When Unilever introduced a strategic sourcing approach I joined the newly created European Indirects team as Finance Director. In this role I supported two dozen buyers in evaluating proposals, tracked savings, managed several IT tools (including Ariba) and organised the training programme. When the buying director left I managed the team for three months. We also went all the way through an outsourcing exercise although implementation was postponed until after I left.

This job gave me a strong appreciation of the buying process, also exposure to Sarbanes-Oxley documentation and development of a Corporate Social Responsibility programme.

In the five years I was on the team we delivered incremental savings averaging €100m per annum.