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Paul Smith IT chief Lee Bingham ahead of insourcing trend

Mark Chillingworth | April 26, 2013
Fashion house Paul Smith has long taken classic British style to the wider world. Now head of IT Lee Bingham is helping deliver the same quality to online shoppers

"We have seen the general consumerisation filter through and it is having an effect on the business," Bingham says.

Bingham has been with Paul Smith for 13 years after starting his career at Northern Foods where he went from development to a business analyst role, into management and departmental head before joining Paul Smith in 1990.

"Paul Smith is a great business to work for as fashion is really exciting to be in," he says. Bingham visits the fashion shows in his own time to keep himself as in tune with the sector as the designers and distributors he provides technology for and as we photograph him in a studio area of the office he talks of fashion with as much enthusiasm as he does technology.

"The autonomy I have been given has made me loyal and I have been given a chance to take a set of IT ideas in their infancy and shape them for Paul Smith," he says of his long tenure. If there is a challenge it's the occasional need to be a straight edge in a curved environment.

"It has not always been easy to take a structured role into a very creative business, but it is something I really do enjoy. These change elements get broader as my remit does. We have really valued the identity and personality as a business, so if you are comfortable with the business, then it will be the right fit."

As we take one last picture of Bingham, Paul Smith -- the man himself -- breezes effortlessly through the business that bears his name. Smith says hello to everyone, including Bingham by name and still wears that athletic physique of a cyclist despite a long career in fashion. So what is this global fashion icon like as a boss?

Bingham describes him as supportive and very hands on, but that is an asset to the business and in particular for Bingham at present.

"From a sponsorship point of view he sees the business value of technology and he's a supporter of the business," he says.

Smith is proud of his Nottinghamshire routes and remains involved with the city's university which helps the organisation with recruitment. But as his company takes over its own online destiny it needs experience and that is a challenge they are designing for next.


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