Morrisons Chief Technology Director Anna Barsby discusses new role at retailer and plans for the future

Supermarket giant Morrisons had a busy 2016. The Bradford-based supermarket chain bounced back into profit in January and signed a distribution deal with Amazon to deliver fresh and frozen foods for the platform on its way to four consecutive quarters of sales growth.

The year ahead could prove even more eventful for new Chief Technology Director Anna Barsby, who was hired in August 2016 after a four-year stint at Halfords. Barsby had earned a reputation for strong change leadership at the retail giant, after steering a digital transformation that included the company's first move from a physical server into the cloud to improve performance during peak retail periods.

Her foremost priority for her new role is hiring talented staff to support an ambitious improvement plan.

"I think the key for me in the technology area is encouraging the talent up into this area to help me with the massive improvement programmes that we are going to be undertaking," says Barsby, who topped the CIO 100 in 2015.

"There are so many opportunities to enable business growth and turnaround for us and I really need some very strong leaders, managers and doers as part of my team to help that journey. Among our key priorities are to simplify and speed up the business while putting customers first."

Hiring new talent

Barsby believes that the future success of technology at Morrisons will be driven by adding new talent to the existing knowledge and skills of the current team, and has a host of job openings available at the company.

"We've got some fantastic opportunities in the technology team across the board from security to analysis to design to architecture to leaders - we want talent to come up and join this team at this critical time," she says.

"We won't achieve what we want to achieve without some new talent to complement the knowledge of Morrisons that we've got and the two together will really help us succeed."

Barsby joined Morrisons in part because of the company's challenging but supportive culture.

"I wanted to be somewhere that had a really big focus and improvement target," she says. "But I also wanted to be somewhere where I knew I would be supported through that journey."