Abstract The chief purchasing officer (CPO) plays a critical role in ensuring the supply function contributes effectively to organizational goals and strategies. Furthermore, the executive in the organization to whom the CPO reports, the executive report (ER), plays a vital role in breaking down corporate roadblocks, setting priorities and ensuring the proper profile for supply within the organization. This research focuses on supply leadership changes in which an incumbent CPO is replaced and/or the CPO reporting line is changed. Using a case-based methodology in 30 large North American and European organizations a total of 41 CPO replacements and 43 reporting line changes were documented. Data collection and analysis covered drivers, CPO background, key decision makers and tenure for both the outgoing and incoming CPOs and reporting line. The potential implications of these research findings for supply executives are discussed along with opportunities for future research.