SAIC Names Karen Wheeler Chief Human Resources Officer

Northern Virginia-based Science Applications International Corporation (NYSE: SAIC) announced that Karen Wheeler, SAIC’s Chief Procurement Officer of nearly four years, has been promoted to Chief Human Resources Officer, effective February 4. Wheeler had been in her post as CPO since July of 2013 and in fact has been with SAIC since 1996, serving as a Contracts Director. As such, Wheeler brings more than two decades of contracting, procurement, and managerial experience to her new role where she will spearhead the company’s recruitment, retention, organizational development, and employee engagement efforts. Wheeler earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Radford University and a Juris Doctorate from the Catholic University of America.

Bombardier Reshuffles Management Deck, Promotes CPO to SVP

In late January, Bombardier, a Montreal-based manufacturer of aircraft and trains, announced that it will make a couple of changes to its executive leadership team, beginning with promoting Nico Buchholz, their CPO, to Senior Vice President of Strategic Initiatives, and tasking Jim Vounassis with dual-hatting as CPO and Chief Transformation Officer. In their new roles, Buchholz will help to further the company’s development in the air and rail sectors, while Vounassis will take over procurement duties from Buchholz while continuing to reduce company costs, increase efficiencies, and drive performance and growth.

Readers may be familiar with Buchholz, as we covered his previous promotion to CPO in the October 2015 edition of CPO News. Prior to joining Bombardier, Buchholz was the Executive Vice President of Fleet Management for Lufthansa, where as chief buyer, he helped to influence the development of the CS jetliner, the first of which were bought operated by Lufthansa. Vounassis has more than a decade of experience in the aerospace and defense (A&D), energy, and pharmaceutical industries, serving in various logistics, manufacturing, operations, and sourcing roles at Bombardier, Pratt & Whitney, and other companies.

CYBERCOM Establishing Rapid Procurement Office

Earlier this year, it was reported that the U.S. Military’s Cyber Command (CYBERCOM) will establish a dedicated acquisition office with the goal to expedite procurement activities to support the U.S. Military’s growing offensive and defensive cyber programs. Late last year, CYBERCOM received an initial $75 million budget allocation from the Defense Authorization Act to support its growing infrastructure and mission, and it will continue to receive this funding through at least 2021. With this year’s allocation, CYBERCOM is to hire a staff of 10, led by a Senior Executive Service member, along with contracting, general counsel, logistics, procurement, program management, and security personnel who will staff the office. They will also invest in infrastructure, systems, and capabilities. However, with the recent federal hiring freeze mandated by the new presidential administration, the immediate future of this new office is now uncertain.

U.S. Government Passes Legislation to End Modern Slavery

Late last year, the U.S. Government signed into law legislation intended to fight the scourge of modern slavery in global supply chains. The End Modern Slavery Initiative, spearheaded by Senator Bob Corker (R-TN), was included in the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, passed with overwhelming bi-partisan support, and signed into law by the outgoing presidential administration. The Initiative will establish a non-profit center in the District of Columbia that will match U.S. Government aid dollars with those from non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and foreign governmental agencies in a combined effort to fight global human trafficking and modern slavery. Examples of what the Initiative seeks to do include:

  • a 50% reduction in modern slavery where the Initiative operates;
  • fund the prevention, rescue, and long-term recovery of victims and the prosecution of perpetrators;
  • a fundraising goal of $1.5 billion, with more than 80% coming from matched donations from the private sector and foreign governments.

The Initiative will receive $250 million in initial funding from the U.S. Government over the next several years as it looks to see matching donations from NGOs and other governments to make up the difference.

And in Conflict Minerals Reporting News…

CFSI Releases Updated Conflict Minerals Reporting Template

Late last year, the Conflict-Free Sourcing Initiative (CFSI) released an updated template that organizations can use to report their due diligence efforts into conflict minerals sourcing. Version 4.20 of the Conflict Minerals Reporting Template (CMRT) features integration with Source Intelligence’s cloud-based information and risk management resources, including smelter and refiner databases and supply chain tracking systems. Specific updates include updates to the smelter/refiner lists, improved instruction translations, as well as clarified instructions. Look for further updates in April 2017.

Massachusetts to Consider Conflict Minerals Regulations

On January 12, it was reported that Governor Charlie Baker of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has signed legislation directing the Commonwealth to explore options to curtail its procurement of conflict minerals from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Under Gov. Baker’s directive, the state’s Executive Office for Administration and Finance will issue a report by February 1 on best practices to ensure that the state’s communications and electronics suppliers do not fund armed conflict in the DRC, can trace the origin of so-called conflict minerals (e.g., gold, tantalum), and can also provide raw materials that have been appropriately taxed. This report will also consider “the efficacy and implications” of punitive measures that can be levied against organizations that fail to comply with Federal regulations to report auditing results to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) – i.e., Section 1502 of the 2010 Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (aka, the Dodd-Frank Act).

Acting SEC Chair May Curtail Conflict Minerals Rule

Speaking of the SEC and conflict minerals, it was recently reported that Michael Piwowar, the Acting Chairman of the SEC, seeks to curtail key provisions of Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Act governing conflict minerals reporting. Piwowar has directed the SEC to find ways to ease reporting regulations on companies covered under the Section. This comes on the heals of the new Administration’s efforts to roll back other provisions of Dodd-Frank, including the “Resource Extraction” rule that mandates that oil and gas companies disclose payments to foreign governments in an effort to provide more transparency and curtail conflict of interest, real or perceived. It may also serve as a prelude for more executive action to directly overturn or rollback Section 1502 of Dodd-Frank. More on this to come.

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