The role of the chief procurement officer is changing. According to LinkedIn Economic Graph Research, CPO ranks 11 on the list of fastest growing C-suite titles of 2020, with 15% growth (as a proportion of total C-suite hires last year).The need for more — and more critically thinking — CPOs is accelerating, said Pettis Kent, assistant professor of supply chain management at Loyola University Chicago Quinlan School of Business.That’s especially true for "multinational companies where they need someone to stand at the intersection between what we need internally and what’s available externally," he said. "The CPO is the man or woman who manages that entire organization."More strategy, collaboration, and perhaps diversity and inclusion lies ahead for this expanding, and increasingly important, role.
Traditionally, CPOs have had one job and one job only: drive down costs. They’ve largely been successful at that, said Alex Zhong, supply chain lead at IBM Sterling, and it can be seen especially in the lower cost of consumer goods.But forward-thinking CPOs have already moved past the bottom line and "saw that only focusing on cost is definitely not sufficient. They need to step up even more in a strategic position to really support the business growth from a revenue perspective," he said.