Remembering Karen van Vuuren, a pioneering Procurement Professional
Karen will be remembered by many for the important, pioneering work she did in establishing the procurement fraternity as a profession.
In addition to her tireless and distinguished contributions to the procurement fraternity, she held key leadership positions in industry, such as being Chief Procurement Officer of Absa, Transnet and the Gauteng Shared Service Centre.
She was VP of Supply Chain Strategy and Excellence for Anglo Gold Ashanti and Chairman of the Board of Management for the Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply (CIPS) when she passed away last week after a long illness.
Many will remember her for her great company – highly intelligent, strong minded and interesting. Always the advocate for the importance of leadership in the procurement profession, she spoke with urgent enthusiasim about how supply chains assist companies to address "the many economic challenges that lie ahead for both the private and public sectors in South Africa, Africa and indeed the world".
“Karen Van Vuuren was one of the most dedicated, thoroughly professional, engaging business women I’ve ever met," said David Smith, the 2013 CIPS president. "I was immediately taken by her leadership skills and vast professional knowledge of procurement and business as well as her engaging manner and charm as a speaker. She would have an audience of hundreds hanging on every one of her words. She has given hugely to the profession and served as a member of the Board of Management and Board of Trustees including two years as Chair. She was truly a woman of Africa, who contributed so much to making procurement available there as a real profession of choice. Our profession is a far poorer place without her”.
"Karen was instrumental in establishing the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply in South Africa, having spearheaded the transition of IPSA (the Institute of Purchasing of South Africa) to CIPS. Her strategic thinking in this regard laid a foundation that has resulted in advocacy for the procurement profession taking a giant leap forward. Her work at Transnet in establishing the Competitive Supplier Development Programme (CSDP) is influencing supplier development strategy at a national level and will have an impact on the competitiveness of the country for generations," notes Bernie van Niekerk, Editor of SmartProcurement.
"Always positive, always pushing forward, Karen was a welcome sight at our events over the years and her guiding contributions to SmartProcurement and Smart Procurement World will be treasured. Thank you Karen."
"When Karen graciously agreed to a profile on SmartProcurement she said her management motto is “being nice” and her favourite global organisation was the the Body Shop, because the socially aware UK beauty chain had "made a business out of being nice"."
Karen’s legacy in Procurement and Supply Chain Management will continue to be felt and we offer our sincere condolences to her family and friends.
Karen van Vuuren was a member of the SmartProcurement Advisory Board, providing direction for the content of our conferences so that they are always useful to the profession. Her candid input is irreplaceable she will be sadly missed.