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Andy Haywood's diversity challenge as the Co-op Group CIO

Mark Chillingworth | Feb. 7, 2013
One year ago Andy Haywood moved from being IT director at Boots the Chemist to begin a new role as the first group CIO of the Co-operative Group. Both for the man himself and for his diverse organisation, it has been a busy first year.

"The beauty of it is that we have, in my opinion, real CIOs in the business lines. They are not account managers and we are taking the chance to build on the best. I have been heavy in the market and looking for people, both those with experience and newcomers."

This new IT function has a budget of in excess of half a billion pounds weighted towards capex, but Haywood is very clear that the Co-operative has a good 'shopkeeper' approach to managing costs and is clear about where it expects the payback from the IT investment. The IT team consists of 2200 people, with around 400 of those contracting.

The Co-operative traditionally is not a major user of outsourced services, but Haywood says his team and he are getting the best from relationships the company has with Infosys and Steria and has much more to do in this space yet.

New starters

While Haywood has been recruiting IT leaders to manage the business lines, he has also been increasing the technology skills base at the other end of the organisation with the impending launch of a new IT apprentice scheme that, like the regeneration programme, aims to benefit both the Co-operative and the North West.

"I've kids in their twenties and it's hard out there. I want to really go for it on this apprentice scheme," he says.

Haywood is always an enthusiastic realist when it comes to retail and retail technology and as we reported in our previous interview with him, he saw Asda through its Walmart merger integration, a project he spoke of enthusiastically. With the Co-operative he has a similar scale challenge and benefits that go beyond the till, bank counter or webpage.


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