Andrew Forzani Jets In As New Procurement Commander At UK Ministry Of Defence

Andrew Forzani has been appointed the new Ministry of Defence Chief Commercial Officer. He takes over from Steve Morgan, who we believe is retiring. Morgan joined MOD in 2013 under Les Mosco, and took over the top job in April 2015 when Mosco retired. Morgan had a long and successful career in the Canadian Military and then major UK infrastructure roles prior to MOD.

Forzani will move from DWP (Department of Work and Pensions) where he has been Chief Commercial Officer since October 2013, taking over then from David Smith. Forzani joined DWP earlier that year; prior to that he was procurement head at Epsom and Ewell Council then Surrey County Council. Forzani said this:

“I am delighted to be joining MOD as Chief Commercial Officer and taking on the challenge of leading what is the largest commercial function in Government. I’m absolutely passionate about the commercial profession and the impact that it can make to an organisation when it is done really well. That is why I’m so excited about joining MOD where commercial capability is clearly mission critical.”

So, in around 10 years, a journey from Epsom Council to the heights of MOD, probably the largest UK-based procurement organisation bar none, public or private sector – even if the MOD structure means that this role certainly doesn’t have anything like full control over military equipment acquisition, for instance.  However, the role has been redefined as Chief Commercial Officer rather than Commercial Director. That looks like just a small detail, but we understand it is to emphasise that the role does cover the whole commercial function/profession across Defence.

That is significant as no less than 1,000 commercial people work in the Defence Equipment & Support organisation, away from "head Office" but with a dotted functional line to the new Forzani role, so we guess MOD wants to emphasise that link. And if rumours that he will also sit on the MOD investment approval board are true, that will clearly give him some direct power which Morgan didn’t have.

So this is a big move and quite an achievement for Forzani, who last year married Laura Langstaff – who has also just announced a change of roles. It must have been an exciting last few months in that household! The MOD job was openly recruited apparently, and Forzani applied alongside candidates from public and private sector.

I first worked with him at Epsom, when I ran a workshop for him (as a consultant). He had a certain something about him – he challenged me on a few issues, and I remember saying to my wife “he’s treating me like a supplier”.  She pointed out that although I might have been a recent CIPS President at the time, in fact I was his supplier, and as the client, he had every right to make his opinions known! (Me, arrogant?) She was, as usual, quite correct and I quickly realised that his input was also very relevant and useful. He is not a CPO who makes a lot of noise about his achievements, but in our experience he is thoughtful, knowledgeable and effective.

DWP has gone through some challenging times, with the move to centralise much procurement of common goods and services under CCS and at the same time, manage some very sensitive DWP programmes that include considerable supplier criticality. The Work Programme is one of the most sensitive examples of major private sector involvement in a key policy initiative and has gone pretty well from a procurement point of view. Meanwhile the development of Universal Credit has been beset with delays - but we’ve not heard anything that has implicated procurement in that!

So Forzani has faced some interesting political and commercial challenges, experience he will need in MOD, we suspect. We wish him all the very best in the exciting new role, and also wish Steve Morgan a happy retirement, or a happy “whatever else he decides to do” - it is hard to see him sitting with his feet up somehow!

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Voices (3)

  1. J:

    Let’s just hope that he knows that Defence Commercial is not just DE&S… Unfortunately the author of this piece doesn’t seem to know that.

  2. Gillian Obasiagbon:

    A true inspiration.

  3. Final Furlong:

    Breathtaking, truly breathtaking.

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