The Merger – Spend Matters Top Papers

In the run up to Christmas and my passing over the Spend Matters UK/Europe reins, we’re going to feature some of the briefing papers I’ve written over the last eight years. We’ll leave those published in 2018 – we will run thought those again in the first week of January to get you back into work mode and thinking about serious matters again.

Today, a “paper” that was a bit different. Written in conjunction with Steve Cobley of software firm Ivalua, The Merger was my first attempt at a piece of fiction, but one with a high procurement element. Did it work? Did readers enjoy the slight frisson of sexual tension between our two senior procurement leaders? Read for yourself (download it here) and decide…!  Here are a couple of short extracts to give you a flavour.


"This is a merger of equals,” said Andrew Hartson, CEO of RHS Foods. "Joining forces with Larousse Corporation will create one of the largest food manufacturing businesses in the world, with considerable synergies and great opportunities for new product development.”

Jim Roberts sighed as he read the latest press statement from Hartson. Yes, it was exciting, in a way, to be part of a deal that was headline news on the business pages and websites, but it brought a few concerns as well. He had been told what was going on a few weeks ago, but only a small team had actually got really involved with the deal, which was done with great secrecy to make sure no-one else could intervene before the deal was stitched up - perhaps with a counter-bid for Larousse. As the Group Procurement Director, Jim knew he was on the hook to play a major role post merger. That was exciting, but also a little scary. The meeting with the CFO, his boss, that morning had made both of those elements clear ..."

(And some weeks later …)

Gabrielle was animated now.

“That is so important, it means the CPO has to get involved. I think Louise is excellent from what I have seen, but the leadership must come from the top. You don’t have to be an IT geek – my degree was in History - but I think a good CPO has to understand what technology can bring. Sorry, I don’t mean to insult you Jim! But it’s true.”

He could see why she had made CPO at such a young age – the obvious passion combined by the air of competence made him feel a little inferior suddenly. Gabrielle continued, now in full flow.

“OK, look, I was not trying to embarrass you. I am sure you do many thing better than us. You’ve been a leader in category management in our industry, your SRM programme for instance looks very good. But it sounds like perhaps we have made better choices about the systems we need to support our work. But that is good – it means we will have more synergy opportunities when we put the two operations together.”

That’s all very well, thought Jim. But I’m not sure I’m going to be here to see that (…to be continued!)

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