Julia M. Brown
Chief Procurement Officer, Senior Vice President – Global Procurement
Kraft Foods Inc.
Julia M. Brown is the first Black female chief procurement officer of a Fortune 50 company. In this role at Kraft Foods Inc., she oversees the purchase of goods and services worldwide and successfully launched an initiative branded SAVOR (Sourcing, Alignment and Value through Organization Responsibility), which has more than doubled companywide savings.
Born in England to Jamaican parents, Brown was raised in Jamaica until her family migrated with only a few of suitcases to a small farming community in the Canadian Prairies. The experience taught her the value of taking risks that can lead to greater opportunities. “When things seem difficult, I reflect on my parents leaving everything they knew to start a life in another country to make a better life for their children,” says Brown. She began her career in procurement in the early 1990s at Procter & Gamble in Toronto, Canada. Her ability to consistently drive breakthrough results caught the attention of key decision makers and eventually she was transferred to the Cincinnati, Ohio, headquarters. “They questioned whether they should give the job to me versus giving the role to an existing American employee. I practically watched the entire sourcing organization get transferred or leave. I was the last to be transferred,” she says. The move enabled her to build her career in corporate America.
Brown enjoys reading, traveling and experiencing different cultures — at 21, she vowed to visit at least one new country every year. She is a board member of the Institute of Supply Management and the National Minority Supplier Development Council and a member of the Executive Leadership Council. She co-chaired the ELC’s 2011 Black Women’s Summit and is a co-chair of the organization’s Corporate Board Initiative. She graduated with honors from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, earning a bachelor’s degree in commerce.