TalkTalk CIO quits to join British Gas

David Cooper is leaving the telecoms company to join British Gas as chief information officer, Computer Weekly can reveal.

The CIO at telecoms firm TalkTalk is leaving the company to join British Gas as chief information officer, Computer Weekly can reveal.

David Cooper will be joining British Gas in April and will work alongside the global CIO at its parent company Centrica, David Bickerton. He will report to Ian Peters, chief operating officer at British Gas.

According to the Cooper, he has already "broken the back of the problem" in the complex brief he was given when he joined the company in 2009 from mobile operator Hutchinson 3G as its first ever CIO. The job involved leading the technology integration of Tiscali and AOL UK to TalkTalk's IT infrastructure, as well as the demerger from Carphone Warehouse. Clive Dorsman, managing director of technology at TalkTalk, will now take overall responsibility for IT at the company.

Cooper says the significant amount of change and rationalisation that has taken place meant the CIO role also changed and that prompted his decision to leave.

"[The British Gas role] is a fantastic opportunity, it is a much bigger role," Cooper told Computer Weekly.

"When I joined, the challenge at TalkTalk was much bigger - just look at everything we have done in the last couple of years. Now, the role is obviously a lot smaller," he said.

Cooper's departure come as Talk Talk announces a major reorganisation to cut costs and increase efficiency. According to Cooper, there will be IT work related to the rationalisation, but the integration project is mainly complete, with "some bits and bobs" still to be done.

"[Future IT work] will be nothing compared to the scale of work we've already done," he said.

Cooper will bring his experience in software integration and rationalisation - particularly in areas such as customer relationship management, provisioning and billing systems - to British Gas at an interesting time: the company is working its own billing engine, which had to be rebuilt following the company's contentious parting from key supplier Accenture.

"That will be an interesting move; I will have to wait and see what the challenges will be," said Cooper.

Read more on IT strategy