The world of the UK CIO is a dynamic one. It’s not unusual to find tech leaders facing new, challenging roles where they can bring their experience and digital transformation vision to fruition.
Here, we bring you all the relevant announcements from the movers and shakers of the CIO UK community.
Do you have any appointment or job news to share? Let us know!
Charlotte Baldwin has joined Bupa Insurance as its chief information, digital and transformation Officer.
Baldwin has held senior IT roles at Pearson, Thomson Reuters and Deloitte, and was #3 CIO in the 2020 CIO 100 in the UK. Her most recent role was chief digital and technology officer at international law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, where she spent four years.
“I am very excited to announce that this week I have joined Bupa Insurance as their Chief Information, Digital and Transformation Officer,” said Baldwin, in a statement on LinkedIn. “Using the power of technology to help people live longer, healthier, happier lives is a mission that I can really get behind.”
Natalie Whittlesey, EMEA technology officer at management consultant firm Korn Ferry, has become the director and head of CIO practice at recruitment company Investigo.
“I want to say a huge thank you to Korn Ferry for a whirlwind two years. Like a whirlwind it was sometimes scary (pandemic followed by extreme volumes of work) but also a wonder to behold due to the fantastic brand, products, clients (genuinely wonderful) and most of all the incredible people I worked alongside,” she said on LinkedIn.
Whittlesey has held CIO positions at manufacturing, charity and utilities organisations, worked as CDIO of a major government department and as a CTO of an international high-growth agricultural tech business.
Whittlesey told CIO UK that she’s reporting to the CRO, and ‘responsible for the evolution of the Investigo Executive business (more news to follow) and heading up the CIO Practice.’
Christine Ashton, long-time CIO, IT director and CIO UK 100 judge, has joined open source software company SUSE as its chief information officer.
“Being open, adaptive and building community is something SUSE has been doing since 1992 to solve technology and business challenges,” said Ashton, on LinkedIn. “I can’t think of a better purpose at this time for the next leg of my journey.”
Ashton has held CIO, CTO, SVP and NED (non-executive director) roles over her career and across sectors including media, retail, telecommunications, oil, energy, manufacturing and the supply chain.
Ilona Simpson, who formerly held senior IT leadership roles at Adidas, Porsche and DHL, has joined security vendor Netskope as its new EMEA CIO.
“From the CIO perspective, I have experienced first-hand the ways that cybersecurity can evolve from being an obstacle to ultimately become an enabler. The most important shift to achieve this is, I believe, changing the relationship between security and performance to remove frictional trade-offs,” said Simpson on LInkedIn.
Prior to joining Netskope, Simpson held IT leadership roles with major automotive, supply chain, utilities and consumer goods companies, including the positions of vice president, CIO and transformation officer at Adidas; the UK CIO of Porsche; and vice president of IT at DHL.
Sean Sadler, the former head of information technology at MWI Animal Health, and VP of IT at research firm MarketCast, has become a cloud advisory consultant at consultancy CGI.
“I’m extremely excited about the opportunity I have been presented, that will involve advising IT leaders such as myself, how to get the very best out of the public cloud services available and in so doing help them deliver on their cloud and IT strategies,” he said on LinkedIn.
Neil Williams, Croydon Council’s first chief digital officer, leaves at the end of January to join the British Film Institute (BFI) as its new executive director of technology and transformation.
Williams, formerly deputy director at the Government Digital Service and head of gov.uk, recently gave an update on Croydon’s digital transformation journey which has continued despite financial and resource constraints.
Kurt Weideling is the new CTO at the University of Leeds. Weideling had most recently spent 10 months at the Health Research Authority as its chief digital transformation officer as well as four years at Manchester Metropolitan University as CIO and director of information systems and digital services.
On LinkedIn, Weideling, who has also had senior IT roles in the research and energy sectors, describes himself as an ‘innovative leader with a talent for translating strategy into operational success through the successful design, implementation and support of business services in complex global environments.’
Sharon Prior has become the new CCIO at high street retailer Card Factory.
Prior, who describes herself as a ‘digital business transformation leader and CIO, focused on digital, business growth, and agile delivery’, has previously held senior digital roles at IMI Critical Engineering, Upfield, Post Office, Thomson Reuters, Ann Summers and Avon.
“Card Factory is a successful high street specialist retailer, and is undertaking an ambitious growth strategy. The opportunity to become part of their journey is a compelling one, and I very much look forward to working with the incredibly talented team,” she said in a post on LinkedIn.
Kevin Antao, the CIO at Amnesty International, has left the non-profit organisation. Antao, who joined the charity in October 2017 as IT operations manager before being promoted to the CIO role in March 2019, has said that he has no immediate job plans, instead choosing to take the downtime to learn and do volunteering.
“The last four years showed me just how much the world needs Amnesty,” he said on LinkedIn. “And I feel very privileged to have been able to contribute to its work over that time and collaborate with so many incredible and courageous human rights defenders, activists and staff. From defending against countless cyber-attacks, to developing tech solutions to support Individuals at Risk, Prisoners of Conscience, the Digital Verification Corps, Pegasus, Preventing Online Violence Against Women – there’s never been a dull moment.
“I hope that I leave Amnesty healthier and more effective than I found it. I feel happy that my own achievements there — Cloud Transformation, website refactoring, ERP tools (Dynamics365) and the many other new tools and services I delivered — will mean that supporters, activists and staff can be even more effective in their work defending human rights.”
Ursula Bolton, the first CTO at the British Heart Foundation, has joined Lloyds Banking Group and will lead on technology strategy delivery.
“During my time here, I have had the honour of becoming the first CTO for the BHF, create the Technology directorate, lead BHF’s awesome Technology Team and be a founding member of the Technology Advisory Group,” she said on LinkedIn. “I couldn’t have done any of this without all the awesome people who worked alongside me and took the journey together with me.”
Simon Bolton, the interim chief executive of NHS Digital, will become the new CIO of the newly-formed NHS England & Improvement body, which is to encompass NHS Digital and NHSX.
Bolton, who will report into the group’s director of transformation, Tim Ferris, said that the NHS needs “coherent, consistent leadership on tech if it is to survive and thrive” and acknowledges that messaging among the different digital entities has caused “confusion and frustration” in the past. The consolidation of duties, as he noted on Twitter, aims to improve agility, patient outcomes and reduce inefficiencies.
NHS Digital said they had no further news on the merger at the time of writing, or Bolton’s change of role. You can read more about the new role, and what the merger means for the digital transformation of the NHS, in our news analysis here.
Ardonagh Advisory Holdings Ltd has appointed Tom Clark as its CTO.
Clark reports to COO Marcus Golby and brings over 20 years’ experience driving technology within businesses. He comes to Ardonagh, which claims to be the UK’s ‘largest independent insurance distribution platform’ and a top 20 broker globally, from credit management business Lowell Group, where he held the position of group chief architect and CIO (group functions).
“Ardonagh has rightly identified that the development of digital advancements will prove critical to customer experience and the subsequent growth of its business. I am delighted to be able to support Advisory as it continues to lead the way in this field,” Clark said in a statement on the company website.
Virgin Atlantic’s CDIO Ash Jokhoo joined Direct Line Group as the insurer’s new CIO.
Jokhoo is a member of its executive committee and reports into Penny Jones, DLG’s CEO, who announced the news on LinkedIn.
Jokhoo joined DLG from Virgin Atlantic, where he served as chief data and information officer with responsibility for the global technology transformation for Virgin Atlantic Airways and Virgin Holidays. The executive talked about survival and IT prioritisation through the pandemic at the CIO Summit 2021, and inspiring the next-generation of IT leaders.
Prior to working at Virgin Atlantic, Jokhoo was CIO for the UK and Ireland at Centrica and has held other senior IT roles at TalkTalk and BT. He is a member of the 2021 CIO 100.
“It’s great to be joining an organisation that has truly put technology and data at the heart of its vision for the future,” said Jokhoo. “I’m so excited to get to work with the all the teams across the Group, accelerating the digital future for our customers.”
Karan Jain, head of technology Europe and Americas for Australian Bank and financial services company Westpac Banking, has left to become CEO of FinTech start-up NayaOne, where he will oversee strategy, product, commercial and investment prospects.
At Westpac, London-based Jain was responsible for product development and distribution of financial products and services, with a responsibility for algorithmic trading at the group as well as technology, cybersecurity and innovation in the northern hemisphere.
“My decision to leave such a meaningful job to pursue something of my own at this stage in my career was not an easy decision. Truthfully, I am slightly nervous, but I am more energised and excited by the prospect of using my skills and knowledge to empower more people with the use of emerging technologies,” said Jain on LinkedIn.
Jonathan Cole, director of information and CIO of the British Army, has retired after 35 years working for the military.
Cole had been CIO since April 2018.
In a LinkedIn post, he said: “I look back with fondness, gratitude and amazement at my experiences. I have worked and lived with incredible people all the way. And I look ahead with pride in the Army and an expectation that it will continue to adapt to change ahead.”
Danny Attias has been appointed as Chief Digital and Information Officer at London Business School, marking the first time the education establishment has hired a full-time, permanent CIO.
Attias topped the CIO 2020 100 list in his role at stem cell register and blood cancer charity Anthony Nolan, where he helped deliver on an evergreen technology strategy, develop a culture of data-driven collaboration and scaled an impressive array of projects with a small IT team.
Taking over from interim CIO Stephen Potter, Attias will be tasked with modernisation the school’s technology and approach to digital, and has vowed to lead on diversity and inclusion. He reports into François Ortalo-Magné, the Dean at London Business School.
“My initial focus will be to shift the focus from large, complex projects to delivering rapid, incremental, digital benefits that add value to the School on a continuous basis … As well as join together all of the data and digital talent across various silos in the School into a community that works together towards shared goals with coming told and methodologies in order to better understand the complete journey of our students and provide them with a more personalised experience,” Attias told CIO UK.
Christina Scott joined energy supplier Ovo as the company’s new Chief Product and Technology Officer.
Formerly CTO at News UK, where she was responsible for overseeing the technology, data and product functions, as well as leading the emerging technology practice for the media company globally, Scott will lead the technology and product teams at Ovo to ‘provide intelligent energy technology solutions to support the decarbonisation of UK homes.’
Prior to News UK, Christina held the position of chief product and information officer at the Financial Times where she was responsible for driving the company’s digital transformation, using data insight to drive customer experience.
Christina has more than 20 years’ experience in technology leadership having previously worked at a number of blue chip companies including the BBC and Accenture. Christina will report to Ovo Adrian Letts.
Jayne Showell, the CIO at Severn Trent Water, became the chief information and digital officer for Coventry Building Society at the end of September.
Reporting to CEO Steve Hughes, Showell will be accountable for information security, service and operations, strategy and engineering. Showell told CIO UK she has been brought into CBS to drive ‘digital transformation across the organisation’.
Retailer Wickes announced that Mohamed El Fanichi was to join as its CITO on 1st September in what is a newly recreated role, following the de-merger of Wickes from Travis Perkins this April.
Mohamed reports directly to CEO, David Wood and is a member of the Wickes Executive Committee.
Mohamed joins from The Landmark Group UAE, where he has been CIO since March 2017.
Prior to that Mohamed held a number of technology and business systems leadership roles for the Kingfisher Group where he worked from 2009 until 2017.
Global health and care technology company Tunstall Healthcare announced the appointment of Gary Steen as Group Chief Technology Officer (CTO).
Steen, who was previously Group Managing Director for Technology at telecommunications provider TalkTalk, now leads Tunstall’s innovation and development function globally. He is responsible for all solutions and products from Tunstall’s technology delivery centres in the UK, Sweden and Germany.
Prior to joining TalkTalk, Steen — a regular CIO 100 member and guest of the CIO UK podcast — worked as CTO for MDS Global, a software services business where he was responsible for running core product deliveries across Europe, Australia and the US.
Doug Drinkwater is an experienced technology and security journalist, whose work has appeared on CIO, CSO, InfoWorld, Internet Business Times, Macworld, Mashable, PCWorld, SC Magazine and The Week, among other publications. He is the CIO UK editor at IDG.