Steve Bagshaw leaves Supply Management – what is his legacy?

Hey! No-one told me until last Thursday (when someone told me...) that Steve Bagshaw, Managing Editor of Supply Management / Redactive has resigned. He’s gone to run the European arm of Leading Authorities, a substantial US based speakers bureau who provide famous / successful people for speaking engagements. I understand he has some connection with that business through his partner.

Leading Authorities seems like a really interesting business – pretty substantial by the look of their website, and probably an under-developed market this side of the Atlantic. So good luck to Mr Bagshaw with that.

Steve Bagshaw

It’s hard for me to comment dispassionately on his time at Redactive, as he refused to feature anything connected with me or Spend Matters once we became a commercial operation because we were “competition”.  So although we feature interesting material from Supply Management when appropriate, they won’t mention us even when we have a story that gets picked up by the Times for instance!

That stance was, I felt, just about understandable from a short term Redactive business point of view. But I'm convinced it was, and is, the wrong strategy for CIPS in terms of the Institute’s potential  positioning at the centre of the procurement world. Anyway, enough of that...

We also featured recently the failure of CPO Agenda, and the comment we had on our post from Jon Hughes indicated that Bagshaw didn’t always have the best track record of influencing and  making use of key people in the profession, who could have contributed more to the “body of knowledge” CIPS is supposed to develop and promote.

I was never convinced Bagshaw actually felt any affinity with procurement in the way his predecessor, Geraint John did – as evidenced by John going off to join State of Flux,  a procurement consulting organisation, when he left Supply Management. Contrast that with Bagshaw’s  move into a totally different area. He stepped back from writing much some years ago, and never contributed any original thinking we’re aware of to the profession. Of course, that’s not really an editor’s role, and he was – or is – a good general “business person”, probably stronger in that sense than his predecessor.

I don't want this to sound like a purely critical piece, because I do think he brought some real strengths to the role. So on the positive side, he modernised the Supply Management magazine, and made the website a much more dynamic and useful resource. He managed the business through a difficult time, with the advertising revenue that Supply Management used to rely on collapsing, though no fault of his.  He successfully found other sources of revenue – special supplements to the magazine, international development, and indeed webinars and sponsorship type options not a million miles away from those pioneered by Jason Busch and others in the US.

Perhaps most impressively, he positioned Redactive as an absolutely essential partner for CIPS, moving beyond publishing into being a recruitment partner for the Institute through the Supply Management  Jobs Board, running the SM Awards event (very successfully) and now taking over the CIPS conference and dinner business as well. We might question whether CIPS should put quite as many of its eggs in the Redactive basket, but all credit to Bagshaw for putting his firm into such a strong position.

He leaves the magazine in Rebecca Ellinor’s very capable hands – she’s been editing it for some time anyway. And a new Publishing Director, Joanna Marsh, has been appointed – she’s been Redactive’s Advertising and Commercial Director for some years.  We wish Bagshaw, Ellinor and Marsh well, and I look forward to speaking to the new boss about a more positive mutual relationship between Supply Management, CIPS and Spend Matters!

(On a personal note, Steve and I had a fun evening at a CIPS Council meeting about 10 years ago when we found a table tennis table in the hotel after the pre-Council dinner.  My goodness, it got competitive!  We were both decent players in our youth, he had played at County level, which I didn't, we were both a bit out of practice, but when I won 29-27 in the final set it was one of the great sporting moments in my life. Thanks for that happy memory Steve!)

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Voices (6)

  1. Steve Bagshaw:

    I would like to thank Peter for his contributions to SM etc over the years. Indeed on one particular occasion his intervention was a huge help to the magazine. And for his kind words regarding the magazine’s recent past and my role in it.
    I wish Redactive, CIPS and Spend Matters well. There is sufficient room for all in the sector and a bit of competition is good for all concerned.
    Looking to the future, Spend Matters has for a couple of year been serving (ping pong style) critical balls which my previous position has prevented me returning. And while I think rehashing these tired old points now to be fruitless, a more positive relationship going forward could see the subjects of blogs contacted to check facts before publishing. To that end let me correct one substantial inaccuracy in Peter’s otherwise balanced piece. Leading Authorities has no connection whatsoever to my wife’s business. Yes, they
    are both American, but that is as far as it goes. I find a failure to check this claim (and indeed the absence of an attempt to do so) highly surprising in the current media landscape. You could put that down, I suppose, to having no real affinity with journalism.
    But overall our relationship has been positive and I don’t see any good reason why the occasional disagreement should overshadow that. Happy Christmas.

    1. Peter Smith:

      I do sincerely apologise Steve – I was told that (the link with your wife) by a good authority (no pun intended)! Actually, obviously wasn’t a good authority.. And you’re right, if I were a proper journalist I would have fact checked it much more thoroughly! Basically, I need an Editor…
      Same comment applies though – Leading Authorities looks like a very interesting business and I suspect you will take them to greater heights this side of the Atlantic. Good luck with that, all the best and Happy Christmas to you!

  2. Ellen Leith:

    : )

    Thanks! Have a good one. E

  3. Ellen Leith:


    Still while we’re at it, you never mention APN or me….and I do sometimes re-tweet you etc… : S

    1. Peter Smith:

      I’ll see if I can put that right in the New Year!

  4. bitter and twisted:

    SMs blog sectiom truly dismal.

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