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Chris Blackgraduated from Southampton University in 1983 with a degree in Electrical Engineering before moving into telecommunications. After an early career with STC in design engineering and manufacturing, he moved into purchasing management. Initially with Nortel of Canada and then with Alcatel of France, he progressed to the post of Group Vice President for Purchasing. Overseeing a group spend in the region of £3 billion he managed the procurement activities for several divisions throughout Europe, USA, China, Japan and Australia. The scope of this role encompassed all production materials including hi-rel opto/electronic components, microwave components, specialised machined components, optical fibre and cable materials as well as test equipment, installation services, IT systems and equipment, power utilities, general services, capital and expense items.

Simon Kendrick graduated with a degree in Physics from Southampton University in 1986, and began an engineering career for Phillips and then LSI Logic in the integrated circuit business. He later joined the telecommunications industry with STC and then Alcatel becoming Head of Component Engineering before becoming Vice President of Purchasing for Alcatel's successful Submarine Networks Division. Responsible for the procurement of high technology fibre optic components, he developed a skilled and influential purchasing group. His commercial responsibilities entailed developing multi-national long term supply partnerships, negotiating commercial contracts, and ensuring best value whist obtaining significant savings from many hundreds of millions of pounds of purchases, in fields as diverse as production materials, large capital projects, utilities, catering, services, and contract labour.


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