Asked if he would change anything about the career path that has led him to his current position as Australia and Vietnam Procurement Director at CUB, John Tortora responds, ‘Join CUB earlier!’ In a career filled with highlights and characterised by a commitment to cross-functional experience that has broadened and honed his skills in a range of areas, John credits the supportive culture at CUB for much of his success.
Previously employed at Bosch, when John was offered the opportunity to bring best practice lean principles from there to CUB, he was quick to seize it. His new role required him to introduce lean methodologies to operations and influence leaders’ behaviour and attitudes to gain support for the changes. Before long, John was heading up the Packaging Team within the Abbotsford Brewery and implementing multiple changes to established ways of working. After two and a half years in this role, John’s outstanding results and the invaluable experience he’d gained allowed him to take on the role of Abbotsford Plant Manager, leading more than 340 employees. This rapid rise was also a result of the meritocratic CUB culture, in which talent is rewarded with opportunity, including the option of exploring other roles and functions in order to develop new skills, deepen experience and gain a broader understanding of the business at all levels.
Initially attracted to CUB due to it being a fast-paced FMCG environment, as well as the chance it provided to work with iconic and well-loved brands, John has since come to relish the many opportunities the organisation has offered him to take on roles outside of his comfort zone and accelerate his learning.
John says, ‘After having multiple roles within the Supply and Operations function I wanted to expand my experience into the Commercial part of the business. Procurement is a fantastic function to provide this as it exposes us to all parts of our P&L, and our contributions are both visible and significant. Knowing your decisions have an immediate impact on financial results is extremely empowering for me and our team.’
For John, the ability to move across functions has dramatically expanded his network both within the organisation and with external stakeholders: ‘It has allowed me to join the dots within our organisation and provided me a seat at the table to influence our total financial results.’
John derives tremendous satisfaction from this capacity to make a genuine difference and from being empowered to make vital decisions. He is energised by the dynamic environment in which he is able to see his actions quickly become results. He also enjoys providing his team with new types of work and business opportunities, as well as promoting individual team members into new roles. In this way he is able to make his own contribution to CUB’s practice of upskilling and cross-skilling that has so benefited him.
Working with an ‘amazing’ team towards a common goal is another aspect of his role that John appreciates, as is the fact that CUB’s Sustainability agenda also resides within Procurement, where he and his team are able to ensure that suppliers support the company’s commitments.
With such a variety of experience and so much to be content with in his current role, it might be difficult to imagine what’s left for John to do. He says that the next logical career step for him is to continue to broaden his Procurement responsibilities for the zone. But he is also excited by the fact that at CUB ‘you just never know what unexpected opportunity or role might present itself next.’
Given the wide-ranging opportunities for driving a career in exciting and sometimes unexpected directions at CUB, what advice would John give to someone just starting out? ‘Get ready for action within a fast-paced environment and being empowered. Be audacious and prepared to think big. Most importantly, get ready to join a proud team with brands and products to match.’