Supply chain director, Sappi Europe

9. Robert (Bob) Gorski, Executive Vice President, Integrated Supply Chain, Kraft Foods

10. Steven Retzlaff, President Global Sourcing & Cocoa, Barry Callebaut

11. Kath Harmeston, Director of Procurement, Royal Mail Group

12. Nat Maelane, Director Regional Procurement SAPPI –Southern Africa

13. KM Cele Vice President Procurement and Logistics Foskor(Fertilizer)-South Africa

14. Bob Ostryniec, Chief supply chain officer & global ERM,J. Heinz

15. Drikus Lubbe. Executive Supply chain and CIS- Clover South Africa

16. David Gosnell President, Global Supply and Procurement, Diageo

17. Dan Marokane— Group Executive, Technology and Commercial-Eskom South Africa

18. Willie A. Deese Executive Vice President and President, Merck Manufacturing and Supply 

19. Patrick Sithole, Group supply chain executive-Tiger Brands South Africa

20. Francisco Javier Garcia Sanz- Procurement-Volkswagen

21. Tony Milikin Chief Procurement Officer, ABInbev

22. Frank Crespo Vice president and Chief Procurement Officer, Caterpillar (reports to Edward Rapp, the CFO)

23. Carol Williams Executive Vice President Manufacturing & Engineering, Supply Chain,  DOW

24. Darryl S. Stann Vice President, Procurement, Potash Corp (Fertilizer)-Canada

25. Ed Kolodzieski  Executive Vice President, Global Sourcing, Wal-Mart

26. Philippe Boisseau, President, Supply & Marketing-Total

27. Dr. Wolfgang Bernhard Manufacturing and Procurement Mercedes-Benz Cars & Mercedes-Benz Vans

28. Heribert Göggerle Executive Vice President, Supply Operations. Fujitsu

It is interesting to note that:

a) Far less than 10% of these global corporations have an EXCO representative with the title of a CPO or Executive Director of procurement

b) Over 50% of the related titles examined included “supply chain” and not procurement.

c) In organizations where there is a Chief supply chain officer at EXCO level, there is increasingly no Chief Operating Officer. 


The findings are statistically significant and generally in line with Boris Groysberg, L. Kevin Kelly, and Bryan MacDonald’  March 2011 article in Harvard Business review entitled The New Path to the C-Suite

In conclusion, the random survey shows that: 

a) The Chief supply chain officer is progressively becoming the procurement representative among C-Suite leaders.

b) The CPO title is politely rebuffed at EXCO level because of varying definitions and sometimes reckless use  by lower level and inexperienced practitioners

c) The Chief supply chain officer may be gradually replacing the Chief operating officer.  

d) The rapid acceptance of the Chief Supply chain officer at executive committee level is an opportunity for the bold, confident, strategically minded, and knowledgeable and value adding procurement professional with EXCO and even CEO ambitions. After all, supply chain management has strong historical roots in purchasing and later procurement.

e) With the right industry relevant:

I. Educational and training curricula from affiliated institutions of  higher learning

II. Comprehensive thought leading professional codes of ethics and conduct from the overseeing professional bodies,

III. Executive level coaching,

the transition by discerning procurers from management committee (MANCOM) participants to Chief supply chain officers operating at executive committee (EXCO) level should be much smoother and more importantly authoritatively recognized for strategic value add.

Dr Boateng is a fellow of CIPS, a fellow of IOD UK and Southern Africa, and current non-executive chairman of the CIPS Africa Advisory Board. He is also the UK Institute of Operations Management Distinguished extraordinary Africa chair in operations and supply chain management professional development, a fellow of the Chartered Management Institute, Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport and President of the Institute of Operations Management Africa. He is the CEO of the PanAvest partnership; a vertical specific human capital development organization.

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