UKtech50: The most influential people in UK IT

Computer Weekly can today announce the first ever list of the 50 most influential people in UK IT.

The UKtech50 is the first list of the real movers and shakers in UK IT – the CIOs, industry executives, public servants and business leaders driving the creation of a high-tech economy. Most of these types of lists in the past have looked at the IT sector globally – uniquely, we concentrated on UK-based individuals or Brits abroad, so the list is not dominated by obvious names such as Bill Gates or Steve Jobs.

Our panel of expert judges, representing every sector of the IT community, voted Philip Clarke, the IT director and CEO-designate of Tesco to top the first UKtech50 as the most influential individual in IT over the next 12 months.

Clarke is the IT guy who made good, by achieving the long-stated goal of the IT leader – to step up and run one of the most successful and high-profile companies in the UK. His promotion makes him a role model for every ambitious IT professional and breaks a glass ceiling that held IT managers back for many years.

But Clarke is not alone on the UKtech50 list as a CIO that has bridged the IT-business divide. One of the clear trends of this first ranking is the appearance of a number of former IT leaders who have stepped up to take broader roles in the boardroom.

At number seven on the list is David Yu, former CTO and now CEO of Betfair, arguably the most successful online business in the UK, and a firm whose success is entirely dependent on innovative IT. Many eyes will be on the internet gambling company after its recent float on the London Stock Exchange.

Another trend emerging from the list is the growing importance of consumer technology on the business IT world. At number two, Jonathan Ive is perhaps the most successful Brit in Silicon Valley as the man responsible for designing Apple’s products and making technology fashionable.

With BBC director of future media & technology Erik Huggers at number eight, Kip Meek, chairman of TV-over-internet provider YouView at 10, and set-top box maker Pace’s CEO Neil Gaydon at 15, the overlap between internet, broadband, media and consumer tech will be a big factor in IT over the next year.

Key government figures appear high in the list too, with public sector IT strategy and spending cuts inevitably having a wide influence across the sector.

But a more positive role is played by some of the UK’s leading innovators, led by Hermann Hauser at number three as one of the most influential voices in startup funding, with innovative UK companies featuring in Autonomy CEO Mike Lynch (6), and ARM CEO Warren East (11).

Our judges debated long and hard to come up with the list – but as with any such selection, there is always going to be debate. Let us know what you think about the first UKtech50 – via email at computer.weekly@rbi.co.uk or via Twitter at @computerweekly.

UKtech50 was produced by Computer Weekly in association with IBM.

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