CPOs in the C-suite: The chief procurement officer has achieved strategic importance and more visibility. What comes next?

The strategic importance of the supply chain is moving chief procurement officers into the spotlight. Can this open a career path to the top?

Across industries, the supply chain offers distinct competitive advantages such as cost-effectiveness and the social responsibility and environmental impact of material sourcing. Given the greater strategic importance of the supply chain, the chief procurement officer (CPO) is moving from a behind-the-scenes role into the spotlight at many organizations. An industry survey of CPOs (and those with similar titles, such as chief purchasing officer) shows that 82% have direct access to the CEO, an increase from 60% in 1999.

Drawing from Korn Ferry’s work with CPOs and research in leadership development, this white paper reveals the profile of a best in class CPO, including the leadership style, thinking style, and emotional competencies needed to be successful in this role. Further, a comparison of the CPO profile with the styles and competencies of a COO and CEO reveals common strengths, as well as gaps to be bridged. With these insights, CPOs who have their sights on moving into top leadership can become more deliberate in their career development, to improve their readiness to make such a move. 

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