The following is an excerpt from our latest report which looks at the key qualifications, experience and characteristics needed to ascend to the role of Chief Procurement Officer – The report – Becoming a Chief Procurement Officer – is available by clicking on the title (registration required); it was sponsored by BravoSolution.
“Being a Chief Procurement Officer has been one of the most interesting, diverse, challenging and satisfying professional activities for me. Supply chain and procurement touches everything in a company….. There are so many possibilities [for procurement] to create value.” Eric Beylier, Head of Global Supply Chain & Procurement (CPO), Tetra Technologies, Inc.
There are many factors that impact the role and duties of a Chief Procurement Officer including the industry, region, company size, executive orientation, and organizational design and reporting structure of the procurement department. External factors like the economy, business and global trends, and the supply base also shape the position. Broadly, the professional specifications of a CPO role (and the underlying skills required to perform in it) can be quite diverse. For example, CPOs of small procurement organizations often find themselves needing to perform in the role as a “player-coach” – someone who serves as the leader and “face” of the operation but also needs to do some of the team’s “heavy-lifting.” On the other hand, the CPOs of large, complex, global procurement operations require a breadth of skills and experience that can rival those needed for any other C-Level position, so much so, that many of these CPO positions offer annual compensation packages in and around the seven figure mark. While large differences can and do exist between CPO roles, there are also a common set of operating responsibilities and skills that are shared by a majority of CPOs in place today. Interestingly, while the path to a procurement leadership role is often enabled by technical and functional prowess, it is a CPO’s leadership, communication, and relationship-building skills coupled with a clear understanding of business fundamentals and an ability to offer insight in support of the development of business strategy that enables them to thrive and succeed in the role.