Executive Interviews

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John Everett, CIPS Switzerland Chairperson

  • September 27, 2017

How did CIPS Switzerland start, how has it grown and what is its future?
 Just over 5 years ago four individual CIPS members based in Switzerland independently contacted CIPS and proposed the same idea ” a local networking branch should be started”?.  CIPS being the largest professional procurement association in the world, and already having branches in Australia, South Africa, the Middle East, Asia, etc. responded positively and provided start-up support.  Over the preceding years we’ve had some network committee changes and expansion.  It’s the committee members that make everything happen, e.g. events, frequent social media content etc.  We currently have nearly 300 subscribing members in Switzerland and a community of well over 1,000 Swiss-based purchasers.


What excites you about working voluntarily with CIPS?
 CIPS provides a find a couple of unique opportunities it’s global and it’s an association, i.e. it’s from the members for the members.  Furthermore it has non-for-profit charity status which enable a neutral, member focused platform that continually re-invests in member knowledge and member opportunities – such as networking events.


You recently were elected to represent Europe in the CIPS congress - what attracted you to the position?
 I know that there are some fledgling CIPS networks starting in a couple of European countries and others that just need a little more encouragement. As such, I’m hoping to leverage the success of the CIPS-Switzerland team journey to those countries and to provide a harmonised voice for the European region at the global CIPS congress board.


What advice would you offer to someone considering to moving to Switzerland?
Go for it…. For two key reasons: 1. it’s the supply chain capital of Europe, with a huge range of both private organisations (industry, financial, technology, FMCG, pharma, etc.) and public organisations (NGO’s, the UN, Red Cross, WTO, etc.), and 2. it is also a fantastic place to live, for both individuals and families (culture, schooling, the great outdoors, safe, stable, reliable, etc.)


As someone with many years experience within the Swiss market-place, how have you found the Swiss market & working environment has changed over these years?
When I started in Switzerland 12 years ago I found that non-Swiss international companies primarily staffed themselves with senior older employees.  Now I see the full spectrum of talent from new colleagues as graduates (many coming from the excellent internationally attractive Swiss universities) through to multi-cultural Directors who’ve lived in every continent.  This gives a truly global mix.


What was the worst / best interview experience you have had?
The strangest interview experience that I had was being told that I wasn’t going to get the job because I was too similar to the boss.  Later I was able to appreciate the courage of that decision since it was coming from someone that genuinely practiced diversity.


In what circumstances do you think an external recruiter can add value?
The profession benefits in multiple ways from recruitment organisations, I call out three examples. Firstly, when discretion is required, e.g. the hiring organisation doesn’t have an internal candidate and doesn’t want to prematurely alarm the incumbent. Secondly, when a particularly skill or market knowledge is needed, e.g. the recruiter can pre-screen the good from the average applicant. Thirdly, when there’s a need to act swiftly, e.g. a recruiter knows from its candidate base who’s immediately available and/or at short notice.


What are your personal motivators?
I’ve always enjoyed seeing things through. Whether it be the commercialisation of new patented products (in my career before purchasing) or the development and implementation of tools to help purchasing address risk or innovation opportunities.


What do you think makes a good leader in procurement?
Modern procurement professionals need a mindset that is both commercially savvy (the what) and functionally competent (the how). Procurement leaders need to not only practice that, but to coach and inspire both peers and employees in these key areas.


As your first degree was a Chemistry what would have been your second choice and why?
Actually, my first choice was ” Chemistry with Computer Science”? but my school careers advisor said that the Chemical Industry would never need computers and therefore I should choose one or the other!! How badly wrong was he!


What books / blogs are you currently reading?
I love cherry picking articles from the economist every weekend. Their writing technique and range of contemporary topics is fantastic. I am reading ” 50 Fearless Pioneers”?, about famous female scientists.  Most people, including women, could name Marie Currie - but beyond her struggle to
name more.  As an undergraduate I had the opportunity to work briefly with one, namely Dorothy Hodgkin (Nobel Laureate who unravelled the structure of insulin). My employer, Dow Chemical, has just merged with DuPont and the inventor of Kevlar was: Stephanie Kwolek.


Describe yourself in 3 words
Curious, hardworking and inclusive


*Views and opinions contained within our Executive Interviews are those of the Interviewee and not views shared by EMEA Recruitment