by Mark Chillingworth

Philip Langsgale’s legacy

Jan 24, 20132 mins

It is a sad start to 2013 with the sudden loss of Department for Work and Pensions CIO Philip Langsdale in late December 2012. Aged just 56 Langsdale was one of the UK’s leading CIOs in a career that included a successful tenure at BAA. Colleagues from the BCS, of which he was a Fellow, and his CIO peers were shocked and saddened by his passing. 
I never had the opportunity to meet with Langsdale, but I corresponded with him and like many was impressed with his incisive knowledge and selfless care for the CIO community. 
It was Langsdale’s passion for sailing that won him a place on the cover of CIO when we first met him at the London Boat Show. He was there as a businessman, having rescued British boat builder Cornish Crabbers from joining the too-long list of failed manufacturers. He showed that CIOs aren’t just good with technology – they also have real business sense.
The digital revolution continues to reshape the world we live in. Digital consumption will increase, but customers will continue to expect physical operations. Increasing the digital services within our organisations to make them more efficient, to enable innovation and to offer flexibility and retention of talent will be key for CIOs in 2013 and beyond.
There are also challenges. Technology will be arbiter of all change, whether instigated by our organisations or beyond them. A digitised and interactive consumer base will not and should not stand for tax avoidance, poor service and ecological abuse. 
From what Langsdale’s peers tell me he understood all these opportunities and challenges and enjoyed tackling them head on. Our thoughts now are with his family and those close to him. Probably the best tribute we can offer Philip Langsdale is to embrace those opportunities and challenges that business technology faces, just as he did, and navigate our way to smoother waters.