DHR International Places Chief Procurement Officer at Tata Motors

June 8, 2017 – On the heels of finding Tata Motors’ new CEO, DHR International has recruited former Ford executive Tom Flack as chief procurement officer for the company. He will report directly to CEO Guenter Butschek. Frank Smeekes, DHR’s European managing director, led the assignment.

“I am more than happy with the performance of Frank Smeekes and the DHR International team with this challenging search,” said Mr. Butschek. “To find Tom, the team talked to over 100 sources and candidates in the automotive industry from six different regions, proving DHR’s dedication and true global network. Tom Flack has just jump-started his new assignment at Tata Motors and we are very comfortable with him as our new chief procurement officer.”

Automotive Veteran

Mr. Flack spent 14 years at Ford, most recently as the global purchasing director, raw materials & stampings. At Ford, he started as a buyer, became the purchasing manager, then was named senior manager of purchasing powertrain installations, the senior manager of purchasing strategy and eventually, the purchasing director of the Asia-Pacific programs. Early in his career, he was the director and COO of Optimal CAE.

Last year, DHR recruited Mr. Butschek as CEO of Tata Motors. Mr. Smeekes led that global assignment along with Amélie Bonneville, director talent acquisition (Europe), and Lorenz Pestinger, vice president of talent acquisition (Asia-Pacific).

Tata Motors, a $42 billion organization, is a global automobile manufacturer of cars, utility vehicles, buses, trucks and defense vehicles. The company went international in 1961, and it now sells vehicles in more than 50 countries, employing upwards of 60,000 people worldwide.

The Search Firm

Consultants in DHR’s consumer practice group have extensive experience providing executive search and leadership solutions to a variety of consumer organizations. Clients range from small, emerging and mid-sized companies to leading Fortune 500 multinational consumer goods and services organizations.

Mr. Smeekes, of DHR, represents national and international client companies in transition, non-governmental, public and private organizations, as well as private equity or venture capital-backed companies. He specializes in senior-executive positions (CEO, COO, president) and board assignments. His clients include Booz Allen, BP, Baker McKenzie, Black and Decker, Diamond Castle, General Motors, Kraft, Lear, National Grid, Novartis, Philips Electronics, Platinum Equity, Philip Morris, Sara Lee, Scotts Company, Siemens, Sun Capital, Tesla, Volkswagen, United Nations and the World Bank.


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Chief Procurement Officers

Globalization, compliance pressures, supply market risk and procurement automation have simultaneously boosted visibility of the procurement discipline within companies and increased supply management challenges. In response, procurement executives have established agendas for organizational transformation. These plans incorporate activities to bring more spending under management, enhance the procurement organization’s skills and visibility, and increase both internal and external collaboration.

Chief procurement officers typically are responsible for the management, administration, and supervision of a company’s acquisition programs. Their responsibilities may include being in charge of a firm’s contracting services as well as managing the purchase of supplies, equipment and materials. The chief procurement officer is often responsible for sourcing goods and services, and negotiating prices and contracts.

Whether the organization is a healthcare services provider, a CPG (consumer purchased goods) company or a financial institution, they tend to be looking for the same skills in procurement officers – a strong leader, an effective communicator and negotiator, and possessing an analytical mind.

Many see the position as having taken on increased significance in corporations. In recent years, the role is thought to have grown more strategic. CEOs have also increased their demands on the procurement team. They want a leader who can deliver revenue growth, innovation, speed and increased velocity, as well as cost and value improvement.

Exceptional interpersonal and negotiation skills are typical requirements of the chief procurement officer role. Excellent oral and written communication skills also tend to be necessary. Fluency in other languages can be considered an asset, since vendors may be based in other parts of the world.

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Chase Barbe, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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