Ernest Nicolas

Ernest Nicolas
HP’s Chief Supply Chain Officer leads HP’s worldwide supply chain organisation, which delivers more than 100 million products to customers annually

With more than 25 years of global supply chain experience behind him, Ernest Nicolas is a shining example of industry excellence. 

Working across direct and indirect strategic sourcing, multi-site manufacturing, global materials and logistics management, Ernest’s work delivers productivity, seamless operations as well as financial performance.

“I am a supply chain practitioner,” he says. “When I hear about an organisation that wants to enhance its supply chain… to become a competitive advantage. I want to be part of that.”

Celebrated in our 2023 Top 100 CSCOs supplement as one of the world’s leading supply chain professionals, Ernest acknowledges the changing landscape and how approaches to it have diversified in recent years, presenting new challenges.

“I want to take a step back and start working across, ‘How do I streamline and drive functional excellence within our organisation?’ And when I say functional excellence, that is extension beyond our own supply chain, leveraging our partners and their feedback,” he says.

Ernest Nicolas: A shining star in supply chain

His achievements have been widely acknowledged across the industry. Speaking on Ernest’s appointment to HP in 2022, the company’s President and CEO Enrique Lores sings his praises.

“Ernest is a seasoned executive whose deep understanding of supply chain dynamics and resilience has enabled him to build high-performance teams and deliver exceptional business results throughout his career,” Enrique said.

“Ernest’s expertise in manufacturing and supply chain agility will be an outstanding addition to HP as we drive long-term sustainable growth for the company.”

And it’s not just Supply Chain Digital that is honouring him as one of the industry’s brightest shining stars. 

Ernest’s operational excellence is key to HP delivering more than 100 million products to customers each year, which is how he was recognised as one of Savoy Magazine’s 2024 Most Influential Executives in Corporate America.

Celebrating Ernest’s success, HP says: “Ernest leads his team every day to strengthen our operational capabilities and drive innovation across our global supply chain, all while championing our sustainability efforts.” 

Ernest’s achievements predate his HP years, however. His experience includes industrial engineering, production management, and supply chain planning with automotive manufacturer General Motors.

It was here that Ernest was granted the General Motors Graduate Fellowship, allowing him to pursue full-time graduate study. From there, he joined the ranks at Rockwell Automation in 2006, serving in roles across North America and Asia before being named Senior Vice President and Chief Supply Chain Officer in 2019.

Outside of the supply chain space, Ernest describes himself as “a passionate advocate for diversity and inclusion” and is a member of the Executive Leadership Council, which nurtures and encourages the next generation of corporate leaders from a variety of backgrounds.

It’s fair to say Ernest is a modest man in his achievements, living his professional life by the motto ‘work hard in silence, let your success be the noise’.

As well as being driven by his DE&I passions, he is an Executive Advisory Board member for the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Business’s Supply Chain Management programme, a course at his alma mater, where obtained an MBA in Operations Management and a Master of Science in Manufacturing Systems Engineering.

Driven by ambition

So, what’s next for Ernest? Ensuring impact on his arrival at HP in 2022, he has since been vocal about his ambitious plans for the technology giant, ensuring the brand can “realise its potential through supply chain” as a growth generator.

“There’s no going back to how things were before,” he says. Spurred on by what has been a turbulent time across global supply chains, he’s eager to harness the widespread disruption and leverage the tough rollercoaster ride to give a competitive edge and advantage moving forward.

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