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UKtech50 2016 - The most influential people in UK IT

Computer Weekly has announced the seventh annual UKtech50 – our definitive list of the movers and shakers in the UK IT sector

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Computer Weekly has announced the seventh 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 tech sector in the next 12 months – and 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:

1. Simon Segars, CEO, ARM Holdings

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, while the firm is vying to make a similar impact on the emerging market for internet of things (IoT) devices. Earlier this year, Arm was acquired by Japanese technology firm Softbank Group.

2. Jacqueline de Rojas, president, TechUK; executive vice-president, Sage

Jacqueline de Rojas has 25 years’ experience in leading technology businesses. She is the executive vice-president at technology company Sage, a role she took on earlier this year. In 2015, she took over as president of IT industry trade association TechUK, where she is also board champion for women. Last year, she was also voted the most influential woman in UK IT in Computer Weekly’s annual poll, and in 2016 she entered the Most influential women in UK IT Hall of Fame.  

3. Sarah Wilkinson, chief digital, data and technology officer, Home Office

The Home Office appointed Credit Suisse’s head of corporate systems technology, Sarah Wilkinson, initially as its chief technology officer (CTO) in February 2015, before her role expanded in 2016 through a merger of digital and tech teams. At the Home Office she is responsible for many of the most critical IT systems supporting UK borders and policing. This includes designing, developing and delivering a technology strategy aligned with the department’s overall strategy. Wilkinson also held the role as managing director and head of corporate systems technology at Credit Suisse for over two years, having previously worked at HSBC, UBS and Deutsche Bank in various senior IT roles. She also sits on Telefonica’s startup accelerator Wayra as a board adviser. 

4. Liam Maxwell, UK national technology adviser

Liam Maxwell is the national technology adviser for HM Government, responsible for promoting and supporting the digital and technology industry in the UK and internationally. Maxwell’s role links the cross-government drive to improve government technology with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s work to grow the digital sector, to support emerging technologies and create the environment for digital enterprises to flourish. Previously, Maxwell was CTO for the government, from 2012-16, working in the Government Digital Service. The changes to technology that his team introduced across the government helped to save £3.5bn in the last four years of the 2010 Parliament. 

5. Gavin Patterson, CEO, BT

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. In 2015, he led the £12.5bn acquisition of EE, which completed this year. In 2016, he faced the outcome of the Ofcom communications market review and is leading the fight to stop BT being broken up. Prior to BT, Patterson worked at Telewest (now Virgin Media). Last year, he topped Computer Weekly’s UKtech50 list.

6. Mayank Prakash, chief digital and information officer, DWP

Mayank Prakash joined the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) in November 2014 from investment bank Morgan Stanley, where he had worked since 2011, most recently as managing director of wealth and asset management technology. He is responsible for technology delivery to support the DWP’s digital services and is leading the digital transformation of key benefits such as Universal Credit and Personal Independence Payments. Prakash has a background in the IT industry, serving as CIO of software firm Sage for four years, and in CIO roles at suppliers iSoft, Avaya and Alcatel-Lucent. 

7. Eileen Burbidge, government special envoy, fintech; chair, Tech City; partner, Passion Capital

Eileen Burbidge is a partner at Passion Capital, the London-based venture capital firm she established with Stefan Glaenzer and Robert Dighero. Over the past couple of years, she has become one of the most prominent people in the UK tech startup scene, working in her role as Tech City chair. In 2015, she was also appointed as the government’s special envoy for the finance technology (fintech) sector. She previously worked in business and product development roles at Yahoo, Skype, PalmSource, Openwave, Sun and Apple.

8. Ciaran Martin, CEO, National Cyber Security Centre

Ciaran Martin was the director general for government and industry cyber security at GCHQ, before becoming head of the newly opened National Cyber Security Centre. The centre, which officially launched in October this year, aims to bring together the UK’s cyber expertise to transform how the country tackles cyber security issues. Martin is also a member of the GCHQ board. He joined GCHQ in 2014, following a role as constitution director at the Cabinet Office. He also spent three years as head of security and intelligence at the Cabinet Office.

9. Gerard Grech, CEO, TechCity UK

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 technology entrepreneurs for several years.

10. Jane Moran, CIO, Unilever

Jane Moran was the 2014 winner of the UKtech50 poll, having taken 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 (IoT), 3D printing and a programme to fund and work with technology startups. She is also a major supporter of efforts to encourage more women into IT – in 2012 Computer Weekly readers voted her 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. 

11. Beverley Bryant, director of digital transformation, NHS Digital

After more than three years as NHS England’s director of digital technology, Beverly Bryant took on the role as NHS Digital’s director of digital transformation in spring 2016.   In her new role, Bryant aims to support the internal transformation of the organisation to better support the NHS and local authorities in their adoption of technology. She continues to play a key role in shaping the debate around using better technology and information in the NHS. Bryant is also a founding ambassador for HealthTech Women UK. Before joining the NHS, Bryant was managing director at Capita Health and CIO of the Department of Health for three years. 

12. Kevin Cunnington, director general, Government Digital Service

Kevin Cunnington was appointed director general of the Government Digital Service (GDS) in the summer of 2016 after three years at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) where he led the business transformation function. At GDS, Cunnington is responsible for delivering a new government digital transformation strategy. Prior to joining the government, Cunnington held leadership positions at Vodafone Group and Lebara.  

13. Mike Stone, CIO, Ministry of Defence

Mike Stone was named as CIO for the Ministry of Defence (MoD) in May 2014, having previously been CEO of Defence Business Services, an outsourced contract from Serco providing corporate services to the MOD. He introduced a “defence as a platform” strategy to improve and cut the costs of MOD IT, as well as renegotiating the ministry’s main IT outsourcing deals, the Defence Information Infrastructure (DII) and Defence Fixed Telecommunications Service (DFTS) contracts. Stone will be leaving his role at the MOD in March 2017. 

14. Andy Williams, CEO, NHS Digital

Andy Williams has been CEO of NHS Digital since April 2014 where has worked to improve the quality of health and social care through the use of data and technology. Before joining NHS Digital, Williams worked for CSC, where he was president of managed services for Europe, the Middle East and Africa until 2012. He has also led teams at IBM, Alcatel-Lucent and CSC over the past three decades. Williams is due to retire from the organisation in March next year. 

15. Matt Hancock, minister of state for culture and the digital economy, Department for Culture, Media and Sport

Matt Hancock was appointed as the minister for digital and culture during the cabinet reshuffle in July 2016, taking over from Ed Vaizey. In his new role, Hancock’s responsibilities include broadband, cyber security, digital strategy for enterprise and technology, and data protection. Prior to his appointment, Hancock was Cabinet Office minister and paymaster general.

16. Nicola Mendelsohn, managing director, Facebook Europe

Nicola Mendelsohn has been vice-president of Europe, Middle East and Africa operations at Facebook since 2013. She is responsible for growing Facebook’s advertising revenue and improving relationships with brands across the region. She has served as president of the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) and Women in Advertising and Communications London (WACL). She was executive chairman and partner at the Karmarama advertising agency for five years. She is chair of the corporate board of Women’s Aid. Mendelsohn is also director of the Women’s Prize for Fiction, industry chair of the Creative Industries Council, non-executive director of consumer goods firm Diageo, and co-president of charity Norwood.

17. Maggie Philbin, CEO, TeenTech

Maggie Philbin has worked in radio and television for more than 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, their parents and teachers understand more about the real opportunities in science and technology. Reporting on science and technology for the BBC’s Bang Goes The Theory, providing analysis and comment on technology for BBC WebWise and a regular reporter on BBC1’s Inside Out, she has a unique resonance with audiences, having grown up with them on much-loved shows such as Swap Shop and Tomorrow’s World. She was the winner of Computer Weekly’s Most influential women in IT 2016. 

18. Matthew Postgate, chief technology and product officer, BBC

In his role as chief technology and product officer, Matthew Postgate is in charge of the BBC’s technology and systems. He is also leading the BBC’s project to consolidate the technology teams for BBC Digital, BBC Engineering and BBC Worldwide. Prior to becoming the BBC’s CTO, Postgate was part of the management team that launched iPlayer and worked with BBC Mobile to build the firm’s mobile services for customers.  

19. John Manzoni, CEO, HM Civil Service; permanent secretary, Cabinet Office

John Manzoni, previously head of the Major Projects Authority (MPA) in the Cabinet Office, became the first CEO for the Civil Service in October 2014. His responsibilities include executive control of the Government Digital Service (GDS) and the wider digital transformation of Whitehall, in addition to the Crown Commercial Service, and cross-government shared services and civil service reform. 

The top five women in the UKtech50 2016

  1. Jacqueline de Rojas, president, TechUK; executive vice-president, Sage (2nd)
  2. Sarah Wilkinson, chief digital, data and technology officer, Home Office (3rd)
  3. Eileen Burbidge, government special envoy fintech; Tech City chair; partner, Passion Capital (7th)
  4. Jane Moran, CIO, Unilever (10th)
  5. Beverley Bryant, director of digital transformation, NHS Digital (11th)

20. Jeremy Vincent, CIO, Network Rail

Jeremy Vincent replaced Susan Cooklin as CIO in October 2016. As part of his role, Vincent leads the delivery of customer-focused enabling technology and back-office IT, as well as being part of the route services senior management team, providing services to each of Network Rail’s eight routes. Prior to joining Network Rail, he spent eight years as CIO at Jaguar Landrover

21. Phil Smith, UK chairman, Cisco; chair of Innovate UK; chair of Tech Partnership

Phil Smith is a respected industry figure who combines several high-profile roles. He is chairman of Innovate UK (formerly the Technology Strategy Board), the government-backed innovation agency charged with dispersing millions of pounds of public sector funds to boost science and technology. He also chairs the industry-led skills group The Tech Partnership. For his day job, Smith runs Cisco in the UK.

22. Ian Levy, technical director, National Cyber Security Centre

Ian Levy is the technical director for the newly opened National Cyber Security Centre. The centre, which opened in October this year, has five areas of focus, including engagement, strategy and communications, incident management, operations, and technical research and innovation. Previously, he held the position as GCHQ technical director for cyber security and resilience, where he was responsible for the technical strategy of GCHQ’s security mission. 

23. Joanna Shields, minister for internet safety and security

Joanna Shields was appointed minister for internet safety and security at DCMS after the 2015 general election. She was formerly a digital economy advisor to the prime minister. She was CEO and chair of Tech City and the UK government’s business ambassador for digital industries. Before that she was vice-president and general manager of Facebook in Europe. She is a former winner of Computer Weekly’s Most influential woman in UK IT award.

24. Brent Hoberman, entrepreneur; chair of Founders Factory and Founders Forum

Serial entrepreneur Brent Hoberman currently works as the chairman and co-founder of Founders Factory, a London-based accelerator and incubator. He is also a non-executive director and co-founder of and has sat on the board of several companies, including EasyCar and Shazam. In 1998, he co-founded together with Martha Lane Fox.

25. Sharon White, CEO, Ofcom

Sharon White became CEO of telecoms regulator Ofcom in March 2015, joining from HM Treasury, where she was second permanent secretary, responsible for managing the UK’s public finances. One of her first tasks was to take over the Ofcom review of the UK communications market, analysing the state of telecoms, broadband, mobile and TV services to ensure they remain competitive.

26. Ben Gummer, Cabinet Office minister

Prior to taking over as Cabinet Office minister during Theresa May’s spring 2016 reshuffle, Gummer, who is the MP for Ipswich, served as parliamentary under-secretary for care quality. In his new role, he is responsible for the digital transformation of government, cyber security and infrastructure resilience.  

27. Martha Lane Fox, entrepreneur, founder of Dot Everyone

Martha Lane Fox is known best for co-founding, and was entered into Computer Weekly’s inaugural Most influential women in UK IT Hall of Fame in 2015 for her efforts in transforming the lives of millions as a UK digital champion and for supporting the notion that women should be at the heart of the technology sector. She promotes digital issues through her place as baroness of Soho in the House of Lords, and last year she launched Dot Everyone, an initiative to promote digital skills in public life.

28. Darryl West, group CIO, HSBC

Darryl West took over as HSBC CIO in 2015, leaving his previous role as CIO of Barclays, a position he held since November 2013. Prior to that he was CIO of Lloyds Banking Group. He has also worked for JP Morgan Chase, National Australia Bank and Accenture.

29. Didier Lebrat, CTO, Sky

Since Didier Lebrat joined Sky in December 2006, the broadcaster has become one of the leaders in the digital transformation of home entertainment and communications. He leads the technical strategy, development and operations for broadcast, IT, internet and network platforms. Before joining Sky, Lebrat was CTO at Vodafone Italy and, before that, CTO at Orange UK.

The top five public sector figures in the UKtech50 2016

  1. Sarah Wilkinson, chief digital, data and technology officer, Home Office (3rd)
  2. Liam Maxwell, UK national technology adviser (4th)
  3. Mayank Prakash, chief digital and information officer, DWP (6th)
  4. Ciaran Martin, CEO, National Cyber Security Centre (8th)
  5. Beverley Bryant, director of digital transformation, NHS Digital (11th)

30. Jeni Tennison, CEO, Open Data Institute

In 2014, software engineer and Open Data Institute (ODI) CEO Jeni Tennison was awarded an OBE for her services to technology and open data. Before joining the ODI, Jeni was the technical architect and lead developer for, pioneering the use of open data application programming intefaces (APIs) in the public sector. She is also a member of the Open Standards Board.  

31. Christina Scott, CTO, News UK 

Christina Scott was appointed chief technology officer for News UK at the beginning of 2016 to assist with its digital initiatives. Before that, Scott was CIO for the Financial Times for over three years, where she was responsible for technology across the FT Group. Scott has more than 20 years’ experience in the media, IT and engineering industries. Before joining the FT, she worked for the BBC, BT Vision, News International and ITV Digital, and as a consultant at Accenture. 

32. Tim Berners-Lee, World Wide Web inventor; director of Open Data Institute

Undoubtedly the most famous UK computer scientist, Berners-Lee has taken a 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. 

33. Matt Brittin, president, Emea business and operations, Google

Matt Brittin joined Google in 2007 and worked his way up to his current role as president for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (Emea) business and operations. Prior to joining Google, Brittin was the director of strategy and digital at Trinity Mirror. He is also a non-executive director at Sainsbury’s.

34. Robert Hannigan, director, GCHQ

Robert Hannigan succeeded Iain Lobban in 2014 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.

35. Mark Carney, chairman, Bank of England

Prior to taking up the role as chairman at the Bank of England in 2013, Mark Carney served the governor of the Bank of Canada. He is known for calling on the financial industry to embrace the fintech revolution and in spring 2016 Carney launched the Bank of England fintech accelerator with the aim of harnessing innovation in the sector.

36. Helen Milner, CEO, Good Things Foundation

Helen Milner is founder and CEO of the Good Things Foundation, a not-for-profit, staff-owned mutual society 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. The organisation, formerly known as the Tinder Foundation, won a government contract to support its digital inclusion strategy in 2014.

37. Monique Shivanandan, CIO, Aviva

Monique Shivanandan joined Aviva as CIO in 2014, and has had a history of high-level technology roles. As well as her work at Aviva, she is non-executive director for JP Morgan Securities. Prior to her current role, Shivanandan was chief technology officer for Capital One and was managing director and CIO of BT Retail for four years. 

38. Paul Coby, CIO, John Lewis Partnership

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 – passed £1bn revenue per year in April 2013, and today online retail comprises about a third of John Lewis’s sales. Coby was previously CIO at British Airways for 10 years, where he helped to develop into a major force in the airline industry.

39. Phil Jordan, group CIO, Telefónica

Telefónica global chief information officer Phil Jordan is leading one of the most complex and challenging IT transformations in the private sector. After spending three years leading the company’s IT in Spain, he relocated back to the UK in 2015. In the UK, the company is mostly known for its O2 brand.  

The top five figures from the IT industry in the UKtech50 2016

  1. Simon Segars, CEO, ARM (1st)
  2. Gavin Patterson, CEO, BT (5th)
  3. Nicola Mendelsohn, managing director, Facebook Europe (16th)
  4. Phil Smith, chairman of Cisco UK; chair of Innovate UK; chair of Tech Partnership (21st)
  5. Matt Brittin, president, Emea business and operations, Google (33rd)

40. Jim Davies, CTO, Genomics England

University of Oxford software engineering professor Jim Davies took on the role as chief technology officer for Genomics England in 2013 where he leads the 100,000 genomes project. The initiative aims to sequence 100,000 genomes by 2017 to support the government’s personalised medicine agenda and kick-start the UK genomics industry.

41. Julian David, CEO, TechUK

Julian David was appointed director general of technology trade body Intellect in March 2012 and led its relaunch as TechUK in November 2013. He has introduced a 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.

42. James Findlay, CIO, HS2

James Findlay is widely recognised as one of the top digital leaders in central government. His main task is building and providing the IT infrastructure and management information to support the engineering, design and environmental work for the controversial High Speed 2 train line. He was previously IT leader at the Maritime and Coastguard Agency. 

43. Mike Potter, interim chief digital and information officer, HMRC

Mike Potter took on the role as interim chief digital and information officer in August 2016, following Mark Dearnley’s departure from HMRC. Potter is responsible for the department’s digital and data strategies, as well as live IT operations and its IT sourcing strategy. 

44. Ian Bromwich, managing director, digital and design, Barclaycard

Moving from RSA Insurance Group to Barlaycard in 2012, Ian Bromwich is responsible for most things IT for the company. He drives Barclaycard’s digital strategy, mobile payments, innovation, apps, DevOps and cyber across the global Barclaycard businesses. 

45. Justine Greening, secretary of state for education, Department for Education

As education secretary, Justine Greening is responsible for the government’s apprenticeships and skills agenda. In August 2016, Greening announced plans to launch a digital apprenticeship service as part of the government’s apprenticeship levy. 

46. Eben Upton, founder, Raspberry Pi Foundation

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 five million devices have been sold to date.

47. Robert Elsey, CIO, Bank of England

Robert Elsey joined the Bank of England in October 2015 as chief technology officer. He took over as CIO in January 2016, becoming responsible for the technology division at the bank following former CIO John Finch’s departure. Elsey was previously head of IT at Vodafone. 

48. Robert Harding, CIO, Capital One Europe

Robert Harding has spent the past six years driving digital transformation at Capital One in his current role, but has been with the company for 17 years. His first three years as CIO was spent laying the groundwork for the digital transformation the company has undergone in the past three. 

49. Fumbi Chima, CIO, Burberry

After spending several years in various leadership roles for Walmart, Fumbi Chima joined Burberry as CIO in December 2015. She is responsible for leading the company’s technology division, including its technology platform upgrades.

50. Charles Ewen, director of technology and CIO, Met Office

Charles Ewen is responsible for the development and implementation of Met Office IT strategy and for the internal technical teams in the Technology Information Services Directorate, as well as working closely with the weather forecaster’s science teams to operate its high-performance computing (HPC) capability. He has been CIO since January 2013, and has worked for the Met Office since 2008.

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