by Mark Chillingworth

McLaren bolsters leadership team with new CIO

Jul 06, 2015
CareersIT LeadershipManufacturing Industry

As McLaren heads into this weekend’s British Grand Prix at Silverstone, Northamptonshire, the Surrey-based organisation has announced Craig Charlton as its new CIO, replacing Stuart Birrell who has become the new CIO of Heathrow airport.

Charlton has been Group CIO for diamond mining and services business De Beers since October 2012. Since joining the famous 126-year-old mining business Charlton has been leading a major standardisation and modernisation of the technology platforms at the London headquartered global diamond business.

Talking to CIO UK earlier this yearCharlton said: “I inherited a hugely federated business with little group structure, and had to tidy and clean it up with a group-wide strategy in year one, then spend 12 months looking at the common infrastructure and our use of SAP.

“In the second half of 2014, we embarked on a significant programme to digitalise our internal business processes. Sales and marketing are taking a lead, moving away from 30-year-old AS400 technologies that have served us well. This is a major undertaking and will require major business change, technology introduction and improve the end user experience. None of this would be possible if we hadn’t completed the transformational work on our foundational systems, with outsourcing to HCL, BT and Accenture for Infrastructure and Transactional Systems Support in H2 2014,” Charlton said.

Birrell joined Heathrow airport at the beginning of June just weeks before the airport learnt whether it would get the nod for expansion from the Airports Commission. Birrell was CIO for Gatwick, which lost out to Heathrow this week, before joining McLaren in September 2011.

In January of this year McLaren rebranded itself McLaren Technology Group to better describe the diverse areas of its Woking based business. The Formula One team, which currently has two of the world’s three best drivers in Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso in its cars, is the most famous and origins of the business, but McLaren is also a world leading developer and manufacturer of sophisticated automotive electronic systems, operates a restaurant and since 2012 been a manufacturer of luxury sports cars.

In his last interview as CIO of McLarenBirrell explained to this title the wealth of data and collaborative approach to technology McLaren operate. Charlton has a wealth of experience in extracting major value from systems such as SAP – widely used at McLaren – from his time leading technology at De Beers and Anglo American.