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  • Writer's picturePeter Smith

FRIDAY 10th SEPTEMBER 1999 - Happy at Heythrop

I have planned a one-day conference for my Purchasing team for some time to follow up our main annual event in March. That was held at Heythrop Park, a huge pile of a mansion sitting in 150 acres of Oxfordshire, now NatWest’s training and conference centre. But for this lower key event, we use the Chartered Accountants Institute HQ in the City. You can tell accountants make more money than Purchasing managers; their institute is very impressive, unlikely the Purchasing equivalent, a homely and functional ex-rectory near Stamford in Lincolnshire.

The mood is very good, and the conference goes well. Staff are generally quite excited about the takeover and the implications for us as a team. There isn't really time to change the agenda too much following the L&G bid, but we discuss what it might mean and how it might affect our plans. We have some good internal presentations, including a talk from Jim Mann, who is Group Director of Operations and Technology, and from a director of Experian, a major supplier.

What I don't talk about is the re-organisation that I have been planning since the summer. I have put a lot of thought into how to re­ structure the Department; that work is now obsolete, as we will have to consider the merger implications. I will have to start thinking about a different re­ organisation to take account of how we will run purchasing in the new enlarged business.

* 2019 notes; Jim Mann continued to have a successful and varied business career, post NatWest and was also Chairman of Kilmarnock football club for a while! And CIPS, the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply, is still HQ'd in its "homely and functional ex-rectory" but has grown very successfully over the intervening years. Heythrop is now a Hotel and Country Club with, it's fair to say, a pretty mixed bag of reviews on TripAdvisor!

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