by Ian Cohen

The CIO Questionnaire: Ian Cohen

Jan 13, 2011
CareersFinancial Services IndustryIT Leadership

Ian Cohen’s arrival at risk and insurance specialists Jardine Lloyd Thompson (JLT) in July 2009 marked a return to the financial sector for the CIO who started out delivering e-commerce for the Lloyds TSB Group.

Where were you born? London – a true cockney (within the sound of Bow Bells, when they were actually chiming)

How many people work in your IT department? Confidential but for scale we are between 100 and 500, plus major infrastructure and application outsource relationships.

What is the basic structure of your IT department? Service centric org structure with heavy focus on commercial and relationship management (vendor and internal) due to the heavy use of outsource and development partners.

Who are your key suppliers? HCL, Dell, EMC, Cisco, C&W, Microsoft, Hitachi

What devices does your department support and how many? Way too many to list – we will be rationalising and virtualizing at the back office and increasing our client device footprint (iPad, iPhone, Android, RIM etc)

Who has/have been the most influential people in your career? Sir Brian Pitman (when at Lloyds Bank), David Taylor (the Naked Leader), Bruce Forbes (as Group Ops Director at the Financial Times), Marcus Buckingham (leadership speaker & coach)

Do you believe in mentoring? No executive can do without coaching and mentoring tailored to their specific needs.

Which tools or tactics have given you most success in communicating up/down/across? Honesty & integrity – say what you mean and mean what you say. It’s the only thing of value you have to offer

What has been your biggest mistake? Took a big bet on WAP in the 90’s

And your greatest success? Helping return the FT to profitability in the noughties

How do you keep up to date with the march of technology? Network, network and network

How do you deal with stress? Carefully

What profession would you most/least like to attempt? Most & Least = Musician. Been there, done it and own the T Shirt but never reached the levels I’d have liked

Which word or phrase do you most use/overuse? Strengths – play to them always

Which business (or other) books have been influential in your career? The Naked leader (David Taylor), Go put your strengths to work (Marcus Buckingham), Winnie-the-Pooh on Management: In which a Very Important Bear and his friends are introduced to a Very Important Subject (Roger Allen), Mash (Richard Hooker), Catch 22 (Joseph Heller)

Do you have a sport you practice or sportsperson/team that you follow? I have been (since 1967) and will always be a Chelsea fan. I play tennis – though not very well any more and take out my frustrations in the gym.

What else do you do outside of work? Spend time with my Wife and Children