The Blog
People and Technology
CIO - London, UK
CIO - London, UK 9th November, 2016

People and Technology


By John Funnell, Marketing and Product Director, Global Business Intelligence.



Ten months ago I received a call from the International Festival for Business (IFB) with a proposal to partner our C-suite event portfolio with their festival. Regular readers will know that our USP is providing niche and intimate knowledge forums of around 100 high level executive attendees. The proposal was for a four hundred attendee expo style event, we were in unchartered territory

Our event timetable is usually bi-annual having our city projects in Q2 and then retreats at the beginning of Q4. The challenge was to incorporate this much larger June project inbetween with current resources.  The IFB is a government backed project, so we felt supported as we moved forward and leveraged our communities to attend.

To make up the numbers and not to jeopardise our USP, we decided to combine our C-suite events to run concurrently under a CXO brand. With streams for IT, Marketing, Finance, Procurement, Supply Chain and Logistics. We also partnered with our friends at Shirlaws to run a stream on business coaching and moderate the day.

Long into our campaign, with many delegates and speakers already booked, the government announced the EU Referendum date, to our horror it was the same day as the CXO Event. We were powerless to change our situation, so we embraced it and encouraged all who had confirmed to attend to postal vote, we had our own polling station onsite (for a bit of fun) and it became a focus for many of the discussions.

Despite the referendum the event was successful, with hundreds of executives flocking to the gathering. Below is a list of our speaking faculty and chairs for each stream who worked hard to moderate each debate.

The opening panel was cross discipline having a senior representative from each field. Andy Williams Global CIO Save the Children, Rudy Lobo CFO Regus PLC, Simon Kingsnorth Marketing Director Citi and Richard Young CPO Flybe moderated by Darren Shirlaw.


The panel discussed Enterprise technology and how to drive Innovation. Rudy threw down the gauntlet with a compelling opening statement “your business is not sustainable if you are not investing in innovation”.  Twitter went wild as the debate untangled. The conclusions were clear, failing is no longer a dirty word in tech innovation, in fact it is now part of the process, businesses needs to simply fail faster and learn quicker.

The panel gave a unique opportunity for us all to have a holistic view of how the digital world is impacting the entire business world. “Technology is only as good as the people using and consuming it” Andy Williams Global CIO Save the Children, “technology does not drive culture but should enhance it” Simon Kingsnorth Marketing Director Citi. It is clear that big business still puts their people first and views tech as a tool to enhance their natural abilities, allowing them to do more with increased agility and efficiency.

I was interesting to see how this interaction between people and tech would play out across the day between each discipline.

The CFO track was expertly chaired by long-time friend of GBi Rudy Lobo, who opened the track with his learned opinion on Talent Acquisition, Training efficiency and maintaining staff. The relationship between people and technology was a theme throughout. CFO’s clearly want to distance themselves from the perceived “bean counters” and work with departments to drive value in this new digital world. They no longer not want the finance team to be perceived as road blocks to innovation but internal fund partners for such exciting projects.



Gareth Mawdesley, Head of Procurement at NFU Mutual chaired the CPO track that again mirrored the theme of collaboration between people and technology but from a back office perspective. A packed room discussed behavioural psychology in a digital world and agile partner collaboration. The role of the CPO is clearly changing from archaic category management to running automated processes that drive value rather than cost.



It would seem that our CFO’s are ready to embrace modern technology and are more willing to adopt exciting projects earlier with funding, our procurement leaders are also equally interested at new technologies and ithe efficiencies they can bring to the back office. We now come to the CIO track where the technology is delivered. This was chaired by Neil Ward Dutton from MWD Advisors. We learnt about disruptive IT and the effects it will have on future department leaders and on the customer. Debate was shared on how to keep ahead of the digital curve and drive revenue as a department through innovation, with digital transformation case studies from Specsavers, AstraZeneca and Telefonica 02.



We have the finance, we have the process, we have the technology, all we need to do now is tell the customer! Enter the Marketing track chaired by Tim Sinclair Marketing Director Al Rayan Bank. In typical ‘CMO’ style it was far more “trendy” with exciting video presentations and loud music throughout the day. With that said the discussions were advanced, based around the Love and Marriage of Martech, building digital strategy and integrating it with traditional brand mediums and delivering the best customer experience.



The final track was for me the most exciting, Supply chain and Logistics, chaired by Prof. Alan Waller OBE VP Supply Chain Innovation Efeso Consulting. I strongly believe this arena is the future of technology, the digital world can only go as fast as we can consume what it offers, technology is limited by the capacity of the beneficiary. The “physical internet” needs to catchup with the Digital world. Supply chain and logistics is the mass arena where people and technology will come together.

I wrote a blog on this early in the year “you can’t digitalise fish and chips”.

Discussions were had on City logistics and the impact of home delivery on our carbon footprint, IOT and a fascinating case study from the Head of Operations at John Lewis. I must give a special mention to Professor Alan Braithwaite who gave an excellent presentation on the over reliance of Digital to solve increasing logistical demands and laid out future plans.


After a long but exciting day the executives began to unwind in the International Festival for Business Blue Skies innovation area. The bar was full and they were given the opportunity to drive a simulator F1 car under the guidance of Graham Hackland IT Direct of Williams Grand Prix.

At the Gala Dinner we announced the results of our attendee poll, an astonishing 92% in favour for remain.

The CEO of our official charity partner In Kind Direct gave an inspirational speech and then Darren Shirlaw opened our eyes to fascinating world of Macroeconomics.



The event was a tremendous success and I would like to personally thank everyone that supported us.

CXO Event Speaker faculty

Darren Shirlwas                Co Founder Shirlaws

Simon Kingsnorth Digital Marketing Director Citi

Andy Williams Global CIO Save the Children

Richard Young  CPO Flybe

David Guest CTO Specsavers

Rudy Lobo COO/CFO Regus

Neil Ward-Duttom MD MWD Advisors

Gareth Mawdesley Head of Procurement at NFU Mutual

Tim Sinclair Marketing Director Al Rayan Bank

Prof. Alan Waller OBE VP Supply Chain Innovation Efeso Consulting

Dr Andrew Palmer Centre for Sustainable Road Freight

Ninette Vaz, Program Manager  Intel

John Munnelly Head of Operations John Lewis

Stefan Ferretti Coca-Cola*

Alan Braithwaite Proffessor Supply Chain Cranfield University

Walt Swietnik, Director of Customer Relations and Sales support at Rite Hite

Professor George Rzevski - Open University

Proffessor Alan Waller

Paul Adams Head of Manufacturing GKN Aerospace

Professor Chee Wong, Leeds University Business School

Simon Kingsnorth - Global Head of Digital Marketing, Citi Private Bank

Diamond Sponsor - Smart Focus Speaker – Jess Stephens, CMO, SmartFocus

Adrian Britten Global Director of Communication Amlin PLC

Speaker: Jamie Griffiths, Divisional Head at Reading Room

Pam Wilde CMO SSP Worldwide

Stephen Ingledew, Managing Director, Marketing Standard Life

David Fenton Marketing Director Jewsons

Lizzie Reynolds - Customer Director - One Stop

Lisa Pearson - Head of Martketing - Merlin Entertainment

Anton Dominique - CMO - London School of Marketing*

Giuseppe Caltabiano - VP Marketing Intergration - Schneider Electric*

Giles M. Cross MA Head of Marketing & Public Relations Sanlam UK*

Chris Hughes - CPO - Heathrow Airport

Lexmark Simon Collins , Product Marketing Manager, Financial Process Automation

Dr Marcel Vollmer - COO - Ariba SAP Company

Richard Young CPO Flybe

Rob Morton - Managing Director Supply Chain & Procurement British Gas

David Lyon Head of Procurement Cancer Research UK*

Stephen M Pearce Global Head Procurement Arysta Lifescience

Gráinne Hennessy Group Procurement, Ptsb

Martin Chilcott, Founder and CEO 2 Degrees2

José Luis Portela López - Proffessor Financial Times and IE Business School*

Michael Bitar Head Procurement Bank Julius Baer & Co.*

Caroline Stockmann - CFO - British Council

Martin Pilkington - Finance Director, RH Environmental Limited

Timothy Hines - FD Eurasia - Joy Global

Richard Millward Global Financial Advisor Rothschild

David Pafrey Chairman of the Board at Leaf Systems

Tom Lewis - Finance Director IPA

Neil Morling - CFO - Olswang

Steve Darrington - Pheonix Partners

Ilan Oshri Professor and Director, Centre for Global Sourcing and Services, Loughborough School of Business

Nic Williams - Finance Director - Mercer

Steve Darrington - Pheonix Partners

Velou Singara - CFO Coram*

Andy Williams Global CIO Save the Children

Guido von Klitzing - Vice President Sales SeereneSeerene

David Guest - CTO - Specsavers

Adam Forde CIO Coca Cola

Anna Barsby CIO Halfords*

Brendan O'rourke - CIO - Telefonica UK

Chris Day VP IT Astrazeneca

Dominic Grounsell - CMO Travelex

Thomas Davies Google for Work, EMEA Google

Ed Hutt - CIO Fitness First

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