12 / TRAVEL PROCUREMENT www.businesstravelnews.com/procurement
Multinational taste and nutrition company Kerry Group em- ploys 24,000 people in 140 countries and, according to its most recent annual report, realized 6.1 billion euros in reve- nue in 2016. It wasn’t always that way. The North Kerry Milk
Products cooperative started 40 years ago with just 40 employees.
Since then, it has acquired more than 100 companies, diversified its
offerings and gone public. It has established innovation centers not
only in Ireland and the U.S., the home countries of its founders, but
also in Africa, Eastern Europe, South America and Southeast Asia.
Olive Kavanagh entered the organization in 2015 as part of a global
unification strategy that executives called 1 Kerry. The initiative aimed
to unify the company’s diverse interests and streamline operations,
data, branding and culture. Kavanagh joined as part of a group of six
global buyers focused on transforming direct and indirect spend categories. As a veteran of Microsoft’s travel management team, Kavanagh
brought sophisticated supplier strategies and deep operational knowledge to rebuild and globalize Kerry’s midsize travel program.
Within days of starting, “I was sitting in front of the CEO, senior executives and business presidents,” Kavanagh said. She relished that
strategic position. “I quickly understood their wish list in terms of
gaining efficiencies and standardizing the program, but I was also expected to bring innovation to the table with every partner.”
BIG-TIME STRATEGIES FOR A MIDSIZE TRAVEL PROGRAM
BY ELIZABETH WEST