As a FTSE 100 global organisation, Reckitt Benckiser is a business behemoth. When Darrell Stein became CIO in 2014 he found that beneath the Goliath facade was a company run as a series of fragmented businesses and very sceptical about technology – its antiquated systems were failing, unable to manage an unwieldy roster of 100 suppliers. Darrell kicked off a 12-month project that shrank those 100 suppliers to a single one. The stable/secure systems across the globe that this brought about have not only delivered a big step-up in service, but also created a platform for the company to develop new technology.

Job title

Company name

How are you influencing the products, customer experience and services your organisation offers to its customers?
I work alongside R&D to create connected devices/products with e2e service experience, allowing consumers to interact directly with RB.

I have created a consumer data programme to ensure all data is held to the appropriate EU and US standards, which are changing. This may not sound sexy, but it’s all about ensuring consumer details are safe when they are held by RB. Safe is sexy.

Define the key business outcomes that you have delivered over the last 12 months and their impact on your organisation’s performance
RB is a FTSE 100 global organisation that has been run as a series of fragmented businesses and very sceptical about technology. 2016 was the year of changing all of that.

Entering 2016 two issues needing addressing: 1) systems failing due to 100 suppliers and antiquated tech, 2) the need to drive revenue generation.

So 2016 was a year of rubbing your tummy and patting your head at the same time. We kicked off a 12-month project to leap from being an assembly of 100 suppliers to one across 60+ markets. This is industry-leading in terms of time, quality and cost (the usual timing is four to five years). This led to stable/secure systems across the globe and created a platform for RB to develop new technology. All delivered with a big step-up in service.

Project 1 freed up resource from the technology team to focus on driving business revenue. This was delivered using an e2e sales and technology programme to digitise sales.  We started in RB’s developing markets (eg China, India, Malaysia, Nigeria). This became the number one sales growth engine in the RB business.     

What has been your involvement with innovation at your organisation – in particular, with products, business model and technology – over the last 12 months?

  • We built from scratch an in-house digital centre in Poland. This team works directly with R&D product teams.
  • I have been front and centre of the constantly evolving organisation model and operating procedures as more processes are digitised.
  • I lead the use of technology and created an architecture board to create a business/IT partnership to agree key priorities to digitise RB.

How have you delivered cultural and behavioural change as a CIO within the IT department and/or more broadly across the organisation?

  • Within IT: I have created a greater commercial and technical awareness among the global group, setting revenue and cost targets in IT. I’ve developed an outside-in approach rather than always looking inside for solutions.
  • Group: I have introduced standard productivity tools under a connected teams project. This has revolutionised ways of working in a global organisation (eg Office 365, telepresence).
  • Group: I have introduced the concept of two-speed ways of working: 1) corporate for ERP, 2) agile for digital/sales and marketing.

How have you worked with your CEO and/or board to communicate whatever ‘digital’ and IT means to your organisation/sector and improve digital literacy at the highest levels of the organisation?
I have worked closely with the CMO, EC and the digital team to develop plans to deliver £2bn of digital revenue by 2020.

How have you worked with the technology and IT vendor market to achieve your business goals? How have you been able to influence IT suppliers and successfully manage your partnerships/relationships with large IT companies, SMEs and startups?
I have introduced strategic partnership relationships with Infosys and Accenture, encouraging direct access with business functions to co-develop plans.

The in-house digital capability in Poland has created a ‘lab’ approach to working with startups and SME organisations to solve business issues.

How have you tried to develop the diversity of your team?
Geographically in 2016: less in the UK and more resource in Poland, Dubai and India.

Describe how you organise and operate IT and how this aligns effectively with business strategy and operations
IT is a global function designed around three global centres that leverage scale. Revenue-generating teams are based in multiple markets working alongside commercial colleagues.

What strategic technology deals have you made in the last year and who are your main suppliers and IT partners?
100 to one supplier consolidation deal signed with Infosys covering infrastructure, apps support and helpdesk globally. And an ERP programme development with Accenture.

What are your key strategic aims for next year?

  • To deliver ERP commitments.
  • To generate an agreed revenue figure.
  • To protect our consumers’ data and RB data.

How are you preparing for any impacts Brexit might have on your organisation?

  • Working with finance.
  • Working with legal on data implications.


When did you start your current role?

What is your reporting line?

Are you a member of the executive leadership?

Are you a member of the board of directors?

What other emerging roles does your organisation have and what is their relationship to you?

How often do you meet with your organisation’s CEO or equivalent?
Every two weeks

How many people at your organisation does your function supply services to?


What is your annual IT budget, or your spend as a proportion of the organisation’s revenue?
2% of revenue

What percentage of your budget is operational spend (ie keeping the lights on) and how much new development (ie innovation, R&D, exploratory IT)?


Rank the following sources of advice/information in order of importance:

  1. CIO peers
  2. Media
  3. Analyst houses
  4. Industry bodies
  5. Consultants


Has your organisation detected a cyber intrusion in the last 12 months?

Are you expecting an increase in budget specific to security in order to tackle the cyber threat?

Does your organisation have a designated security professional – CISO or otherwise – and what is their relationship to you?
Reports to me


Are you finding it difficult to recruit the talent you need to drive transformation?

Has recruitment and retention risen up your agenda as a CIO?

Does your IT organisation operate an apprenticeship scheme?

How many employees are there in your IT team?

Are you increasing your headcount or planning to bring skills and the ability to react to needs in-house?


Which technologies or areas are you expecting to be investing in over the next year?

  • cloud
  • data analytics/business intelligence
  • ERP
  • CRM
  • IoT
  • security
  • devices (mobile).

Which technologies or areas are you expecting to be investing in over the next one to three years?

  • cloud
  • data analytics/business intelligence
  • ERP
  • CRM
  • datacentre/infrastructure/server
  • IoT
  • security
  • AR/VR
  • enterprise applications
  • machine learning/artificial intelligence
  • social
  • devices (mobile)
  • 3D printing
  • networking/communications.

What emerging technologies are you investigating or expect to have a big impact on your sector or organisation?


Does your organisation do a significant amount of trade with the EU?

Does your department include technology staff from the EU?

Are you or have you been looking to the EU to recruit key skills?