After graduating from Caulfield Institute of Technology in 1981 with a Degree in Electronic Data Processing, I was employed by the Commercial Bank of Australia as a programmer. In those days, the prospecting employers came to university twice a year to recruit as many young hopefuls as they could get their hands on.
The teaching staff at CIT were excellent and my memories of Holerith punch cards and computer terminal rooms still bring back fond memories. My hunch was right, knowing what to do with software has proven to be very useful for a career path. After working in several Australian banks in programming, systems analysis, project management and architecture roles, I followed an opportunity to go to Hong Kong in 1988.
I operated as an IT consultant with a small firm that I set up in Hong Kong for a few years, then after our first child came along, I decided to join the client, Standard Chartered Bank. I was quite successful with the Bank moving from technical architecture and project management roles to senior roles that included running the global Information Systems Division, running the Procurement and Vendor Management Group and then running the IT Infrastructure and Operations department. We got through Y2k (even the lifts kept going), we installed numerous packages and integrated decades of systems, middleware and databases together.
Like most Banks, Standard Chartered, which operates across Asia, Africa and the Middle East, dabbled with a mix of packages and home grown systems attempting to have common systems supporting multiple business units. Channel demands for banking services drove a paradigm shift in focus away from conventional 24 hr processing for Banks to a world of ‘always available via as many online channels as possible’. The wonderful thing about the IT industry is the fact that it is always at the front of the innovation curve if you can keep up.
I eventually progressed into Chief Operating Officer roles with Standard Chartered, based out of Hong Kong and Singapore, before returning to Australia to follow my family. I now live in Malvern, near the CIT campus I attended in the late 70’s and have fond memories of those days, including the racecourse pub.
In October 2015 I joined a French-based International IT services company called Atos, as the country Managing Director. One Atos claim to fame is the IT service provision for the Olympics and Paralympics. I got to know Atos when I outsourced Standard Chartered’s Asia data centres to them over 15 years ago and I have been impressed with the fact that the contract has been renewed 3 times and huge benefits have resulted from that outsourcing decision. In today’s fast moving world of IT, where cloud computing is becoming more accepted and even governments are realizing that consumption-based IT models are more appealing than capital-based IT models, the pace and impact of innovation to business from technology only continues to grow at a faster pace. IT continues to be an exciting career path.
In addition to technology and CEO/COO interests I also enjoy Directorship work and board interests, where one’s experience can be widely applied to support good business ethics. Unlike many of my colleagues, I have not chosen to pursue a series of additional university or MBA qualifications during my career. I have found that the launch pad I received from (now) Monash University and a hard-working and engaging attitude have equipped me to do OK, at least so far.