The Path To Becoming A CPO, Part II

In Part I of this series, I shared some interesting statistics on the qualifications of today’s Procurement Vice Presidents and Chief Procurement Officers. In this Part II, I’ll share with you some additional findings on CPO qualifications.

These findings were gathered by examining 13 of the most publicized CPO hirings in recent years. Specifically, these are the CPO hirings we looked at:

Company | Date
BP plc | 2005
Chevron | Jan. 2005
Sara Lee Corporation | Mar. 2005
Tyco International | Jan. 2006
Dean Foods | Dec. 2006
Constellation Energy | Feb. 2007
Nortel Networks | Apr. 2007
Comcast | Apr. 2007
United Airlines | Sep. 2007
Goodyear Tire & Rubber | Sep. 2007
WellPoint, Inc. | Jul. 2008
Bristol-Myers Squibb | Jul. 2008
Chrysler | Dec. 2008

It should be noted that these 13 companies account for over three-quarters of a trillion US Dollars in annual revenue. So, they are leading companies and we can learn a lot from them.

We looked at three characteristics of the CPO’s that were appointed:

1. Whether they were promoted from within (came from the same company);
2. Whether they held a procurement position immediately prior to being appointed CPO; and
3. Whether they came from a similar industry

Please note that those who were promoted from within were considered to have come from a similar industry.

Here is what we found…

• Six of the 13 were promoted from within
• Eight of the 13 held a procurement position immediately prior to being appointed CPO
• Ten of the 13 came from a similar industry
• All who switched industries had a procurement background
• Only 1 who switched companies lacked a procurement background
• Four of the six who were promoted from within were not in a procurement position immediately prior to being appointed CPO

So what conclusions can we draw?

1. Like the transformational leadership skills described in Part I, industry expertise is very important
2. It is certainly possible to be promoted from within to the CPO position
3. When senior management gets to observe excellent leadership skills on a first-hand basis, that will lead senior management to considering promoting you from within to the CPO position, even if you don’t come from a procurement background
4. When senior management recruits you from another company and, therefore, did not have the opportunity to observe your leadership skills on a first-hand basis, a track record of procurement results matters quite a bit

Still quiet here.sas

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