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Builder firm backs IT with new board role

Antony Adshead
Building materials supplier Wolseley Centers has appointed IT director Derek Hufton to the board as it gears up to replace legacy applications with ERP kit.

The development contrasts with the decision by supermarket chain Somerfield to scrap the post of IT director - a move seen by analysts as representing an increased fragmentation of the role.

Wolseley, which runs 1,400 branches of Builder and Plumb Center, said it wanted to put IT on a more strategic footing within the organisation in response to customer and partner demand for increased e-business links.

IT director Hufton joined Wolseley Centers from local government in 1988, and will represent the IT function on the board and head a team of 60 IT staff.

He said, "The chief executive is enlightened to the need for IT as a separate discipline on the board and most would agree it is a vital component of business today in the value chain linking us with customers and suppliers.

"I welcome broader involvement in business and IT strategy. I have come through a traditional IT route but pride myself on understanding the business. IT gets closer to understanding the end-to-end processes of business than other functions," he said.

Plans include investigating the replacement of bespoke legacy core applications with ERP.

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