A recent article in the Wall Street Journal says that “Supply chain management as a proving ground for senior leadership roles, including CEO, is increasingly evident, with high profile examples that include Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook and Intel Corp. CEO Brian Krzanich. One reason for this phenomenon is that supply chain leaders typically have integrated experience across very different and key functions in purchasing, manufacturing, engineering, strategy and logistics and often oversee new product launches and customer service. This unique set of functional skills is increasingly important to corporate competitiveness.”
It didn’t use to be that way in my earlier business career. Traditional path to the top varied. Finance was a great path (Reg Jones at General Electric). An engineer, Alfred P.Sloan, was a famous CEO at General Motors. Probably the best known CEO with a manufacturing background was Henry Ford. Lots of marketing / sales folks became CEO, such as Dave Whitwam at Whirlpool. Sometimes even lawyers rose to CEO, like Bob Wright at NBC.
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