Patrick Knight is an innovative board-level CIO with 20+ years of leadership success in complex, globally branded organisations across a diverse range of industry sectors, functional areas, and advancing technologies. He is a clear-thinking strategist able to quickly absorb complex information, engage and build consensus across diverse stakeholders, map out strategic pathways and accelerate focused action.
BIE’s client is an iconic global £15 billion brand, operating in 180 countries with over 200 recognised and trusted brands. It is the world leader in the markets in which it operates, including retail, airlines, cruise, hotels and hospitality. It has over 70,000 employees and delivers premier customer service to 30 million customers per year. Already a long established FTSE 100 organisation, it was in the process of merging to increase the size, scale and growth of its global operations.
This was a highly complex business faced with multiple challenges of merger, integration, divestitures and geopolitical pressures, while in the process of transforming the business, IT and digitalisation of the largest part of the newly formed group. Namely, the UK and Ireland business, which produces the majority of revenue and profits of the group. A number of promotions and departures meant that in order to deliver on this critical portfolio of change and stabilisation, talented support was required.
Delivery of enhanced technology capabilities was pivotal to future success. The organisation started a search for an interim CIO for the UK and Ireland businesses.
Patrick was engaged over a 13-month period and achieved some fantastic results, including:
- Leadership of 500+ strong IT function, covering eCommerce, mobile, retail, hotels and resorts, hospitality, airline and cruise, with a budget of £200m.
- Accountability for completion of £150m landmark omnichannel transformation, delivering leading edge capability by rewiring, replatforming and reengineering "back and front-office" technology platforms across the organisation.
- Rebuilt the IT leadership team and enhanced the IT operating model to accelerate service and programme/project delivery. Priority 1 incidents dropped to below 10 per year; programme/ project delivery time was reduced by at least 50 per cent.
- Developed a clear understanding of the various business models; formulated and delivered the key strategic programmes for each to ensure success - i.e consolidation of seven airlines, refitting and upgrading cruise ship technology, synchronising web and retail technologies to eliminate inconsistencies (saving 12,000 man days p.a), replacing Oracle ERP with SAP as per the Group standard.
- Balanced the "industrial" systems and processes to co-exist with newly created and enhanced digital products, services and capabilities across web, mobile, retail, contact centres, airline and cruise to deliver material results. Credited contribution to record year - all the more impressive due to the merger and integration of businesses and geopolitical challenges - which saw turnover increase by 7 per cent, profit up 22 per cent and customer growth of 5 per cent, through technology innovation and exploitation of technologies that helped increase market leading performance.
Our client's view
"He is exceptional… his legacy will live for a long time… delivers." Board Director
"IT wasn't in good shape… very complex business… had to pick up the baton and drive things forward without much support… has natural gravitas and delivers." Board Director
"Fantastic leader who can operate at many different levels." Senior Business Director
"A remarkable CIO… excellent at strategy and detail…leads by example and made things happen." Senior Director
"A highly accomplished CIO….very little time to get up to speed with our complex technical landscape and made an immediate impact…a real leader….stakeholder engagement a real strength." Senior Business Director
"The IT function is unrecognisable from when he first started with the business… biggest strength is that he delivers… unflappable with a great sense of humour." Senior Business Director
"He is awesome!... great leader… very good at delivery and getting things done… IT love him… funny… very popular with the business, this is rare." Senior Business Director
"A herculean challenge made reality by a great company with fabulous people. A terrific experience, which I have thoroughly enjoyed from start to finish. Ben and the whole BIE team have supported me superbly throughout this assignment. When they contact me I know that it will be an interesting, appropriate and concrete proposition and not something which will waste my time.They are very well connected in the areas in which I operate. This is very refreshing and will lead me to use them both as a client and candidate."