Full-time Chief Procurement Officer (CPO) - Principal Director Central Procurement (INT/EXT/5242)

at The European Patent Office in Munich

The European Patent Office is seeking a Chief Procurement Officer (CPO) – Principal Director Central Procurement *

in Directorate-General 4
(five-year contract, potentially extendable)

Place of employment: Munich or The Hague

Deadline for applications: 20.5.2012

The European Patent Organisation is an international organisation with 38 member states. Its executive body is the European Patent Office (EPO), which employs over 7 000 staff at four sites (Munich, The Hague, Berlin and Vienna) and a liaison office (in Brussels), including 4 000 highly qualified patent examiners who search and examine patent applications (244 000 p.a.) and grant European patents (62 000 p.a.).

The EPO spends €300 million annually on goods and services. It has therefore set ambitious goals for effective procurement. In pursuit of economies of scale and a more strategic approach to spending, it has initiated a two-phase “redesigning procurement” programme to centralise the work involved. Phase 1 is largely complete (3 procurement teams have been merged into a single centralised team) In phase 2, the EPO will assess further centralisation possibilities.

Following a recent study, the EPO now also plans to achieve substantial additional benefits from redesigning procurement, and to transition the procurement function to a more strategic and commercial role. It is therefore looking for an experienced high-level Chief Procurement Officer (CPO) who will provide strong strategic guidance and leadership to ensure a value-adding transition and continuity of service delivery.
The CPO will report to the Vice-President Directorate-General 4, Administration.
Main duties

Direction and guidance

Set a clear vision and targets for procurement, aligned with the needs of stakeholders and customers Review, design and implement a new operating model in line with the EPO’s organisational goals and interfacing with other departments such as Legal Services and Finance Design and implement efficiency-driven workstreams (e.g. IT-based automation) Set efficiency-based targets for the procurement function Leverage the EPO’s spend on goods and services.

Governance and reporting

Design and implement a governance model in line with the strategic procurement agenda and EPO policies Review, design and measure key performance indicators (KPIs).


Clarify and deliver value-adding service portfolios for customers Develop and implement supply-base segmentation strategies (e.g. outcome-critical, levels of risk exposure) Develop specific vendor-management strategies in close co operation with budget holders Implement category-management processes and programmes.


Ensure continued service delivery whilst re-focusing the procurement function.


Cross-site responsibility (mainly in Munich and The Hague) for currently around 40 staff Provide those staff with a clear vision and targets Actively manage change, staff development and re-skilling programmes, in close co operation with Human Resources.

Ideal candidate profile

Master’s degree in business administration (with a focus on procurement/supply chain management) or a similar discipline Minimum of 10 years’ experience in a similar function, including at least 8 years of direct line- management responsibilities Proven track record of managing procurement in changing environments, and in particular evidence of having successfully led sourcing teams in creating new strategies, e.g. to reduce costs in categories by minimising expenditure in each sub-category Sound knowledge of the internal workings of large corporations or organisations, preferably gained in an international environment Experience in a public international organisation Excellent interpersonal, organisational and leadership skills, including the ability to shape teams to achieve demanding objectives Proven ability to deal with organisational change, sensitivity to cultural diversity Excellent diagnostic and listening abilities coupled with strong decision-making skills and the ability to prioritise and manage multiple tasks and projects Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with direct reports and peers Ability to understand and adapt to a public-service environment Advanced knowledge of contract law, finance and accounting would be an additional asset.

Minimum qualifications

Diploma of completed studies at university level or – in exceptional cases – equivalent knowledge acquired over many years of qualified work. Many years’ professional experience. Excellent knowledge of one official language** and ability to understand the other two.

The successful candidate will be selected on the basis of qualifications and tests. Before the formal interviews, shortlisted candidates will be asked to attend an assessment centre for exercises and discussions designed to assess their management skills and personal qualities. The results will go to the selection board for consideration in the subsequent stages of the selection procedure.

It is intended to hold an assessment centre on 21 and 22 June 2012 and the interviews on 10 and 11 July 2012 in Munich.

Application until: 20.5.2012

  • Grade A6
    • English, French and German

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Published at 23-04-2012
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