Down the Procurement Pub with Lawson, Tyldesley, Passports and Courtney Barnett

This is me lunching at the Great Fosters Tudor Room restaurant this week near Egham – a celebration, for reasons we aren't going to mention, but we thought we would try one of the few Michelin starred restaurants in our vicinity. But strangely, it does not seem to be even listed in the Good Food Guide. Based on our lunch, Michelin has got it right – very impressive, and not cheap but actually good value for lunch, lovely food, excellent service ...

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We reported last week that one of Malcolm Harrison’s top team at Crown Commercial Services is following him out and we can confirm that it is Peter Lawson, who heads up the people / professional services “super-category”.  His departure is nothing suspicious – he and his wife are retiring (in some sense) and he told us he has “substantive plans for retirement” but they didn’t involve the “corporate world”. So not just knocking a ball around the golf links, we suspect.  Doing the weekly commute down to London from Scotland can’t have been much fun for him, certainly, and we wish him well for the future. It’s not great news for CCS though.

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Another individual making an interesting move is Louise Tyldesley, procurement analytics and tech leader at global advertising giant, WPP.  We first met her when she spoke at a BravoSolution event some years ago, and were impressed by her grasp of the technology side of things but also the need to handle stakeholders effectively to make a success of procurement tech programmes. (She was a really  good speaker too).

Anyway, she is going over to the solution provider side, joining SAP Ariba in what sounds like a “customer success” role – not sales as such, but helping customers get the most out of their SAP Ariba products. Good luck to her and credit to the firm for recognising that procurement practitioners are well placed to help other practitioners get the most from their tech investments! Here she is (on the right as you look at it) with her colleague Alex recently. They’re not in a pub. Really they're not (#fakenews).

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Much sound and fury around the news that the British passport might be produced by a foreign firm.  Gemalto, listed on the Amsterdam and Paris stock exchanges, is close to signing the contract apparently, after putting in a lower price than De La Rue, the current (British) supplier. However, Minister Matt Hancock says the procurement process isn’t completed yet. But while the news brought calls for public procurement to favour British firms, anyone thinking that will happen post-Brexit is delusional given the likely shape of ongoing trade agreements. More on this next week.

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I didn’t vote in the referendum (away from home, bad planning and no postal vote) but genuinely wasn’t sure which way I would have gone – I could see both sides of the argument, and still can frankly. But if you want an argument in favour of Brexit, Jean-Claude Juncker’s obsequious letter to Vladimir Putin this week provides some ammunition for those who want to get as far away as possible from unelected, arrogant, over-powerful eurocrats like him. “I wish to convey my congratulations on your re-election … I wish you every success in carrying out your high responsibilities”.

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Courtney Barnett’s debut album was one of our favourites of 2015 and her follow-up is out soon. (Is it really three years? Good grief!) Based on the couple of tracks out as tasters, including this one, it should be very good – perhaps a little tougher and more obviously rock then her previous somewhat folkier work, but her lyrics remain well worth taking in. Love the understated organ on this too.

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