Global Economics

Who Is Britain's Top CIO?


Top honors go to IT chiefs at British Airways, Tesco, Unilever, DHL, and Reuters

British Airways CIO Paul Coby has been voted the UK's top CIO for the crucial role he has played in transforming the airline's IT operations during one of the most turbulent periods in the company's history.

Coby scored the most votes to top silicon.com's CIO50 list of the 50 most influential and innovative IT leaders in the UK.

The CIO50 list, launched this year, features in-depth analysis and profiles of each of the 50 CIOs. It is based on the votes of UK CIOs and IT directors, along with a panel of other experts which included the former CIOs of AstraZeneca and Deutsche Bank, leading CIO headhunter companies Boyden UK and Heidrick & Struggles, and CIO career development coach Brinley Platts.

Voting was based on a CIO's leadership ability, delivery and execution track record, innovation and influence - both within their organisation and externally among their peers and the wider IT industry.

BA's Coby's achievements include cutting IT costs by almost half, overhauling the BA.com website, introducing online check-in and print-your-own boarding passes and building state-of-the-art systems for the new Terminal 5 building at Heathrow.

Also named in the top five of the CIO50 are:

Colin Cobain, Group IT director, Tesco

Neil Cameron, CIO, Unilever

Nigel Underwood, CIO, DHL Logistics

David Lister, CIO, Reuters

The public sector is strongly represented on the CIO50 list - a fifth of the CIOs, including UK government CIO John Suffolk - as are the retail and financial services industries.

The career biographies in the CIO50 reveal some interesting trends. Most of the top 50 CIOs have a strong technical background and have worked their way up through the IT department, although many have had spells in broader business roles or management consulting.

The profiles also unearth some unusual pastimes the top CIOs get up to away from the pressures of the office - ranging from ocean swimming and restoring oil paintings to judging motor racing and flying helicopters.

Andy McCue, community editor for silicon.com, said: "Technology is at the heart of most businesses today and the role of the CIO has never been more important. The CIO50 list uniquely identifies the most influential and innovative individuals leading tech-driven change at the top of UK Plc. Their outstanding leadership is driving real business value across a wide range of organisations, from the biggest FTSE100 players to high-growth innovators to the public sector."

Provided by silicon.com—Driving Business Through Technology

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