Associate Vice President for University Business Services and Chief Procurement Officer (CPO)

About the University of Connecticut

Founded in 1881, UConn is a Land Grant and Sea Grant institution and member of the Space Grant Consortium. It is the state’s flagship institution of higher education and includes a main campus in Storrs, CT, four regional campuses throughout the state, and 13 Schools and Colleges, including a Law School in Hartford, and Medical and Dental Schools at the UConn Health campus in Farmington. The University has approximately 10,000 faculty and staff and 32,000 students, including nearly 24,000 undergraduates and over 8,000 graduate and professional students. UConn is a Carnegie Foundation R1 (highest research activity) institution, among the top 25 public universities in the nation. Through research, teaching, service, and outreach, UConn embraces diversity, equity and inclusion in learning and working environments, and cultivates leadership, integrity, and engaged citizenship in its students, faculty, staff, and alumni. UConn promotes the health and well-being of citizens by enhancing the social, economic, cultural, and natural environments of the state and beyond. The University serves as a beacon of academic and research excellence as well as a center for innovation and social service to communities. UConn is a leader in many scholarly, research, and innovation areas. Today, the path forward includes exciting opportunities and notable challenges. Record numbers of undergraduate applications and support for student success have enabled the University to become extraordinarily selective.

Position Summary
Reporting to the Executive Vice President for Administration and Chief Financial Officer, the Associate Vice President for University Business Services and Chief Procurement Officer (CPO) is a key member of the Administration and Finance Team. The CPO is responsible for establishing the vision, mission, and strategy for the procurement and contracting functions at the University. The CPO is expected to strategically and creatively meet the needs of all University functional areas, including academic, clinical, capital projects, and research, and to maintain high standards of timeliness, economy, and compliance. The CPO leads a large team of professionals who work with university leaders and key stakeholders to develop, maintain, and communicate procurement and business service strategies, policies, and procedures and to ensure alignment with the mission and goals of the University. The CPO is also responsible for creating a strategic roadmap for change with the ultimate goal of generating cost savings for the institution while increasing internal customer satisfaction.

Total University spend is greater than $500 million with an average annual capital budget of $300 million. The CPO will lead a team of 47 people in a unionized environment. The CPO will be a highly effective change agent who will lead a procurement transformation across UConn. The CPO will drive spend aggregation across the main campus as well as four regional campuses with the goal of increased cost savings, enhanced supplier relationships, and improved internal customer service. The CPO will continue to develop a category-led strategic sourcing function in addition to improving the procurement process by optimizing people, process, and technology. The CPO will oversee, manage, and develop contracting, business services, strategic sourcing, supply chain and logistics, capital projects, spend analytics, the procure-to-pay process, travel services and vendor management. The CPO will be responsible for engaging the University supplier community, achieving optimal outcomes with such suppliers, and promoting the utilization of small and disadvantaged business.

The CPO will be a trusted adviser to all of senior leadership and internal customers in matters related to procurement.

Appointment: This is a full-time position located in Storrs, CT and includes a competitive salary and generous benefits package.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Create a strategic roadmap for transformational change for procurement across the main campus and the four regional campuses, and build a best-in-class procurement function.
  • Develop process mapping of the entire procure-to-pay process to identify bottlenecks and opportunities for efficiencies, with the goal of streamlining and adding value to the procurement and contracting process while improving internal customer satisfaction.
  • Establish metrics and KPIs for all areas within University Business Services and report the metrics on an ongoing basis.
  • Identify centers-of-excellence in specific categories and leverage that knowledge to enhance and leverage spend aggregation.
  • Establish both short- and long-term savings targets and communicate those goals and results across UConn.
  • Develop a three-to-five-year plan across all categories of spend.
  • Work collaboratively with internal customers on the creation of sourcing initiatives to achieve maximum internal stakeholder buy-in for pursuing strategic partners and contracts.
  • Enhance the e-Procurement function to ensure greater use by internal customers.
  • Refine spend analytics and use these analytics to advocate for greater spend aggregation with internal customers.
  • Demonstrate a total cost-of-ownership, and communicate procurement’s capabilities and achievements to internal customers.
  • Build strong collaborative relationships with stakeholders across the University.
  • Become a trusted adviser to internal customers by demonstrating category knowledge across a broad array of categories of spend. Advise the board of trustees and senior leadership on matters related to procurement.
  • Ensure compliance with all applicable Federal, State and University laws, rules and regulations, and policies and procedures.
  • Optimize procurement tools and systems that will interface with the Kuali financial platform. Improve the user interface on matters related to procurement.
  • Establish departmental budget and project any upcoming initiatives that will affect the budget.
  • Create surveys to measure internal customer satisfaction and build a customer-centric procurement function.
  • Lead and oversee negotiations on high-profile University contracts.
  • Represent UConn within group purchasing organizations.

Minimum Qualifications

  • A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university, preferably in business, finance, law, or a related field.
  • A minimum of 10 years of progressive experience in indirect procurement with the most recent 5 years managing a spend of greater than $500 million in a sizable decentralized corporate organization (with an opt-in procurement culture) or in a higher education institution. Minimum of 5 years leading sizable teams.
  • A long track record as a successful change agent leading transformations in procurement.
  • A quantitative approach to decision-making with a focus on details.
  • Must possess leadership, problem-solving and conflict resolution skills and have experience managing demands and expectations from within and outside the organization while responding to change with flexibility and improving behavior.
  • Very strong knowledge of procurement tools/software and interfacing with financial systems.
  • Experience as a process owner of procure-to-pay and deep knowledge of the process side of procurement.
  • Experience managing a center-led procurement organization with extensive knowledge across a broad array of categories of spend.
  • Extensive knowledge of contracting, strategic sourcing, spend analytics, vendor management, Pro-card, and procurement regulations.
  • Demonstrated ability to effectively communicate with diverse groups of internal and external partners and stakeholders, including but not limited to senior leadership.
  • A long track record of mentoring, coaching, and building high-performing teams.
  • Superb skills in stakeholder engagement and building strong relationships with internal customers in an opt-in procurement culture.
  • Highly seasoned at complex vendor negotiations and supplier relationship management (SRM).
  • Experience building a diverse base of suppliers.

Preferred Qualifications

  • An advanced degree of MBA or MPA is highly preferred.
  • Professional certification in procurement as a Certified Purchasing Manager or Certified Contract Manager.
  • Experience working in higher education or government is a plus.
  • Experience in Jaggaer is a plus.

How to Apply

UConn has engaged a national procurement search firm to manage the search process for this role. All applicants should send a cover letter and resume directly to the search firm.

Steven Lutzer
C/O Lutzer Global Inc.

All employees are subject to adherence to the State Code of Ethics, which may be found at

The University of Connecticut is committed to building and supporting a multicultural and diverse community of students, faculty and staff. The diversity of students, faculty and staff continues to increase, as does the number of honors students, valedictorians and salutatorians who consistently make UConn their top choice. More than 100 research centers and institutes serve the University’s teaching, research, diversity, and outreach missions, leading to UConn’s ranking as one of the nation’s top research universities. UConn’s faculty and staff are the critical link to fostering and expanding our vibrant, multicultural and diverse University community. As an Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity employer, UConn encourages applications from women, veterans, people with disabilities and members of traditionally underrepresented populations.