Are You Chief Procurement Officer Material?

July 23, 2013

I was rooting around in the archives of Next Level Purchasing Association and Charles Dominick (you might want to check them out there is lots of great procurement advice there) and came across this little nugget which I wanted to pass along to our executive level readers who are looking at how to position themselves towards that big job in Procurement – The CPO.

What Do Companies Seek When Recruiting A CPO?

If you think that simply doing a “good job” will get you promoted to higher and higher procurement positions until you reach the CPO level, you may be in for an unpleasant surprise.  There are certain characteristics that make you “CPO material.”

“Getting to the CPO level is heavily influenced by transformational leadership skills, not just process knowledge,” according to Robert Rudzki, the President of Greybeard Advisors and former CPO of Bayer Corporation.  “Having good leadership and transformational ability, a collaborative style, and an innovative spirit is often times the single most important skill set that you’d have at the [CPO level],” he says, noting that CPO’s have subordinates skilled in the procurement process itself.

Rudzki has also noticed a difference in the characteristics of CPO’s who are promoted from within versus CPO’s who are hired from outside the company.  “For in-house candidates, what’s critically important is a track record of leadership success in the company.  Note that I did not say a track record of procurement leadership success in the company,” he stresses.  “Someone who has strong leadership skills – particularly as it relates to transforming functions and organizations – and has company internal knowledge can be a very strong internal candidate to become the next CPO, even if initially they know relatively little about modern procurement practices.” CPO Chief Procurement Officer

However, Rudzki observes that procurement knowledge is valued more by companies who hire external CPO’s.  When companies recruit externally, “the leading edge approach is to locate somebody who has proven themselves to understand supply management best practices and has demonstrated experience leading procurement transformations regardless of industry,” he explains.

Rudzki also advocates seeking out and accepting cross-functional job assignments as a step towards the CPO level, saying “In this world of cross-functional teaming and emphasis on broad-based leaders, you will enhance your upward mobility and, quite frankly, the value to your employer, by taking on job assignments that broaden your experience base and your understanding of how other functions in your company work.”

If you are a seasoned Procurement/Strategic Sourcing Executive, reach me at or take a moment to connect with me or bookmark my vCard

I am an extremely seasoned Recruiter in the Procurement space and have been instrumental through my network in finding talent for senior executives filling in their leadership teams. I am also very well versed in Contingent Staffing and how the NEW permanent workforce of the future can facilitate your bottom line needs

Over and out




Submit a Comment

You might also like…

Sign up for Argentus’ Market Watch newsletter

It only takes a moment. You’ll receive low-volume, high-impact market insights from the top specialty Supply Chain recruiters including: Salary Information, Supply Chain industry trends, Market Intelligence, personal branding tips and more.