The most influential women in UK IT

Computer Weekly is pleased to announce the first ever list of the most influential women in UK IT

Computer Weekly is pleased to announced our first ever list of the most influential women in UK IT.

Our aim was to focus on the role of women in IT, to recognise the most influential role models and discuss the vital part that female IT leaders will take in making a difference to the future of the UK's high-tech economy.

The winners were announced at a special event yesterday in London, and selected by a judging panel of employers and IT leaders from across the industry and by our readers.

Industry employment surveys suggest that less than 18% of the UK IT workforce is female, and at senior IT leadership levels that falls below 10%. The 25 inspirational women who made it onto our list represent the role models that will be so important to the future diversity and success of the tech community.

1. Jane Moran, global CIO, Thomson Reuters

As global CIO for Thomson Reuters, Jane Moran brings over 25 years of financial services and information technology expertise to the organisation. She manages a centralised global staff of 1,200. During her career, Jane has held a number of senior leadership roles including CIO of Thomson Financial and of CCBN. Jane actively participates in women in IT initiatives, such as the Thomson Reuters Women’s Network, Women in Technology International, the Anita Borg Institute and the National Center for Women in Technology.

Read an interview with Jane Moran on women in IT and diversity in the workplace.

2. Dame Wendy Hall, Professor of Computer Science at University of Southampton

Wendy Hall is founding director, along with Sir Tim Berners-Lee, Professor Nigel Shadbolt, and Daniel J. Weitzner, of the Web Science Research Initiative, which was launched in 2006 as long-term research collaboration between the University of Southampton and MIT. She is a Fellow of the BCS, the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Institute of Engineering and Technology, and the Royal Society. She became a Dame Commander of the British Empire in the 2009 UK New Year's Honours list. She was also awarded a CBE in June 2000.

3. Lesley Cowley, CEO, Nominet

Lesley Cowley has been chief executive of Nominet since 2002, and is responsible for leading the UK internet registrar and for the development and implementation of strategy. In 2007, she won the CBI First Women Award for Technology. In 2006, she was a top five finalist in Britain’s Best Boss awards and received a special commendation. Cowley is an elected Council Member of the Country Code Names Supporting Organisation and is a Fellow of the BCS.

4. Kate Craig-Wood, managing director, Memset; Intellect board member

Kate Craig-Wood founded Memset with her brother, Nick, in late 2002, leading the firm to become one of the UK's top cloud and hosting providers. She chairs Intellect's climate change group, as well as sitting on the trade body's main and operations boards. Recently she also co-led the technical strand of phase two of the Cabinet Office's G-Cloud and App Store project. 

5. Jennifer Rigby, CIO, Department of Energy and Climate Change

Following an IT career at organisations such as the BBC, The National Archives and the Home Office, Jennifer Rigby became the CIO at the Department for Energy and Climate Change in January 2011. The sustainability team that Rigby leads delivered a reduction of more than 21% in carbon emissions. In January Rigby became chair of the Green Delivery Unit responsible for leading the delivery of the Government Green ICT strategy.

6. Martha Lane Fox, UK government digital champion

Martha Lane Fox is the UK's Digital Champion and the founder of Go ON UK, which she chairs. She is also chair of the Government Digital Service's advisory board and sits on the Cabinet Office Efficiency and Reform board. Lane Fox co-founded in 1998 and sold the business to Sabre Holdings in 2005.

7. Sue Black, founder, <GoTo> Foundation; Bletchley Park campaigner; senior research associate, University College London

Sue Black is a senior research associate in the Department of Computer Science at University College London, and has been widely acclaimed for her role in campaigning to save Bletchley Park, the home of the UK's secret codebreakers in World War 2. She founded BCSWomen in 2001, which now has over 1200 members. Black also set up The <GoTo> Foundation, a non-profit organisation which aims to make computer science more meaningful to the public.

8. Catherine Doran, CIO, Royal Mail Group

As the third Royal Mail CIO in less than 18 months, Doran inherited a controversial IT transformation programme, as well as the likelihood of splitting off the Post Office as part of the reorganisation of the UK postal service. She is responsible for devising and delivering the IT strategy to transform the technology estate. She joined Royal Mail from Network Rail where she led a company-wide transformation programme.

9. Ailsa Beaton, director of information, Metropolitan Police

Ailsa Beaton is director of information and CIO on the Metropolitan Police Service's management board. Her Directorate of Information provides ICT services to the 51,000 police officers and staff of the Metropolitan Police across 750 locations. The directorate is also responsible for the strategic development of the role of IT in policing in London.

10. Bernadette Wightman, managing director, partner organisation, emerging markets, Cisco

Bernadette Wightman led the largest channel sales operation for Cisco outside the US with over 2,000 registered partners transacting more than 90% of Cisco’s UK and Irish business. Since joining Cisco in 1999, Wightman has held various positions including leading the UK and Ireland small and medium business organisation. She is executive sponsor for Cisco’s Connected Women Network, set up to attract the best female talent into the IT industry.

11. Joanna Shields, managing director, Facebook Europe

Joanna Shields is responsible for building Facebook's revenue and developing strategic partnerships across the region. She was a former executive vice president for people networks at AOL until May, 2009, responsible for extending the global reach of AOL’s social networks. Before joining AOL, Shields was president of Bebo, prior to which she was managing director for Google Europe.

12. Christine Ashton, CIO, BG Group

Christine Ashton is regional CIO for BG Group, responsible for IT strategies across this global energy company. Prior to joining BG Group in 2010, she was group strategy and technology director at Transport for London. From 2001 to 2008, Ashton held senior IT positions at BP. She is a Chartered Fellow of the BCS.

13. Denise McDonagh, IT director, Home Office; director of G-Cloud programme

Denise McDonagh has worked in government IT for 31 years, beginning her career at a junior level to eventually take one of the top Whitehall IT roles. During the last 10 years she has been focused on dealing with big suppliers - one of her key roles was director of outsourcing at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. In April she took over the government's G-Cloud programme.

14. Susan Cooklin, CIO, Network Rail

Susan Cooklin is CIO at Network Rail. She has experience of dealing with higher education institutions during her career, specifically with the universities of Nottingham and Warwick. Her career has spanned over 20 years in financial services leading business, technology and operational teams across global organisations.

Judging the most influential women in UK IT

The list of the 25 most influential women in UK IT was selected by a judging panel of employers and IT leaders from across the industry, including:

  • Maggie Berry, managing director,
  • India Gary-Martin, managing director of investment banking technology and operations, JPMorgan
  • Sheila Flavell, chief operating officer of IT services firm FDM Group
  • Gary Bullard, Logica UK CEO

…and by a reader vote on our website.

15. Lucy Dimes, CEO, Alcatel Lucent UK

Lucy Dimes was appointed CEO, Alcatel-Lucent UK & Ireland, in April 2011. Previously, she was managing director of Group & Openreach Service Operations at BT. She was also a member of the BT Operate executive board and BT Group equality & diversity board.

16. Ursula Morgenstern, CEO at Atos UK & Ireland

Ursula Morgenstern has been the CEO at Atos UK and Ireland since January, having previously held the role of chief operating officer. She joined Atos Origin in August 2004 as head of enterprise solutions and worked her way up. She was a partner at KPMG for four years and general manager at K&V Information Systems.

17. Yasmin Hilton, CIO, Shell

Yasmin Hilton left Mumbai to go to school in London and finished education with a PhD in genetics from Nottingham University. Hilton joined Shell in 1979 and has been there since. Later this year, she returns to her home country to run Shell's Indian operations.

18. Lesley Sewell, CIO, Post Office

Lesley Sewell joined the Post Office in April 2010 from Northern Rock where she had been managing director for IT since 2005. She is responsible for the development and delivery of IT strategy in support of the business transformation plans, delivering a transformed IT estate and operating model.

19. Katie Davis, director general and managing director, NHS Informatics

Katie Davis is interim managing director of NHS Infomatics and as such is the most senior IT leader in the NHS. Davis was previously executive director of operational excellence in the Cabinet Office Efficiency and Reform Group. Before that, she was executive director of strategy at the Identity and Passport Service, and director of the government IT profession.

20. Angela Morrison, CIO of RBS Insurance / Direct Line Group

Angela Morrison has been CIO of Direct Line Group (formerly known as RBS Insurance) for two years. She previously spent over 18 years in food retailing and IT, including being a member of Sainsbury's operating board. She spent seven years in IT/business consulting before joining Asda, eventually becoming CIO.

21. Polly Gowers, CEO and Founder of Everyclick

Polly Gowers launched Everyclick in 2005 as a fundraising technology company enabling people to donate to any UK charity through online activity. With over 1,500 leading retailers engaged and £2m raised to date, expansion plans into the US are in the pipeline.

22. Elizabeth Varley, chief executive, TechHub

Entrepreneur Elizabeth Varley is co-founder and CEO of TechHub, a physical space for technology start-ups. Based in the emerging tech start-up scene of the Old Street/Shoreditch area of London known as Silicon Roundabout, future plans are to expand TechHub around the world.

23. Karin Cook, COO, HSBC Private Bank

Karin Cook is the chief operating officer for HSBC’s global private banking business, and is responsible for providing operations, technology and infrastructure services to the business.

24. Emer Timmons, president, BT Global Services UK

Emer Timmons has held key roles at large telecoms and professional services firms for over 17 years and is now president of BT Global Services UK. She joined BT in 2006.

25. Laura Barrowman, Managing Director at Credit Suisse

Laura Barrowman has been at Credit Suisse since 1994. She is responsible for 350 staff at six sites in Europe and was central to the replacement of the bank’s ageing market data platform early in 2007.


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