Richard Masser, CIPS President – Entrepreneur, Chief Executive and Procurement Professional (part 2)

In part one of our conversation with Richard Masser, we looked at his career to date and identified his probably unique background for a CIPS President. He worked his way up through procurement and supply chain roles into general management, and also has an entrepreneurial success to his name.

We asked him what he thought this gave him in terms of his contribution to CIPS. "I hope to inspire people through the demonstrable progress I have made, to show the importance of training and education. I lead by "doing what I say", not flowery language, so it is a pragmatic message".

As we said in part 1, he should go down well with many members given his background and very genuine attitude. His theme for the year is "putting procurement at the heart of the organisation". He wants every organisation to recognise the importance of procurement, and members to demonstrate the value they bring - "be courageous, get the message out, understand what you can do and deliver".

They are all good messages to be sure, but are they too generic, I wondered - and seem close to some previous Presidential themes? Masser believes it is a coherent theme that does convert into real actionable ideas that members can take away - he has put this together into a presentation and says, "you should come to one of the branch meetings to see how this all fits together". We hope to do just that!

His thoughts about the opportunity for procurement people to be “intrapreneurs” are certainly thought-provoking, and we would hope he puts these at the heart of his message. There is some more about his interesting thinking in this area in the current Supply Management magazine too (page 47), where has says the qualities that make a good entrepreneur can also be very valuable in-house, and that procurement people are well-placed to fulfil this role. The intrinsically outward-facing nature of procurement should indeed help us to do this.

We talked about the CIPS licence to practice idea, and not surprisingly he is an advocate. "Licensing can make a real difference, along with developing the Chartered status. If you look at the real issues globally around bribery, slavery, ethics in the retail supply chain, procurement has a key role to play and we should look to grow our professionalism".

Where does he see the opportunities for CIPS? Again, he comes back to education and the chance to "bring people to a different level, and make sure our professionals are current in their thinking and knowledge". We are increasingly influential in governments, getting real traction at those levels. "We must make sure the training is current and appropriate, and look to be influential on a much greater scale".

Masser says he has "loved every minute" of his involvement with CIPS. When he is asked what the challenges or risks to the Institute might be, his optimism about CIPS and the profession is obvious. "We need to stay ahead of the curve to be the voice of the profession" he says, but really, he appears very confident of CIPS’ future and does not seem to see too many dangers ahead.

Masser will be attending conferences and branch events in Australia, South Africa, and Turkey at a minimum, as well as a good number in the UK, and supporting events such as the Fellows of the Future. His Presidential theme is one that we suspect will come over better in those forums than as a soundbite, so it would be good if as many members as possible can get along to hear him. And Masser - lifetime procurement professional, general manager and risk-taking entrepreneur - is a worthy President and a strong role model for the membership.

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