The CIPS Dinner – darling, it was wonderful!

From our Society Correspondent, Eddie Fortescue-Marlbury

The CIPS Annual Dinner was held last night at the simply lovely Hilton Hotel, Park Lane. Quite literally several hundred beautiful procurement professionals celebrated another stunning year for the profession, in a whirl of champagne, diamonds, lobsters and intrigue – sweeties, it was simply marvelous! !

Of course, the after-show parties are where it’s really at!! Whilst the dinner itself is moderately restrained, except for the odd young spend analyst dropping his trousers to win a small wager from his chums, it is after hours things really start hotting up when the serious players hit the town!!

David Noble, the elegant Chief Executive of CIPS, and noted international Baccarat expert, hosted the most glittering event, as his famous all-nighter in the penthouse suite saw an amazing galaxy of stars quaffing the finest magnums of Bolly, including Lady Gaga, Francis Maude, Pippa Middleton, Sir Ranulph Fiennes, and the energy category management team from Brown Industries.   Entertainment was provided by Sting (very tantric!), accompanied by the Massed Examiners of the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply Formation Zumba Team.

Meanwhile the CIPS “younger set” cast off their bow ties, cummerbunds and Surrey Branch cuff-links and “boogied” the night away at Boujis! Was that Paula Gildert, President of CIPS, discussing the economics of re-shoring industrial production  (given global currency and wage arbitrage issues), with a fascinated Prince Harry at the bar? Did we spot David Smith, CB, and Past President, demonstrating how to play that Keith Richards open G tuning chord to Taylor Swift, who looked simply entranced!!

OK, only joking. That’s my audition for Tatler magazine done. It would be fun if the world hung on every move the stars of our profession made though, wouldn’t it (!!)

So what was the dinner really like?

Very enjoyable without being particularly memorable, I think would be the diagnosis.  Numbers seemed slightly down but there were still around 500 people there. Paula Gildert opened the event with a decent speech, showing her customary passion, but her tribute to the recently retired Chair of Novartis raised a few eyebrows in the audience.

She is also I think she is missing a real theme for the year (in the way David Smith and others have had) which is a shame.  I’m sure she is doing a great job behind the scenes with CIPS, but she has another six months to make her Presidential mark a little more visibly, I’d suggest.

The after dinner speaker wasn't the BBC newsreader and journalist Huw Edwards, who had to go and cover the Pope story apparently, so we got Jeremy Vine instead.  He was amusing, with lots of jokes, and no real pretence at saying anything very specific about procurement.

No stories this time I’m afraid about strange ladies in lifts, being refused admission to the cocktail bar, and very intimidating looking “pizza delivery men”. That was last year, or course...

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