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David Coffey
Assistant Vice President, Corporate Planning, Strategic Sourcing, ABN AMRO North America
How long have you been in your current position? 2 years

What exactly does your job involve? Briefly describe a typical day.
The Strategic Sourcing Department is relatively new to ABN AMRO and has been in existence for the last three years. Sourcing of products and services purchased is a solution that derives significant benefits during a post merger/acquisition period. There are several such benefits, vendor consolidation, cost reduction, service enhancement and process improvement.

ABN AMRO North America has focused on: travel, IT business consulting, distributed technology and telecom. The active management of these categories can significantly impact the bank’s bottom line. The success of North America’s Sourcing effort has led ABN AMRO to examine its expense base globally. A global effort emulating North America is underway.

My job is varied and there is never a typical day. I perform much of the analysis that track the bank’s performance and I work directly with the key constituents/user groups to tackle and improve spending patterns. I am also involved in several other initiatives in a project management capacity including outsourcing, e-procurement, global sourcing and data warehousing.

Differences between the range and scale of your work now and before?
No - I was placed into a very challenging work environment straight from the start, knowing however that I could rely on the help of my colleagues.

How much time outside Ireland?
I spend fifty weeks of the year in the US, Chicago Illinois. Returning for the Christmas period with my family in Dublin. Can’t beat Christmas at home! I am a green card holder and moved over straight after graduating from UCD in July 1996 with my girlfriend, Gillian O’Donoghue.

Initial reaction, how has this changed?
I moved from PricewaterhouseCoopers Management Consulting Group and I was familiar with the project based work environment and the management/work styles in the US. I was intimidated making the switch to ABN AMRO’s Sourcing Group because of the calibre of my new colleagues (most went to the best business schools and had worked with McKinsey & Co., AT Kearney - the elite firms). I have grown into and created my own position. Having an Irish accent helps - people over here listen to you as if you have something valuable to say. I think that the success of the Irish graduates abroad is more attributable to an excellent work ethic and the level of education.

How does your operation fit strategically within the overall group’s business?
Sourcing directly impacts the bank’s bottom line. The Group reports directly to the CFO. We work with the Heads of the various lines of business and are called upon and offer expertise in efforts that are strategically important to the Bank.

What’s the best thing about being located outside Ireland?
The weather, salaries and house prices.

Looking back, how close is Ireland to the cutting edge of financial services? Ireland is at the cutting edge in financial services. My colleagues are always asking about the rapid growth in the Irish economy. Business is driven by cost, quality and delivery. With the combination of qualities: the Irish workforce; excellent schooling in financial services and linguistics and advanced technology Ireland’s geographic periphery is no longer a problem for big business.

What’s the worst thing about being abroad?
Being away from my parents, siblings, nieces and nephews. The winter in Chicago is dreadful and apparently they have been mild since I have been here. Plus trying to organise my wedding in Dublin this August from Chicago. However the great thing about ABN AMRO is that I work for a European Bank in the US so I get excellent vacation time.

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