Grabbing the top spot of consumer products mega-hub Transora represents the culmination of more than 20 years of consumer package goods experience for Judith Sprieser. Formerly a top executive at Sara Lee Corp.—where she spent time as CFO and CEO of several key business units, and in general shepherded the company’s e-business strategy—she grabbed the reins of Transora early on and never let go.
Many critics thought the more than 50 CPG companies backing Transora, including arch-competitors Kraft Foods Inc., NestlÃ© S.A., and Procter & Gamble Co., could never pull it off. But Sprieser has the company off to a booming start. Her drive has made her one of a handful of female CEOs to lead not only an industry e-marketplace, but also a major Internet company.
Sprieser’s vision for Transora is ambitious. Analysts credit Transora with having perhaps the most aggressive—and enlightened—business strategy among the large industry consortia formed last year. Not only did the company launch in little more than six months, but also it has cut a variety of deals, including partnerships with independent Net market-makers Novopoint and FoodTrader.com, the acquisition of online promotions firm Planet U and, most recently, a partnership with the Sears, Roebuck and Co.-led retail e-hub GlobalNet Exchange. Sprieser touts the GNX deal, one of the first
instances of two major industry e-marketplaces linking their technologies and customers bases, as “the next evolution of b-to-b exchanges.”
As much as Sprieser has accomplished, her greatest challenge remains convincing the world’s largest CPG companies to move the bulk of their b-to-b spending and planning to Transora. With her track record, she looks up to task.—Richard Karpinski
Who:Rusty Braziel What:Founder-chairman Where:Altra Energy Technologies Inc. Why:Braziel is a regular on the e-marketplace trade show circuit. But unlike some of his counterparts, his company is thriving. By targeting a massively fragmented, trading-ready industry, Braziel scored a slam-dunk, and last year, AMR Research Inc. named Altra the industry’s best e-marketplace.
Who:Peter Dunning What:CEO Where:Omnexus Corp. Why:The newly named head of the plastics marketplace came aboard from FacilityPro.com, where his target was the commercial real estate industry. Omnexus said it wasn’t looking for a plastics expert, but rather someone with solid experience at building an exchange-based business. They landed the real thing.
Who:Colin Dyer What:CEO Where:WorldWide Retail Exchange Why:Doubt e-commerce is global? The WorldWide Retail Exchange, with members including U.S. giants Target Corp., Kmart Corp., Best Buy Co. Inc. and Safeway Stores Inc., went over the pond to tap Dyer. The former McKinseyite will guide the WWRE’s bid for global b-to-b retail dominance.
Who:Michael Efting What:CEO Where:Quadrem International Ltd. Why:Efting, with previous stints at eChemicals.com and ChemPoint.com, has packed a lot of e-marketplace experience into a few short years. Now, as newly named CEO of mining e-market Quadrem, Efting leads some of the world’s most powerful mining and metals companies into the e-business future.
Who: Mike Hagan What: CEO Where: VerticalNet Inc. Why: As co-founder and COO, Hagan worked in the shadows of Chairman Mark Walsh and recently departed CEO Joe Galli. Now Hagan steps front and center as CEO, guiding the company’s repositioning as a technology provider. He’ll look to leverage the make-or-break deal he helped shape with high-tech exchange Converge.
Who: Mark Holman What: President-CEO Where: e2open.com Why: Holman helped IBM Corp. bring together computer industry companies to form a new high-tech exchange, and when e2open.com went looking for a CEO, he had the high-tech and supply-chain skills they needed. Now Holman guides one of the largest e-markets in one of the world’s most complex industries.
Who: Michael Levin What: Chairman-CEO Where: e-Steel Corp. Why: Levin conceived the idea of a neutral steel-trading marketplace more than a decade ago, and in late 1999, e-Steel conducted its first deal. By focusing on private marketplaces and collaboration before they became buzzwords, the long time industry insider has kept his marketplace on the fast track.
Who: Bob Lewis What: CEO Where: Converge Inc. Why: The former managing director of Internet Capital Group and senior executive with software vendor Baan Co., Lewis has spent his career managing channel issues, dealing with high-tech companies and building dot-com businesses. At the helm of Converge, he hopes to help change how high-tech companies do business.
Who: Daniel Nissanoff What: CEO Where: PartMiner Inc. Why: Nissanoff has seen his electronics hub come full circle. He first focused on tracking down hard-to-find components in the spot market, then later tried to dominate electronics e-procurement. Now he’s struck the first major indie-consortia Net market partnership, working with e2open again to source hard-to-find parts.