UKtech50 2012: Who are the most influential people in UK IT?

Computer Weekly is this week launching the third UKtech50, our annual definitive list of the real movers and shakers in UK IT

Computer Weekly is this week launching the third UKtech50 programme, our annual definitive list of the real movers and shakers in UK IT - the CIOs, industry executives, public servants and business leaders driving the role of technology in the UK economy.

Our aim is to once more identify the 50 most influential leaders in UK IT. Whoever comes on top of the list will be the person that, in the opinion of our expert judging panel and a reader vote, holds the most influence over the future of the UK IT sector in 2013 – and hence the future of IT professionals across the country.

Last year’s winner of the UKtech50 was Mike Lynch, the founder of UK software firm Autonomy. Lynch's year followed an unpredictable path – he topped the UKtech50 after selling Autonomy to HP in 2011 for £7bn, in the process becoming the most senior British executive at the world's largest IT provider. To the surprise of many, he was fired from HP by new CEO Meg Whitman earlier this year – depending on who you believe, due to financial performance, cultural differences or simply his face didn't fit in HP.

But who will follow Lynch as this year’s winner? There will be plenty of candidates from every sector of the UK. 

Judging the UKtech50

The UKtech50 list will be decided by a judging panel representing every area of the UK IT profession – and we will also ask readers to vote on who they think should top the list.

The panel has been chosen to represent different perspectives within IT – so each individual is acting both as an impartial and expert judge, as well as an advocate for their area of interest.

The judges are:

  • Charles Ward, chief operating officer, Intellect
  • Adam Thilthorpe, Director for Professionalism, BCS
  • John Harris, chairman of The Corporate IT Forum, and vice president of global IT strategy, GlaxoSmithKline
  • Marc Dowd, principal of the CIO Group, Forrester Research

Our judging panel will select the top 50 based on the following criteria:

Influence - What authority or ability does the person have – either through their personal position or the role they hold – to personally influence the development of UK IT, or to influence others in positions of authority?

Achievements - What has the person achieved in the past 12 months to help the development of the UK IT?

Profile - Is the person recognised as a role model for aspiring leaders? How widely are they acknowledged by their peers as an authority and influence on UK IT?

Leadership - Does the person demonstrate the skills and experience necessary to be seen as a leader in the development of IT in the UK? Do they have a leadership role and does that help them to develop the role of IT in the UK?

Potential - How likely is it that the person will have a significant impact on UK IT in the next 12 months? Will their authority and responsibility grow?

Next year will see important milestones in government's drive to deliver "digital by default" public services, so perhaps someone from Whitehall will top the list. The roll-out of 4G mobile networks will gather pace in 2013, so perhaps someone in the telecoms sector will stand out? Or will a major corporate CIO leading IT-enabled change to defy the difficult economy come out ahead of the rest?

To coincide with the announcement of the 50 most influential leaders in UK IT, Computer Weekly is hosting a special event in London on 22 November – it will be a must-attend meeting for any IT leaders looking to develop their own influence, to be inspired by their peers, and to lead innovation in their organisation. Look out for more details coming your way soon.

If you would like to nominate anyone you feel warrants recognition as one of the 50 most influential people in UK IT, email us at [email protected] with the subject line "UKtech50 nominations".

Looking back at last year's UKtech50

At least 10 of the 50 members of last year's UKtech50 list have changed jobs in the past 12 months, either through moving to new roles, or in many cases by promotion to more senior positions. In the top 10 alone, three people have moved on.

1, Mike Lynch, CEO, Autonomy

2, Warren East, ARM, CEO

3, Joe Harley / His successor, CIO, HM Government

4, Phil Smith, CEO, Cisco UK & Ireland

5, Francis Maude, Cabinet Office minister

6, Gerry Pennell, CIO, London 2012 Olympics

7, Phil Pavitt, CIO, HM Revenue & Customs

8, Darrell Stein, Director of IT & logistics, Marks & Spencer

9, Tom Steinberg, Founder of MySociety

10, Jonathan Ive, Senior vice president of industrial design, Apple

The winner, Mike Lynch, was unceremoniously dumped out of HP less than a year after selling the company he founded, Autonomy, to HP for £7bn.

Third on the list last year was Joe Harley, then the government CIO. He has since retired from the civil service, to be replaced by Andy Nelson, who combines the job with his previous role of CIO at the Ministry of Justice.

And Gerry Pennell, the London 2012 Olympics CIO, is inevitably looking for a new job, having overseen the IT that so capably supported the wildly successful Olympic and Paralympic Games this summer.

Click here to see the full list of last year’s UKtech50.

Click here for profiles of the top 20 in last year’s UKtech50.


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