Q. Where were you born?
A. Stourbridge, West Midlands but I have spent most of my life in South Manchester.
Q. How many people work in your IT department?
A. Headcount in the UK is 48. We have outsourced helpdesk of 45 heads in Chennai, India (through Cognizant). Then we outsource networks to Fujitsu, with applications split between CSC and Serco.
Q. What percentage of annual turnover does IT represent?
A. 1.75 per cent.
Q. What is the basic structure of your IT department?
A. I have seven direct reports as follows: Head of Customer and Applications; Head of Infrastructure and Service Delivery; Head of International Systems; Head of Projects and Change; Head of Costa Systems; Head of IS Procurement; and Head of Programme Office.
Q. Who has been the most influential person in your career?
A. The district manager in my store manager days at Sainsbury's gave me the opportunity to progress rapidly and helped me understand that I thrive on constant change and achievement.
Q. Do you believe in mentoring?
A. Mentoring is definitely something I support. To have support from someone who is not your "boss" helps you get a different perspective. I have an external coach and will continue to do so. It helps taking time out to think and plan. When I completed my MBA I was coached by a member of the faculty. It definitely helped develop and focus my thinking.
Q. Which tools or tactics have given you most success in communicating?
A. When I was a store manager I learnt that you just have to be yourself with confidence and communicate honestly and openly. It's also important to recognise that not everyone is the same and you have to think about the media you use.
Q. What has been your biggest mistake?
A. Thinking that everyone will move at the same pace as me. I have to make sure that I bring the team with me.
Q. And your greatest success?
A. Personally, my two children are without doubt my greatest success; professionally completing both my BA and MBA part-time while working.
Q. How do you keep up to date with the march of technology?
A. I try to go and listen to events that suppliers and partners put on. It's difficult to find time sometimes so I have to be selective. I've recently been to an event about 'Generation Y'.
Q. How do you deal with stress?
A. I go to the gym as often as possible.
Q. What profession would you most like to attempt?
A. I'd most like to be a music producer or a textile designer.
Q. Which business (or other) books have been influential in your career?
A. Lance Armstrong, It's Not About the Bike, reviewed by CIO staff here.
Q. Do you have a sport you practise or sportsperson/team that you follow?
A. I'm a keen cyclist and very influenced by the team ethic of cycling. I'm currently training for the London-Paris Pro-Am. I'm also a Manchester City fan... and not just since the takeover.
Q. What else do you do outside work?
A. I have two young children so they tend to fill the time!