Without wishing to overly flatter my "rantees", I think it is fair to say that Supply Chain directors are among the most intelligent and perceptive members of many management teams.
It therefore seems inevitable that many of them will have received the recognition they deserve and been elevated to the "top job". No doubt it is a mere statistical aberration that, after 30 years in the industry, I haven’t actually met any of these chosen ones. Nor indeed have I met anyone that has met any of them.
Come to think of it, I haven’t actually met anyone who has met anyone that has heard of anyone who has been so blessed. Isn’t statistics an amazing thing.
I’ve met any number of numerically challenged marketing bods hanging on to the MD role by their fingernails. I’ve met multiple grey, unimaginative MDs who have sprung from the finance department. I’ve tripped over the odd MD with fangs and claws which could only have been honed in sales encounters with Tesco.
But – obviously by sheer chance – I’ve never come across any of the many Supply Chain or Ops superstars who must have made the leap. Of course, sometimes there is a rational explanation. I do know of one client where such a leap is actually prohibited. Here, it is enshrined in the constitution of the business that "thou shalt be from a marketing background if thou covet the MD’s office".
This at least is clear and so obviously reasonable that maybe it should be more generally adopted. The MD must, of course, understand everything. What this recognises is the simple truth that Joe Marketing can easily get his mind around supply chain issues when the call comes, after a week or two playing with the die cast model of a Stobart truck that he found on his predecessor’s window sill (so that’s what they’re for!). In contrast, the many mysteries of marketing are so impenetrable that only a lifetime of study can reveal their complex inner workings – so you Johnnies in the high vis jackets had best keep well away.