The 2012 CIO Summit promises to put earlier years’ events to shame in terms of the sheer volume of CIOs on the stage. It’s a diverse line-up from many fields in the private and public sector, but each of them have their own story to tell about their experiences in providing transformational IT strategies.
Trevor Didcock earned the admiration of CIO UK’s CIO100 panel of judges, who voted him to the number one spot on the list for his efforts in improving customer service and aircraft telematics at Easyjet.
As IT leader of the budget airline, his primary concern is keeping control of costs. His opex budget is only one per cent of the company’s revenue, and capex is half that.
He joined the company in 2010, spending his career in other transport related organisation like the AA and RAC, but also has a background in confectionary giant Mars, the training ground of other notable CIOs, such as Colin Cobain and 2011 summit speaker Jane Scott.
Didcock sits on the management board, which he describes as a team with intensity and a hunger for success driven by a market that doesn’t suffer business mistakes.
Gerry Pennell, CIO for the London Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games (Locog) is another CIO who has to have a zero-tolerance level for failure. He can breathe a sigh of relief now that he has helped pull off one of the most successful events the nation has held for over 50 years.
Pennell took the role after masterminding the IT behind the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester, so he had already proven his ability to operate under a global spotlight.
The key he says is getting a good team together. Just as Team GB comprised the nation’s brightest and best, The London 2012 Olympics has created a groundswell for IT talent, which Pennell helped to create.
What could follow that? Pennell says he won’t head up IT for another sporting event again, but he said that after Manchester, so we may see him in another similare position in the future.
Barclays Retail European CIO Anthony Watson is at an organisation that is also in the spotlight, but for very different reasons. When interviewed by CIO UK, he was surprisingly candid about the troubles Barclays and the wider UK banking sector has been experiencing of late, which shows his leadership integrity to face up to unpleasant realities.
He maintains archaic processes are part of the problem, but it’s something he is there to transform.
Although he reports to a COO, he has his own COO and CFO reports within his department. He is a firm believer that the CIO has the appropriate skillset to assume the role of CEO.
Albert Hitchcock is CIO for Vodafone Group Services, another British brand with a global reach. The communications company has had its share of criticism too and customer churn is always a significant challenge. Hitchcocks first priority therefore is building a world-class customer experience, all over the world.
Mobile technology still runs through the blood of the company, and one of Hitchcock’s prime concerns is the pressure to integrate consumer technology. He is understandably cautious about this adoption, but as a seasoned global traveller, he is also keen to explore the possibility of keeping tabs on the global business, while staying at home.
Royal Mail Group is a nationally-focused business, but the scale of the challenges within the company has parallels with the likes of Didcock, Pennell, Watson and Hitchcock. Over a year ago, Catherine Doran took up the cudgels there as CIO and anyone who has met her will agree that she has the robustness of character to meet those challenges.
The Royal Mail’s website has suffered some glitches this year and in February, the organisation sent out an invitation to tender for a framework contract worth up to £180m to transform the delivery of IT services.
With two and a half years managing Network Rail’s transformation programme, Doran is highly experienced at straightening out the kinks in a former-nationalised industry’s IT.
From past presentations she has made on a CIO’s first 90 days in a job, it’s doubtless that Doran will have lost no time in embedding herself neatly into Royal Mail’s management structure.
The full line-up of CIOs presenting this year are:
Trevor Didcock, Easyjet
Gerry Pennell, Locog
Anthony Watson, Barclays
Richard Cross, Arup
Ibukun Adebayo, Turning Point
Andrew Jordan, NBC Universal
Shaun Mundy, Buro Happold
Paul Brocklehurst, Surry County Council
William Payne, Veolia
Albert Hichcock, Vodafone
Richard Hodkinson, DWF
Catherine Doran, Royal Mail