by Tracey Caldwell

The CIO Questionnaire: BBC CIO Tiffany Hall

Feb 01, 2010
CareersIT LeadershipIT Strategy

Tiffany Hall rose through the ranks in the back offices of the BBC, spending many years as head of business systems in news before making the news herself with her appointment as CIO in October 2009.

Q. Where were you born? A. Hertford.

Q. How many people work in your IT department? A. Our outsourced partner, Siemens, has about 1200 staff on the BBC account and in-house there are about 500. We run combined engineering and IT functions, so the staff aren’t just working on traditional IT. This excludes audience-facing developers.

Q. What is the basic structure of your IT department? A. Strategy, architecture, supplier management, major projects, technology development and delivery, business systems, information security, technology operations.

Q. Do you believe in mentoring? A. I do. I had useful in-house coaching from the BBC training department a few years ago and I have a senior manager mentor.

Q. Which tools or tactics have given you most success in communicating? A. Cutting through increasing levels of heat in an email chain by picking up the phone or dropping by someone’s desk.

Q. What has been your biggest mistake? A. Not working a ski season when I was young.

Q. And your greatest success? A. I’m still pretty bowled over by getting this job, though it’s too soon to talk about success.

Q. How do you keep up to date with the march of technology? A. I’m on a lot of daily/weekly update emails which I skim and dip into as something catches my eye. Now that I have a very short commute to work I struggle to fit in the level of industry reading that I’d like to.

Q. How do you deal with stress? A. I try and keep a sense of perspective, and a sense of humour. Outdoor activity at the weekend helps as well.

Q. What profession would you most/least like to attempt? A. I would hate to be an air traffic controller.

Q. Do you have a sport you practise? A. A couple of years ago I took up white-water kayaking and more recently sea kayaking. I love being out on the water.

Q. What else do you do outside of work? A. Cycling and a fair amount of eating out.

Read the BBC entry in the CIO 100

Read the full CIO interview with Tiffany Hall, BBC CIO