Standard Life scraps CIO role in IT shake-up

Christian Torkington, the IT leader at Standard Life, has left the insurance firm amid a host of changes in senior management.

Christian Torkington, the IT leader at Standard Life, has left the insurance firm amid a host of changes in senior management, Computer Weekly can reveal.

Standard Life had appointed Torkington for the executive role of director of operations and IT - the latter part of the job being the equivalent of a group chief information officer - in March 2010 as part of a plan to position IT as a key area of the overall business agenda. This followed the retirement of previous IT director Keith Young in December 2009.

But as a result of the latest changes, the role of group CIO will no longer exist. Transformation director Sandy Begbie - formerly HR director at financial services firm Aegon, who joined Standard Life in January 2010 - will have executive responsibility for all group central functions including IT, facilities and procurement.

Begbie, who also holds an executive position, will have four direct reports within IT and operations, each responsible for the delivery of the day-to-day strategy implementation.

"There has been extensive change within IT and operations in the past six months, as we've been moving towards a model where the responsibility for IT is embedded in each business unit, rather than one large central function," said a Standard Life spokesman.

"This operating model means that we have a lean group central IT function which is more focused on operational strategy than tactical delivery. For this reason, it made sense to combine the executive responsibility under Sandy Begbie - who has responsibility for all other group central functions."

As part of the recent changes, Paul Chong is joining the firm as group IT and commercial director, a newly created position. According to Standard Life, Chong joins the company on 7 November and will play "an important role in shaping and directing the company's future IT policy."

Similarly to Begbie, Chong is also a former Aegon employee, where he worked as IT and change director since 2008.


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