by Mark Chillingworth

The CIO UK guide to the Tour de France jerseys our IT leaders would win

Jul 01, 2010

It’s the Friday before the greatest cycling event in the world starts for 2010, the Tour de France. The CIO community seems to be a peloton packed with technology leaders that are also keen cyclists. So with our relaxed Friday demeanour in full cadence and the Tour de France excitement ramping up on the CIO desks, we decided to take a look at the CIO pack and see what jerseys our leading IT riders would wear. Yellow Jersey The famous yellow jersey, or as it should be known in its natural language, maillot jaune is worn by the general classification leader and overall winner. Lance Armstrong has worn it more times than any other rider and this year’s contest between 2009 winner Alberto Contador, Armstrong and Britain’s young hope Bradley Wiggins looks set to be a classic. Of our CIOs the clear winner of the Yellow Jersey is Andrew Brothers, CIO of leisure group Whitbread. Brothers is not only a leading CIO, he’s also probably our most proficient cyclist as he completed the London-Paris Pro/Amevent in June, a notoriously hard event that covers 550 kilometres in three days and attracts major sporting starts like James Cracknell the Olympic gold medallist and former professional cyclist Stephen Roche. Just like the real tour the event has rolling closed roads.

Read the fullAndrew Brothers interview Brothers began his career at retailer Sainsbury’s before joining CSC, which itself was once a keen sponsor of a leading Tour de France team. Joining Whitbread as a Change Programme director in 2008, Brothers moved into the CIO saddle last year. Green Jersey Worn by the rider who wins the most the points for winning stages, it is often considered the jersey for sprinters, hence British racing legend Mark Cavendish, who won a record six stages last year, is considered a likely contender this year. So how do we pick a CIO to wear the coveted green jersey? We are looking for a CIO that is good at delivery and challenging the perceptions of both the organisation and the sector it operates in. So we’re putting David Jack, CIO at in the green jersey. The rail ticketing website has transformed rail travel and made booking easier. As an online only business it has that start-up feel to it and Jack told CIO last year that it has a “never ending appetite for scaling up transaction per second and cutting out latency,” which sounds just like a sprint finish on the Champs Elysees of Paris. Read the fullDavid Jack interview King of the mountains The polka dot jersey is worn by the rider who reaches the top of mountain climbs first. It is a special kind of rider that can reach the top of summits such as the Mont Ventouxin Provence. As a mountain biker in the Surrey Hills, known in the south east for its challenging climbs, Vincent Kelly at Orange Business Services is our pick for the polka dot jersey. He is leading a programme at Orange called IS 2010 to match the responsiveness of IT to business priorities, a mountain of effort many CIOs have to climb.

Read the Vincent Kelly interview with CIO UK White jersey – Young rider classification Given to the youngest rider showing the most promise, we’re handing our CIO white jersey to Roger Scholes, CIO at ZF Trading in the midlands. The youthful CIO has also added running the finance arm of the vehicle parts supply business and although he admits that young children prevent him from doing as much cycling as he likes, he is still one of the IT leaders to watch. He’s been involved in SAP implementations and has full access to the board.

Read the Roger Scholes interview Combativity award Distinguished by the white numbers on a red square, this award is given to the rider who makes the most attacks. Of course attacks sounds a bit too aggressive for a CIO, who are constantly aligning with the business, so we are picking a CIO who has attacked a trend that could have damaged the business sector he operates in and turned it into a winning scenario. So the combativity award goes to Bill Brindle at business travel providers Hogg RobinsonGroup who challenges the trend towards business users booking travel directly online with airlines by building an IT platform that Hogg Robinson clients can use to not only book travel, but manage their travel budgets and policies.

Read the CIO UK interview with Bill Brindle