Does the "CPO" Title Really Mean Anything?

Earlier today, I found this article in The Globe and Mail about the frequency with which c-level titles are being thrown around inside the executive suite these days. The story describes how: "telephone equipment maker Nortel Networks Corp. is a big fan of the C-title." How much of a fan? "There are eight senior executives with the chief title, though three of them -- the chief ethics officer, chief procurement officer and chief information officer -- do not report to CEO Mike Zafirovski." Now more than ever, I believe that procurement requires a seat at the executive table -- if not the boardroom. But tossing around titles for titles sake is a fruitless exercise. Just like grade inflation at colleges where the "average" mark at many top universities is a B+, companies should not inflate titles without a commensurate increase in responsibility. And most important, they should elevate the role of Spend Management in practice relative to other areas of the business. After all, elevation implies a rise, not just maintaining parity.

Jason Busch

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