UCLH CIO James Thomas tops 2013 CIO 100

University College London Hospitals director of IT James Thomas has been named the number one CIO in the 2013 edition of the CIO 100 list - while London 2012 Olympics CIO Gerry Pennell received a special Outstanding Achievement award in recognition of his unique contribution.

The CIO 100 judging panel, which comprised of Editor in Chief Mark Chillingworth and magazine columnists - many of whom are former CIOs - Mike Altendorf, Jerry Fishenden, Richard Sykes, Ade McCormack, Ian Alderton and Rorie Devine, placed Thomas above JLT Group CIO Ian Cohen and Unilever's Willem Eelman. Last year's number one Trevor Didcock of easyJet was ninth.

The panel agreed Thomas showed what the CIO can do for an organisation in terms of sourcing strategy and management, process improvement and being a board level leader that enables an organisation to think openly and differently, with technology playing a key role.

In the last year UCLH has opened a groundbreaking new cancer centre in association with the Macmillan charity. This development and the pioneering approach to public sector technology sourcing and provision pushed Thomas to the head of the list.

"At a time when the public healthcare system in the UK is struggling, James Thomas and UCLH demonstrate the importance of technology to improve the efficiency of an organisation so that it can do more for its most important community, it's users," said Mark Chillingworth, Editor in Chief of CIO UK.

"Also, financial services, retail and manufacturing are facing some very tough challenges in the current economic climate; Ian Cohen and Willem Eelman of JLT and Unilever respectively, demonstrate what organisations in these sectors can achieve by enhancing the power of digital collaboration and data analysis. Both organisations are seeing benefits from backing their CIOs to be innovative and provide the company with greater insight," Chillingworth said.

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"James Thomas is a very worthy successor to easyJet's Trevor Didcock," said former ICI CIO Sykes.

"But like a CAMRA pub of the year," quipped Devine on Didcock, "you can't win two years running."

Ade McCormack said that Eelman's "been quite masterful in the way he's taken charge of IT at Unilever".

Pennell was recognised by the judges due to the unique nature of the London 2012 CIO role and the popularity and respect he has garnered in the UK CIO scene. It was noted how it has been impossible to judge Pennell over the last four years making him ineligible on previous editions of the CIO 100; his entire delivery and achievements hinged on one glorious summer last year.

View the CIO 100