Computer Weekly has announced the fifth annual UKtech50, our definitive list of the 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 was to identify the 50 most influential leaders in UK IT.
An expert judging panel representing every aspect of the IT profession helped decide the results, along with a reader vote, to determine who holds the most influence over the future of the UK IT sector in the next 12 months – and hence the future of IT professionals across the country.
Here is the list of the 50 most influential people in UK IT for the next 12 months.
Jane Moran took over as CIO of consumer goods giant Unilever in June 2014, after four years as global CIO at Thomson Reuters. At Unilever, she is involved with some of the most innovative technology developments in industry – the internet of things, 3D printing and a new programme to fund and work with tech startups. She is also a major supporter of efforts to encourage more women into IT – in 2012, Computer Weekly readers voted her as the most influential woman in UK IT that year. At Unilever, Moran is helping to reshape one of the UK’s most important companies for the digital world. Click here to read our exclusive interview with Jane Moran.
Undoubtedly the most famous UK computer scientist, Berners-Lee has in the past year taken an increasingly high-profile global role as an advocate for the open web, net neutrality and online privacy, and an outspoken critic of government internet surveillance policies. As well as his evangelising of the web, he advises the government on open data as a director of the Open Data Institute.
Simon Segars took over as chief executive of chip designer ARM in July 2013, succeeding Warren East, a former UKtech50 winner. Segars has worked for ARM since 1991 and led the development of a number of the firm’s processor designs. ARM has become central to the mobile revolution, with its chip architectures powering most of the smartphones and tablets worldwide.
Liam Maxwell is leading the reform of how technology is purchased, implemented and managed within central government. As such, he has direct influence over much of the billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money spent on Whitehall IT. He is promoting greater use of open standards, open source and cloud computing, using smaller IT contracts and more SME suppliers – attempting to break the stranglehold of the oligopoly of large companies that have dominated government IT. In 2014, he was appointed as a visiting professor at the University of Southampton.
The UKtech50 2014
- Jane Moran, CIO, Unilever
- Tim Berners-Lee, World Wide Web inventor; director of Open Data Institute
- Simon Segars, CEO, ARM Holdings
- Liam Maxwell, UK government CTO
- Mike Bracken, executive director, Government Digital Service
- Gavin Patterson, CEO, BT
- Catherine Doran, CIO, Royal Mail Group
- Joanna Shields, chair, Tech City UK; prime minister's digital ambassador
- Eben Upton, founder, Raspberry Pi Foundation
- Mark Dearnley, chief digital and information officer, HM Revenue & Customs
- Phil Smith, Cisco UK CEO; chairman of Technology Strategy Board
- Chi Onwurah, Labour MP, shadow minister for digital government and cyber security
- Ed Vaizey, minister of state for Culture and the Digital Economy
- Gerard Grech, CEO, Tech City
- Ralph Rivera, director of future media, BBC
- Victor Chavez, CEO, Thales UK; chair of Information Economy Council; president of TechUK
- John Finch, CIO, Bank of England
- Tim Kelsey, national director, patients and information, NHS England
- Tony Singleton, director, Digital Commercial Programme, Government Digital Service
- Mark Bramwell, head of IT, Wellcome Trust
- Christina Scott, CIO, Financial Times
- Paul Coby, IT director, John Lewis
- Maggie Philbin, CEO TeenTech; leader of the UK Digital Skills TaskForce
- Jacqueline de Rojas, area vice-president Northern Europe, Citrix; deputy president, TechUK
- Helen Milner, CEO, Tinder Foundation
- Martha Lane Fox, chair, Go On UK
- Dido Harding, chief executive, TalkTalk Group
- John Douglas, CTO, Burberry
- Phil Jordan, group CIO, Telefonica
- Darryl West, CIO, Barclays
- Jonathan Ive, senior vice-president of industrial design, Apple
- Susan Cooklin, CIO, Network Rail
- Francis Maude, Cabinet Office minister
- Gavin Starks, CEO, Open Data Institute
- Robert Hannigan, director, GCHQ
- Mike McNamara, CIO, Tesco
- Julian David, CEO, TechUK
- Clare Sutcliffe, founder, Code Club
- JP Rangaswami, chief scientist, Salesforce.com
- Didier Lebrat, CTO, Sky
- Robert Harding, CIO, Capital One Europe
- John Manzoni, CEO, Her Majesty's Civil Service
- Wendy Hall, professor of computer science, University of Southampton
- Elizabeth Varley, co-founder and CEO, TechHub
- Matt Brittin, vice-president, Northern & Central Europe, Google
- Angela Morrison, CIO, Direct Line Group
- Richard Thwaite, director of digital policing, Metropolitan Police Service
- Karen Price, CEO, e-Skills UK / The Tech Partnership
- Trevor Didcock, CIO, EasyJet
- Mittu Sridhara, CIO, TUI Group
Mike Bracken is responsible for improving the government’s digital delivery of public services in a cross-Whitehall role that covers all the government’s online presence. His team launched Gov.uk, the single government website, and is progressing with a digital strategy that will see more major transactional services brought online in the coming months. Bracken is the figurehead for a cultural change in how public services are delivered in a digital world.
Gavin Patterson was appointed CEO of British telecoms giant BT in September 2013, having led BT’s retail arm since 2008. He oversees BT’s often-controversial roll-out of superfast broadband, and the firm’s billion-pound investment to become a major player in sports broadcasting. The company is currently in negotiations with EE and O2 over a possible purchase of one of the UK’s leading mobile networks. Patterson has worked for BT for nine years, having previously been at Telewest (now Virgin Media).
Catherine Doran led a major IT transformation programme at Royal Mail to enable its controversial privatisation last year, as well as 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 as Royal Mail seeks to compete as a private company. Previously, she led a company-wide transformation programme at Network Rail.
Joanna Shields is an American-British executive, who chairs startup support group Tech City UK and is the prime minister’s digital ambassador. As such, she leads the promotion of the UK’s tech startup scene internationally and became one of the public faces of the growing startup movement in London. In 2013, she was voted the most influential woman in UK IT by Computer Weekly.
The idea behind a tiny and cheap computer for children – the Raspberry Pi – first came in 2006, when Eben Upton, Rob Mullins, Jack Lang and Alan Mycroft, based at the University of Cambridge’s Computer Laboratory, became concerned about the decline in the numbers of A-level students applying to read computer science. Since then, Upton has become the public face of the Raspberry Pi device, which aims to change IT education from a young age and get more kids coding. More than three million devices have been sold to date.
Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs (HMRC) appointed Mark Dearnley, formerly CIO of Vodafone, as its chief digital and information officer in October 2013. He took over responsibility for one of the biggest IT estates in the UK – a £500m-a-year IT operation that serves 45 million individuals, 4.8 million businesses and 65,000 HMRC employees. He is responsible for implementing HMRC’s £200m digital strategy and for moving away from the £800m–a-year Aspire contract, one of the largest outsourcing deals in the UK.
Phil Smith is chairman of the Technology Strategy Board, the government-backed innovation agency charged with dispersing millions of pounds of public sector funds to boost science and technology. As well as being Cisco’s UK chief, Smith also chairs the industry-led skills group The Tech Partnership.
Chi Onwurah was elected at the 2010 general election as MP for Newcastle upon Tyne Central. The former head of telecoms technology at Ofcom, the UK telecoms regulator, she is Labour’s shadow minister for digital government and is leading the party’s digital review that will input to general election policy for 2015.
Ed Vaizey became minister of state for the digital economy, within the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, in July 2014. He is responsible for government policy on technology skills, support for tech startups, growing the digital economy and superfast broadband roll-out.
Gerard Grech succeeded Joanna Shields as CEO of Tech City in February 2014, having previously held a global marketing role at BlackBerry. In his current job, he leads the promotion and support of UK startups now that Tech City’s remit has expanded beyond its original East London base. He has supported tech entrepreneurs for several years.
Ralph Rivera is responsible for delivery of all the BBC's digital media products on the web, mobile devices and internet-connected TV platforms. His remit also includes overseeing the development of the BBC's digital products – such as the iPlayer – and enabling ways in which these products can be experienced on desktops, mobiles, tablets and connected TVs. Rivera is also responsible for shaping and leading the BBC's R&D activities.
Victor Chavez was appointed CEO of defence technology provider Thales UK in January 2011. He makes it onto the UKtech50 list in his roles as president of technology trade association TechUK, and chair of the joint industry-government Information Economy Council that looks to develop the role and importance of the tech sector in the UK’s economic and political priorities.
John Finch has been CIO and executive director for projects, data and technology at the Bank of England since 1 November 2014. He is responsible for all aspects of technology delivery across the bank and for delivering the cyber security programme of activity. Finch was previously global CIO of Experian.
Tim Kelsey is the senior IT leader in NHS England, responsible for overseeing IT strategy and making greater use of data for better health outcomes. As such, he is responsible for delivering on commitments to make patient records available online by 2015, and will be central to overhauling the role of IT across the health service. He oversees the controversial Care.data programme for sharing patients’ GP records.
Tony Singleton took over the government’s G-Cloud programme in June 2013, responsible for growing the purchasing framework that claims to save IT buyers up to 50% compared with previous public sector prices. In the past year, cumulative G-Cloud sales have grown from £63m to £345m.
The Wellcome Trust is the second largest medical charity in the world after the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, making Mark Bramwell the leading IT chief in the UK not-for-profit sector. He joined the Wellcome Trust in 2007 and in recent years has led a major overhaul of the technology that supports the charity’s work.
Top 5 IT leaders in UKtech50 2014
Christina Scott was appointed CIO for the Financial Times in 2012 and has led one of the most successful digital transformation in the media sector. She is responsible for technology across the FT Group, working closely with editorial and commercial areas. She has a 400+ global team responsible for building and operating the infrastructure, business applications, data and consumer products across multiple platforms.
Paul Coby was appointed IT director at John Lewis in March 2011. He has led the modernisation of IT to deliver an omni-channel customer experience – Johnlewis.com passed £1bn revenue per year in April 2013, and today accounts for about a third of John Lewis’s sales. Coby was previously CIO at British Airways for 10 years, where he helped to develop BA.com into a major force in the airline industry.
Maggie Philbin has worked in radio and television for over 30 years on a wide range of science, medical and technology programmes. She is co-founder and CEO of TeenTech, an award-winning organisation that helps young people, parents and teachers understand the opportunities in science and technology. This year, she led the Labour-commissioned Digital Skills Taskforce review of the UK’s technology skills needs.
Jacqueline de Rojas took over as Citrix’s Northern European chief earlier this year, following a successful period as UK general manager at CA Technologies. She has recently been appointed deputy president of technology trade association TechUK, and is non-executive director for Home Retail Group.
Helen Milner is founder and CEO of the Tinder Foundation, a not-for-profit, staff-owned mutual that aims to help the 11 million people on the wrong side of the UK’s digital divide to become confident with digital and online technologies. Tinder recently won a government contract to support its digital inclusion strategy.
Top 5 women in UKtech50 2014
Martha Lane Fox has been something of an icon for the UK digital scene since founding dot com pioneer Lastminute.com. She currently chairs Go On UK, a charity that aims to increase the number of people using the internet. She was made a peer in 2013, in recognition of her work as the government digital champion.
Dido Harding was appointed CEO of TalkTalk Group in March 2010, following successful stints in senior roles at Sainsbury’s and Tesco. TalkTalk is an influential company in the UK’s mobile, broadband and telecoms sector and will undoubtedly play a key role in the expected consolidation of the UK telecoms market.
As CTO of one of the UK's most influential fashion brands, John Douglas has led the drive to make the firm a leading social enterprise, using social networking technology both for customer engagement and to improve internal collaboration across the company.
Telefónica global chief information officer Phil Jordan is leading one of the most complex and challenging IT transformations in the private sector. Telefónica is the fifth-largest mobile network provider in the world, with operations in Europe, Asia, North America and Latin America – and known in the UK for its O2 brand.
Darryl West left his role as CIO of Lloyds Banking Group to take over a similar role at Barclays in November 2013. Barclays is investing heavily in technology innovation, in particular in mobile applications such as its successful Pingit app for personal money transfers.
Top 5 in public sector
- Liam Maxwell, UK government CTO (4th)
- Mike Bracken, executive director, Government Digital Service (5th)
- Mark Dearnley, chief digital and information officer, HM Revenue & Customs (10th)
- Chi Onwurah, shadow minister for digital government (12th)
- Ed Vaizey, minister of state for Culture and the Digital Economy (13th)
Sir Jonathan Ive is more responsible than most for the consumer technology revolution. Since introducing the iMac in 1998, Ive led a design team widely regarded as one of the best in the world to create ground-breaking Apple products including the iPod, iPhone and iPad. After the departure of other senior Apple executives he took on wider responsibilities, including the software user interface for Apple's products.
Susan Cooklin is CIO at Network Rail, leading a large and complex technology and shared services portfolio totalling £1bn. She has held senior executive positions in business and technology functions within FTSE top 20 companies in the UK, specialising in transformational change. She is a non-executive director at Leeds Building Society and a member of The Tech Partnership.
As minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude has significant influence over the direction of the central government IT juggernaut. He has already delivered billions of pounds worth of cuts in government IT, and more are expected. He has focused on cutting consultancy fees, renegotiating contracts with big IT suppliers and reviewing hundreds of IT projects to see if they are worthy of continued funding. His political support is vital to plans for overhauling government IT.
Launched in December 2012 by Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the Open Data Institute (ODI) focuses on unlocking supply and stimulating demand for open data – Gavin Starks was its founding chief executive. A serial technology entrepreneur, Starks leads efforts to release public data to encourage private sector innovation.
Robert Hannigan succeeded Iain Lobban this year as the director of intelligence-gathering facility GCHQ, one of the three UK intelligence agencies working with MI5 and MI6 to protect the UK's national security interests. His role is in the public eye more than ever since the revelations about GCHQ’s role in US internet surveillance programmes. GCHQ is also taking a more proactive and collaborative role in helping companies and public sector bodies tackle growing cyber threats.
Technology is one of the two major strategic investment priorities at Tesco, alongside stores, and CIO Mike McNamara oversees a £150m plan to grow the retailer’s online channels – although the firm’s recent financial difficulties have eaten into its tech budgets. Tesco is seen as a leader in multi-channel retailing and has introduced numerous e-commerce and mobile initiatives.
Julian David was appointed as the director general of technology trade body Intellect in March 2012 and led its relaunch as TechUK in November 2013. He has introduced a new strategy for TechUK that aims to establish the organisation as the leading representative of the IT sector to government and a major influence over the role of technology in the UK economy.
Clare Sutcliffe has brought computing to primary schools, bringing major stakeholders such as ARM and Google on board. Code Club is set to hit its target of signing up 25% of UK primary schools by the end of 2015. The free volunteer network runs after-school clubs for children aged between nine and 11. In last year’s UKtech50, she was identified as one of the UK’s rising stars.
JP Rangaswami is one of the UK’s best-known technologists, an evangelist and innovator who was among the first to see the potential of social media in the enterprise. At Salesforce.com, he promotes the development of social business worldwide. In January 2015, he moves to a pioneering new role, as the first chief data officer at Deutsche Bank.
Didier Lebrat joined Sky in December 2006. Sky is one of the UK and Europe’s most influential broadcasters, and he leads the technical strategy, development and operations for broadcast, IT, internet and network platforms. Before joining Sky, Didier was CTO at Vodafone Italy, and before that CTO at Orange UK.
Judging the UKtech50
The UKtech50 list was decided by a judging panel representing every area of the UK IT profession – and we also asked readers to vote on who they wanted to top the list. The panel was chosen to represent different perspectives within IT – so each individual acted both as an impartial and expert judge, as well as an advocate for their area of interest.
The judges were:
- Marc Dowd, principal, serving the CIO Executive Programme, Forrester Research
- Blaise Hammond, marketing director, TechUK
- Brinley Platts, chairman, CIO Development
- Joanna Poplawska, executive director, The Corporate IT Forum
- Adam Thilthorpe, director of policy, professionalism and public affairs, BCS
Our judging panel selected 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?
Rob Harding has been CIO at Capital One Europe since July 2010, having joined the bank as a business systems analyst in 1999. He also sits on the advisory boards for Cisco, Fujitsu and Forrester Research. He leads the digital transformation for Capital One’s UK business.
John Manzoni became the first chief executive of the Civil Service in October 2014. He joined the Cabinet Office in February 2014 as CEO of the Major Projects Authority. In his new role, Manzoni is responsible for civil service transformation and its digital government initiatives.
Professor Dame Wendy Hall is arguably the UK’s leading computer science academic. She is founding director – along with Tim Berners-Lee, Nigel Shadbolt and Daniel J Weitzner – of the Web Science Research Initiative, a 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.
TechHub is at the heart of the London Tech City movement to attract startups to East London and boost investment and innovation in UK IT, with Varley as its CEO. She has set up TechHub operations in Bangalore, Bucharest, Berlin and Riga, as well as other UK sites in Manchester and Swansea.
Matt Brittin leads an operation that is Google’s second largest after the US and the most advanced in terms of e-commerce and online advertising spend. Under Brittin’s watch, Google is actively supporting UK startups through initiatives such as Tech City in East London – but he has also attracted controversy as he attempted to defend the low levels of corporation tax payments made by Google in the UK.
Angela Morrison has been CIO of Direct Line Group – formerly known as RBS Insurance – for four years, managing business technology services, which shapes, builds, runs and governs IT for the company. She previously spent over 18 years in food retail and IT, including a decade at director level.
Richard Thwaite joined the Met Police as CIO in February 2013, to lead a four-year overhaul of the force’s much-criticised IT systems. He recently took on the title of director of digital policing to reflect the growing importance of introducing digital technologies to support frontline officers.
Karen Price has led the IT sector skills body e-Skills UK since its inception. Next year, she will become CEO of The Tech Partnership, an industry body that aims to take on the work of e-Skills UK, with further backing from leading employers to improve the UK’s IT skills base.
Trevor Didcock joined low-cost airline EasyJet as CIO in September 2010, with a CV that included senior IT positions at Homeserve, the AA and RAC. Since then, EasyJet has put a technology overhaul and digital methods at the heart of the company’s growth.
Mittu Sridhara is group CIO at TUI, where he leads the digital transformation of one of the world’s most influential leisure travel companies. He joined TUI Travel from Ladbrokes where, as group CIO, he formulated and delivered a three-year multi-channel technology strategy for the betting company.