In less than a decade at Lucent, Jose Mejia led a complete Spend Management transformation that not only radically altered the role of procurement, but quite possibly saved the venerable high tech giant itself. According to Purchasing, "Mejia's supply chain initiatives resulted in Lucent cutting materials costs by 55%, reducing inventory levels and improving profit margins on new products from the teens in 1999 to 42% in 2005." But in my opinion, Mejia's most significant contribution to Lucent -- and indeed the industry as a whole -- was recognizing what parts of procurement were strategic to keep in-house, versus those that were not. For those categories which Mejia decided to maintain direct control over, he hired the best and the brightest, cleaning shop and attracting a new level of analytical talent which might otherwise have gone into consulting or finance. But for less strategic indirect categories, Lucent outsourced much of the procurement function to Alliente -- which was later acquired by Ariba -- exceeding savings targets on over a dozen categories of spend. If you're curious to learn more about Mejia's past record and future role at his new venture, Spansion, check out the full announcement here.