Special Top 28 Supply Chain Executives Europe 2022


To assess the strategic performance of European supply chain leaders, Supply Chain Media, KPMG Advisory and executive recruitment agency Inspired-Research jointly compiled the eighth edition of the Top 28 Supply Chain Executives Europe. This ranking is based on four dimensions: financial results, personal responsibility, personal visibility and peer votes. Additionally, to be included in the list, executives must have been in their current position for at least one year.

Supply Chain Media and KPMG Advisory used several financial metrics to analyse this year’s financial results. Given the huge supply chain fluctuations during the pandemic and the severe shortages in the second half of 2021, return on capital employed (ROCE) was identified as the most crucial key performance indicator (KPI) for supply chains this year.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, its successful coronavirus vaccine meant that pharmaceutical manufacturer Pfizer scored highest in the 2021 financial analysis, with Adidas achieving a very commendable second place. Ivanka Janssen of Philips received the highest personal visibility score, but dropped in the Top 28 ranking due to the health technology company’s disappointing financial results. Four female executives have disappeared from the Top 28 because of career changes: Francesca Gamboni (from Stellantis to Accell Group), Stephanie Rott (from LVMH to Guerlain), Isabelle Conrot (from Roche to Gartner) and Silke Maurer (no longer at BSH Home Appliances). Likewise, David Prinselaar (Akzo Nobel), Gustavo Burger (Kraft Heinz Company), Volker Schmitz (HP) and Sikko Zoer (Medtronic) are no longer in the ranking due to career moves, while Bruce Edwards of Kellogg Company has dropped out of this year’s Top 28.

Turmoil forces supply chain executives to make clear choices

At the end of 2020, according to 33 European supply chain executives surveyed by Supply Chain Media, digitalization was the most important megatrend affecting their businesses in the long term, with sustainability a distant second. Since then, however, the war in Ukraine has drastically changed the world from a political and military perspective, and therefore also from a business and supply chain perspective. Energy prices in Europe have shot up and inflation both in Europe and elsewhere has risen to unprecedented levels. Perhaps unsurprisingly, 78% of supply chain executives now rank sustainability & resource scarcity as being in the top two megatrends, followed by digitalization (47%) and reshoring or nearshoring (39%). Reshoring is an increasingly hot topic in boardrooms due to the rising geopolitical tensions around the world, not least between the US and China.

Even though so many executives regard sustainability as an impactful megatrend, 50% say that business transformation & digitalization is still the most important topic in the boardroom, followed by supply chain risk management (39%) and cost savings (36%). Sustainability & supply chain circularity scores just 22%, putting it in fifth place just ahead of talent & change management (19%). Interestingly, sustainability scored similarly low in the previous survey two years ago. Clearly, while sustainability is seen as the main megatrend in the long term, companies are not currently prioritizing it.

A new question in this year’s survey asks about the two most important skills for supply chain leaders. Resilience & scenario analysis scores highest with 50%, followed by strategic & transformational thinking with 44%. Strategic execution & alignment is a distant third with 33%. Significantly lower-scoring skills are alliance development & collaboration (22%), engagement with employees (19%), storytelling & change management (17%), social responsibility & sustainability (6%) and digital insight (8%). Apart from digital insight, supply chain executives seemingly consider the softer skills to be less important than the harder ones in today’s turbulent times.

Special Top 28 Supply Chain Executives Europe 2022

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