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Departing DWP IT boss Mayank Prakash to take on digitisation role at Centrica

DWP’s outgoing chief digital and information officer will begin new role in charge of digitalisation of Centrica’s consumer business in the New Year

The Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP) departing chief digital and information officer (CDIO) Mayank Prakash is taking up a new role at utility company Centrica.  

Prakash, who announced in September that after four years at DWP he was leaving government for a private sector role, will be in charge of digital transformation at British Gas owner Centrica’s consumer business.  

“I look forward to my new role leading the digitalisation of Centrica Consumer globally next year. Lots to learn from UK Home, Bord Gais, Connected Home and Direct Energy colleagues as we re-imagine the future,” Prakash said on Twitter.

At DWP, Prakash has led a major transformation programme, bringing large-scale outsourcing contracts back in-house and moving systems to the cloud.

He has been recognised for his stellar work, and was voted the most influential person in UK IT in 2017 in Computer Weekly’s annual poll.

However, his time at DWP has not been without controversy. In 2016, his DWP Digital team overspent against budget by £60m in six months, leading to layoffs of hundreds of IT contractors and scaling back of some projects.

The IT systems supporting the controversial Universal Credit welfare reform programme have also had problems – Prakash will leave just after the digital platform supporting the new benefit is rolled out nationwide, a project due to be completed later this month.

At Centrica, as the man in charge of digital transformation of its consumer business, Prakash is likely to take on responsibility for the Hive Connected Home brand, as well as the north-American Direct Energy brand.  

Earlier this year, Centrica CIO Mike Young told Computer Weekly in an interview that the company is going through a digital transformation journey with three levels of maturity.  

At the most basic level of digital, Centrica runs lunchtime sessions, which are used to help people understand what “digital” means to Centrica, he said. The next stage in digital sophistication is helping people do their jobs through digital initiatives. To help, Centrica has about 600 digital champions across the business, Young said.

At the highest level, Centrica has recruited a digital leadership, now including Prakash, which can be parachuted in across the business to investigate opportunities in digital transformation.

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