LG and Thomas Linton — Proof of the Global Battle for Top Procurement Talent

I know a good many CPOs currently looking for work or, shall I say, actively keeping their options open. Perhaps those who hold out longest given the rising demand for global talent in procurement will do the best. One such leader is Thomas Linton, formerly Agere's CPO. I recently read an article where he talked about savings goals for his new employer, LG Electronics and it made me remember that my firm had previously named him one of the top 75 or so practitioner influencers a few years back. At the time, Linton was at Agere (with backgrounds and past affiliations with e2Open and IBM). One person we interviewed at the time, a journalist, suggested "people knew him from his work with E2Open ... [he was] a real visionary when it comes to integrating sourcing and Asian supply chain management efforts." A former industry analyst who was also part of our research volunteered that Linton had a "well rounded background and known for his technology knowledge and capability to drive supply chain transformation ... he's really done amazing things with Agere as they have moved to a virtual manufacturing model."

Flash forward a few years and look where he is. Linton is now CPO for LG Electronics where he "expects to save $1 billion" the above-linked Korea Times article notes (and that's in addition to a previously promised $2.2 billion). In the article, Linton notes they'll achieve this savings from "greater results with our suppliers by improving our distribution system and reining in spending on the logistics side." The story notes that since joining LG as CPO in January 2008, Linton has worked to "standardize the hodgepodge of procurement processes and systems that LG has developed around the world ... Under his leadership, LG's purchasing system was realigned by commodity across five different business units and was separated among factories and subsidiaries in 110 countries." Why did LG look outside of Seoul for its new CPO? The current CEO "looked for top talent regardless of nationality, as he believed LG needed to be a trendsetter amid the convergence moves of the Digital Age." Granted, LG is a forward thinking company and hiring Linton fit into this vision. But I can't believe this is not a trend we'll see more of in the future. For top performers, there is truly a global market for talent.

Jason Busch

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