Tom Rae, CPO of German automotive supplier Continental, is leaving the company to join the Japanese group that now owns glass maker Pilkington.
Rae, who has been at the Hannover-based tyre and automotive systems giant for 15 years – the past six as CPO – will take up the newly created head of global procurement role at NSG on 2 April.
He told CPO Agenda that his decision to leave Continental, where he had a corporate team of 70 directly responsible for a €5 billion spend, was influenced by a desire to be nearer his 12-year-old son, who lives in Scotland.
His new job will be based at Pilkington's site at Lathom in Lancashire, in the north west of England.
"It wasn't an easy decision to make," he said. "Continental is one of the most successful, dynamic and fast-growing companies in its sector. But it was the right decision for me at this time and I am looking forward now to the new role."
Rae added that his biggest achievements as its senior vice-president for corporate purchasing were raising awareness of procurement as a strategic function; getting involved earlier in areas like acquisitions and new product development; and building an international team.
Nippon Sheet Glass (NSG), which bought Pilkington in June last year, now has two main divisions, building products and automotive, and a combined turnover of around €7 billion, making it one of the world’s leading glass makers.
Rae said lower purchasing volumes than at Continental (which has double NSG’s annual sales) would be compensated for by the challenges associated with combining two organisations, managing cultural differences and dealing with business complexity on a global scale.
Continental has appointed an external candidate, Lucie Toscani, from the Canadian car parts group Magna International, to replace him. She also starts on 2 April.