Supply Management interview with Virgin Media procurement head

We might start a new feature here - we'll call it "questions I would have liked to ask".

Don't you sometimes see interviews - with politicians, music or film stars, procurement directors, and think "I would have really liked to ask him / her this question?"

Well, I do. So at least for interviews with a procurement context, we'll give it a go here.  We'll ask the questions and then see if the other party wants to reply;  guaranteed space here if they do.

And our first victim subject is  Amar Treon, Director of Procurement at Virgin Media,  who is interviewed in the current edition of Supply Management (online version here). Unfortunately, SM didn't ask all the questions I was longing to ask as I read the article, so we''ll do that now.

Treon has been at Virgin Media for 8 months, after a career in Finance. He "was running his own consultancy when asked to join Virgin".

1. So that sounds like it wasn't through a formal recruitment process - is that right?  In which case, why do you think they asked you? No offence, you're clearly a capable guy, but you've never worked in procurement before - what do you think got you the job?

2. David Noble, CIPS Chief Executive said that everyone doing procurement jobs should have a 'licence to practice'.

" There are huge numbers of people buying, committing their organisations with suppliers, without any formal purchasing or supply chain experience, which in the accountancy world would be fraudulent. One of my missions is to pioneer a licence to practice for this profession.”

You're not CIPS qualified (I assume) as you've never worked in the field before; what do you think of Noble's idea?

3. Personally I'm not a fan of the 'licence to practice' idea, so I'm not having a dig here. But how do you show stakeholders and staff that you can add real value when you're not a 'professional'?

4. How many Procurement Heads have the company had over the last 4 years or so? Hasn't there been rather a lot of turnover - do you think the company is really taking it seriously this time?

Over to you, Mr Treon. I'm not criticising you or your appointment, just genuinely interested how someone with your background ends up - and can then succeed - in a CPO role.

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