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The Business Spend Management Spendsetters

Adventure means getting outside of one’s comfort zone.

But for James Wagstaff, chief procurement officer (CPO) of Provident Financial Group, being uncomfortable means going beyond mere thrill-seeking.

provident James Wagstaff

“I recognized early on that unless I was a little bit uncomfortable,

I wasn't learning.”

James has made a career of placing himself in unfamiliar situations, not just for excitement, but to gain entirely new perspectives. Experiencing things from different points of view has always been vital to his success.

At the start of his procurement career, James was fortunate enough to have a mentor who encouraged him to dive head-first into many different roles and functions. He learned how valuable it was to understand all aspects of a business—from operations, to finance, to IT, to legal, to marketing—in order to truly provide value through procurement.

“If you don’t understand something, you can’t buy it.”

“If you're a category manager, you have to be very, very detailed on that category to do a great job. If you want to be a CPO, you need to have breadth as well as depth, not just in procurement terms, but in business terms.”

provident James Wagstaff
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James has journeyed around the world to understand business better, going from being a CPO in Britain, Europe, and Russia, to China, where he turned the tables and spent seven years as a supplier who negotiated with procurement departments across the globe.

The latter was an experience full of tough deals that further cemented his view on empathy and value. As James explains,

“You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. I think that's a pretty good rule for life.”

James has brought this perspective to Provident Financial Group, encouraging fresh thinking, empathy, and a value mindset as the keys to BSM success.

James Wagstaff is

James is ADVENTUROUS, unafraid to walk miles in other people’s shoes in order to exchange ideas and value in a way that’s powerful, honest, and respectful. .

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provident James Wagstaff
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Bold. Innovative. a Teammate. Authentic. Adventurous.