10 Procurement leaders we’re watching in 2021

January 6, 2021

There are 10 procurement leaders that we’re excited to follow in 2021—here’s why. 

2020 is a year most people are excited to close the door on. However, for procurement and supply-chain teams, the COVID-19 pandemic has shown a spotlight on the importance and impact of their function to the business. 

In 2020, the procurement department has kept businesses running as they’ve tackled sourcing and logistical problems, and identified new suppliers—all while managing costs, risk, and stakeholder needs. In 2021 and years to come, procurement will need to continue its role in the spotlight, helping companies reimagine not just how companies purchase goods and services, but from whom, including diverse businesses, and how to ensure the use of sustainable practices. 

At Fairmarkit, we are continuously inspired by the procurement leaders that are driving these strategies. They push their companies forward and are leaders of innovation, supplier diversity, risk-mitigation, and sustainability. Here are ten leaders that we are excited to watch and follow in 2021. 

Tom Nash

Tom Nash is the Chief Procurement officer (CPO) of the American Red Cross. At an organization of 25,000 employees and half a million volunteers, Tom works to make it easy for them to make the right purchasing decisions. Landing a P2P change is always a challenge, but Tom and his team nailed their July 2020 Coupa go-live. Read his interview with Beroe to learn more about his thoughts on the “Purchasing Influence Model” and his keys to success as a procurement leader. 

Lynn Torrel

Lynn Torrel is the Chief Supply Chain and Procurement Officer at Flex. Torrel is leading a phased digital transformation, focusing on improving local and global data visibility and spend management innovation

Michael Leiken 

Michael Leiken is the Senior Director, Spend Management at LendingTree. He led the LendingTree procurement team to first place in the 2020 CPO Honors in the category of Best Team Performance. 

Jim Gillespie

Jim Gillespie, VP of Global Sourcing at Fiserv, is leveraging technology to further expand competition among strategic suppliers, without requiring the addition of headcount. Prior to Fiserv, Gillespie spent 5 years as the VP, Global Head of e-Procurement Solutions and Operations at AIG where he led the deployment and support of e-Procurement tools on a global basis. At Ariba Live in 2015, he spoke about AIG’s procurement journey and digital transformation. “As sourcing professionals … we have the ability to make an impact on our businesses and we need to go do that,” Gillespie said, “It’s not all about the technology. It’s about the partnerships you form with the organizations in your firms.”

Adnan Rizvi

Adnan Rizvi, Chief Procurement Officer (CPO) at Akamai Technologies, manages the global procurement organization, the travel and contingent worker programs, and the corporate social responsibility programs as it relates to supplier spending. He is also working to reduce supply-chain risk with a technology-first approach. Prior to his current role, Rizvi held various procurement leadership roles at Cisco, Flextronics, and realtor.com.

Rachael Legg

Rachael Legg, Chief Procurement Officer (CPO) at Johnson Matthey, was tasked with centralizing the procurement efforts from a complete de-centralized process after joining in 2017. Since then, she has received truly exceptional results, being named to the CIPS Procurement Power List in 2019 and Johnson Matthey winning the CIPS Excellence in Procurement Award for 2020. Under her leadership, the team has delivered savings of more than $80 million and the function is on target to deliver $134 million savings by April 2023.

Anne Lacheze-Watine

Anne Lacheze-Watine is the Global Head of Procurement Excellence at Sanofi. She is focused on utilizing technology to off-load manual tasks, which in return will ensure Sanofi employees are focused on strategic and innovative projects that increase the organization’s competitive advantage and end-user experience. 

Jim Connell

Jim Connell is the Chief Procurement Officer (CPO) at JP Morgan Chase. Connell is innovating the Gold Supplier Program to enhance strategic alignment, supplier engagement, and stakeholder feedback. 

Mary Palermo

Mary Palermo is the Chief Procurement Officer (CPO) at Kronos Incorporated and Ultimate Software. Palermo is leading the post-merger integration and establishment of procurement processes between Kronos and Ultimate Software. 

Cheryl Harris

Cheryl Harris is the Senior Vice President of Procurement at Allstate and oversees Allstate’s Supplier Diversity program, which is focused on increasing the participation of minority-, LGBT-, veteran- and women-owned businesses in the company’s supply chain. Harris also led the largest ever corporate bond deal with only diverse supplier participation. “It’s just a part of who I am, and I believe it’s now my responsibility and I’m accountable to make sure that minority, women and LGBT businesses—really, any business considered to be ‘disadvantaged’—has an opportunity to be included and have a seat at the table,” says Cheryl in an interview with DiversityInc. 

Expert procurement and supply-chain tips sent straight to your inbox.