As the leading CIO in the 2014 CIO 100 Stephen Kneebone, CIO of Nissan Europe, will head the leadership stand at the CIO Summit on September 24th at The Langham Hotel. Kneebone topped the CIO 100 this year for with his collaborative leadership style across a major European manufacturing organisation and for being a key part of a management team that encourages the entire organisation to think differently and is therefore very innovative.
Despite the continuing global recession Nissan in 2013 had a three-month waiting list for its UK developed and manufactured Quashqai model. Kneebone has been with Nissan Europe since 2006 in a variety of business transformation roles and took on the CIO role in 2012. The CIO 100 judging panel said Kneebone showed that the manufacturing industry can adopt the digital multi-channel sales operations seen in retail. Ian Cox was impressed with the levels of collaboration that Kneebone shows.
Kneebone has a background in engineering and has worked with some of the titans of high end manufacturing. He began his career with a PhD from famed engineering university Coventry.
At Nissan Europe Kneebone has a leadership role beyond technology, he is also Vice President for External and Government Affairs, a team he describes as being critically important for the business development of the Nissan Leaf all electric car that Nissan sell.
Kneebone's CIO remit also goes beyond the operational IT Nissan requires as a business, he and his team are also delivering telematics technology into the cars that go out to market, which includes systems that have Facebook and Google Search integrated to them.
What he told CIO UK:
"I have a team of 250 across Europe, 33% of our resource support operations.
"We are in the process of establishing a Digital Services Organisation to complement and support delivery of an end to end Digital Customer Journey. Digital is where IS can really have a role, as the experience has to be engaging, offering online configuration, and design. An integrated centre of excellence delivering digital services will allow us to up our game and make buying a car a more natural retail experience," he says. It was this focus on the customer and the future of customer journeys that impressed the CIO 100 judges.
The Nissan business is divided into six global units. Kneebone is based in Paris, the headquarters for Nissan in Europe as a result of its alliance with French vehicle manufacturer Renault. In Europe one of Nissan's most significant manufacturing plants is Sunderland in the North East of England. In 2013 the Sunderland factory manufactured 501,756 making it one of the most productive factories in the car industry.
“We don’t have any cars in compounds. We can slow the line down and we can provide that build visibility to the dealers,” Kneebone says. While many manufacturers focus on volume and fill fields with cars in the hope that they don’t depreciate too much, Nissan has an information-led strategy to its in demand manufacturing facilities.
Kneebone will be joined on the stage of the CIO Summit by Gideon Kay, CIO of Dentsu Aegis Network, a multinational media and digital marketing agency headquartered in London and Brigadier Alan Hill, CIO of the British Army.
Join us for the 2014 CIO Summit:
The 2014 CIO Summit takes place on September 24th at The Langham Hotel, London 9am to 5pm. This year’s event will see 11 CIOs from national, international, private and public sector organisations discuss the transformations they have managed over the last five years and their vision for the next.