IOPener UK—December 2008
Welcome to the last issue in 2008 of “IOPener”, a regular update from Russell Reynolds Associates’ Information Officers Practice (IOP) which highlights executive moves and other developments in the Chief Information Officer (CIO) and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) marketplace in the United Kingdom.
We have continued to see strong demand for hiring in the second half of 2008 within both the CIO and CTO market and there have been opportunities across a range of sectors and geographies, notably retail, financial services and the Middle East.
“We are the function driving change” CIO, FTSE 50 Infrastructure Company
Clients are placing more emphasis on candidates with strong delivery credentials, particularly for large ERP type projects such as SAP. The ability to deliver large-scale projects is proving more important than discrete market sector experience. Consequently there is stronger demand for more mature candidates than for those with higher potential but less experience.
“Is the IT function a cost centre or an innovation centre?” UK public sector COO
Interestingly, we are not yet seeing any radical approaches to cost cutting from CIOs. This is partly because these large, multi-year projects are not easy to downsize or stop. However, we are noticing that some CIOs are taking a much tougher line with vendors and are taking this opportunity in the business cycle to rework their vendor agreements. Those CIOs who are not being creative or robust enough in their approach to cutting technology costs may find themselves “in transition”.
We are delighted to include some commentary from you on topics of interest and in this edition we hear from Rian Liebenberg, CIO EMEA Google, and Dr Ben Booth, Global CTO, Ipsos. We hope you will enjoy this perspective on the Information Officer role and we look forward to talking with many of you in 2009.
IOPening Moves (highlights for June – December 2008)
Ascent Media has promoted Adrian Bull to the position of CTO for Ascent Media Group Europe. He will retain his current responsibilities for their creative division.
Veronique Arnoldi joins as CTO and executive committee member of the global asset management firm. She was previously VP, Energy and Utilities, UK and EMEA for EDS as well as running application services for France.
Vincent Cohan joins as CTO for AXA Technology Services, based in New York. He was previously Head of Technology
Operations, Americas and Offshore, for Thomson Reuters Markets
Phil Langsdale has been appointed CIO and executive committee member for BAA. He was previously Managing Partner of Langsdale Crook and prior to that CEO of BBC Technology.
Barclays Commercial Banking, Global Payments and Wealth Division has hired Suresh Viswanathan as Senior Technology Officer. Suresh joins from Citigroup and replaces Mark Saunders.
Daily Mail & General Trust Group
Northcliffe Media CIO David Henderson has been appointed CIO of the combined IT organisation of Associated News and Northcliffe Media, called A&N Media services.
EDF Trading has appointed Mark Pickering as CIO. Previously Mark was the Global CIO of Shell Trading.
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
Paul Domnick joins the magic circle law firm as Group CIO. Paul was previously the Group Head of IT Strategy and Innovation at Zurich Financial Services.
Heath Lambert Group
Jim Lorimer becomes Strategic Development Director, in addition to his existing CIO role.
Peter Brickley has joined Heineken as the group’s CIO. Previously, Peter was the CIO of Centrica and BAT.
Kenneth Harvey has been appointed to the newly created position of Chief Technology and Services Officer, combining the positions of COO and CIO. He was previously Group CIO.
Johnson Controls International
Colin Boyd becomes Group CIO for the industrial conglomerate. Colin was previously Corporate VP and CIO for Sony Ericsson.
Mark Fisher has been appointed Group Director of IT and Operations and executive committee member. Mark will oversee the integration of LTSB and HBOS. Mark was previously CEO of ABN Amro.
Laurent Allard has been appointed CIO for the Anglo-Dutch IT Services Business. Prior to this Laurent was the CIO of AXA Technology Services.
Gerry Pennell joins as CIO for the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games. Gerry was previously Executive Director of Business Transformation and Shared Services for The Co-operative Bank Financial Services business.
The IOPener Guest Slot
Rian Liebenberg, CIO EMEA, Google, on cloud computing:
This emerging trend will be transformational in nature, it is only a question of how long it will take until there is mass adoption. This adoption will be driven by the increasing prevalence of super lightweight PCs and mobile computing with ‘always on’ connectivity to the Internet, such as the eeePC. These devices are too underpowered to run a full suite of client based applications, and are similar to lightweight dumb terminals. Cloud computing will be important for these devices because it means that those applications where you need to work collaboratively, such as word processing, spreadsheets or photo and video files for example, will be available on a server that you can access from anywhere. Access to “the cloud” removes the need to have expensive per user software licences, and also removes the need to have expensive servers to run them on. Users get to collaborate realtime in workgroups to generate content rapidly, and it makes searching for and finding relevant, up-to-date content and information a lot more powerful. Although network access costs may vary, data centre, support and maintenance costs invariably go down. Most enterprises will be wondering how to get offline access in the event that the ISP goes down. Cached web content, with open source tools such as Google Gears (http://gears.google.com/), offers an approach to overcoming this issue."
Dr. Ben Booth, Global CtO Ipsos:
“As I write some of the biggest names in investment banking have disappeared, and the more lurid commentators are forecasting the end of the civilised world. Previously in such economic conditions IT spending would go on hold, and every possible trick for cost-reduction would be brought into play. Today the “stop spending” option is not tenable, as in the 21st century almost any business (or public sector organisation) needs good technology to be competitive. To remain in business, corporations must continue to implement new ways to meet their clients’ needs - better, cheaper, faster is the constant refrain. Even if growth has slowed or is negative, there is still market share to capture. The challenge therefore is to pick carefully those IT investments which will bring the best return, whilst at the same time to work on reducing costs without reducing service levels. Fortunately on the cost side, at this time, suppliers are willing to be flexible. To pick the areas to invest in the CIO needs to understand and be able to anticipate the thinking of business colleagues, and to have an IT organisation and technology which can react quickly to changes of direction. IT must be “fused” to the business so that twists and turns in strategy can be immediately reflected in IT initiatives. All in all these are challenging times, but with many opportunities for technology to show its value”.
Russell Reynolds Associates and Bain & Company co-hosted a breakfast event on Wednesday 22nd October on the subject of “More for Less: The Changing Buying Patterns of CIOs”. The main observations and themes that came out of the breakfast discussion were around the divergent views from commentators on whether IT budgets would increase or reduce in 2009 and beyond. The consensus view was that they were likely to increase, although CIOs would need to show both innovation and greater process efficiencies elsewhere in the organisation as a result. There was also an interest in pushing third party providers to focus much more on business benefits and innovation than on cost savings. This was particularly important in the context of the outsourcers.