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Sudden departure of CIPS CEO, interim appointed 24 hours later

A sudden changing of the guard at the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS) has seen global CEO Malcolm Harrison leave and Nick Welby appointed on an interim basis.

Notice of Harrison’s departure after four and a half years in the top job at Easton House was provided by Alison Barto, Global Board of Trustees Chair for CIPS on 31 March.

In an email to CIPS members, Barto said Harrison “will be leaving CIPS at the end of March.” Hours later on April 1 Welby, a former procurement head at Imperial Tobacco, was announced as Interim CEO – beginning the role on April 3. 

In a follow-up email to CIPS members, Welby outlined his priorities in the job. His main focus is to right the “frustration” with the organisation’s digital footprint. 

“I’m aware of the frustration that the implementation of our new digital platform has caused and working with the CIPS teams, and our partners will be my priority to ensure issues are resolved to give members and customers the best possible digital experience when interacting with CIPS,” Welby said. 

Welby said taking up the role was a “privilege and one I don’t take lightly.” 

In providing reassurance to its 66,000 members, Welby said he was looking forward to bringing to fruition the work taking place across the organisation. CIPS recently celebrated its 90th year. 

“We have a series of priorities we need to deliver, and my focus will be to ensure we can deliver these collectively and collaboratively with the valued support of our members and volunteers,” Welby said. 

Barto, in her email to members, thanked Harrison saying he had successfully led the organisation through challenges of the pandemic and “setting the Institute on a path to

increased relevance to the profession and to accelerated growth.”

“Malcolm is a strong, credible representative of the Procurement profession and has strived to put CIPS members and employees at the heart of all the changes he has driven over his tenure,” Barto said.

She said the most notable achievements were the organisation’s  new Member Value Proposition, the Member Services Team and the introduction of CIPS

Values and Purpose.

Peter Smith, a respected procurement thought leader and former CIPS Board member, said via Linkedin that it “is not a total shock” that Harrison had stepped down. He said that recent problems with “the new systems may have contributed to the decision.”

In another post, Smith paid respect to former CIPS CEO Ken James who passed in March. 

CIPS on Friday (31 March) advertised three key roles at its UK base: Digital Learning Developer, Study Centre Partnership Development Manager and a Regulation and Audit Co-ordinator.

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