“I’ve been in telecoms. I’ve been in financial services. I did an interim stint with Microsoft. And I think the biggest difference in the water sector is that we are a little more risk averse. You drink the stuff, so you can probably appreciate why… The challenge is making sure that too much risk aversion doesn’t go everywhere in our organisation; that we are able to innovate, for our customers, for the environment.”
Northumbrian Water CIO Nigel Watson has helped lead the company to award-winning use of technology – and pioneered a thriving annual innovation festival. And he is refreshingly frank about the business is working on, from cloud to AI.
He is speaking at Computer Business Review and NS Tech’s CIO Town Hall Live this coming Wednesday September 9. The event is a regular gathering for CIOs, CTOs and fellow technology executives to join a live, interactive forum with peers, engage with each other in group discussions, live Q&As with our speakers, and in private chats.
Nigel Watson, who is speaking with Computer Business Review editor Ed Targett, will be joined by Paul Coby, CIO of FTSE 100 sustainable technologies company Johnson Matthey, who will be speaking with NS Media Group;s Edward Qualtrough.
As Ed Targett notes: “Our CIO Town Hall Live is rapidly becoming the go-to assembly for CIOs to hear from colleagues and to discuss key industry trends and disruptive threats. Join us to hear from two refreshingly direct speakers, with world-class experience and a track record of pioneering innovation at their organisations.”
Nigel Watson has been CIO at Northumbrian Water since October 2016, having previously worked in technology roles at Vodafone, Travelport, Microsoft and GE Capital.
Northumbrian Water Group’s stated aim is to become the most digital water company in the world — scooping a global award for an innovative use of artificial intelligence last year as a result.
Particularly passionate about innovation, Watson set up Northumbrian Water Group’s Innovation Festival in 2017 to build on the success of the organisation’s open door hackathons which brought together startups, suppliers, regulators and tech vendors to try and tackle the company and the sector’s biggest business, resilience, technology and environmental challenges. Northumbrian Water’s Innovation Festival 2020 will take place in the autumn over digital channels.
Paul Coby has been CIO of Johnson Matthey since April 2018, and is a Non-Executive Director of Virgin Money, which also operates Clydesdale Bank and Yorkshire Bank.
At Johnson Matthey, a FTSE 100 company which is a leader in sustainable technologies, the reputation of IT has never been higher and Coby’s function is driving the 200-year-old organisation’s plans to innovate using digital and data. Coby was previously IT Director of John Lewis and subsequently the first CIO of the John Lewis Partnership. He was CIO of British Airways for more than a decade.
A writer on Roman military history, Coby has also served as an NED or board member for Pets at Home, P&O Ferries and SITA, the airline joint venture technology services company.
Johnson Matthey CIO Paul Coby interview
‘Innovation in digital and data’
Northumbrian Water CIO Nigel Watson interview
‘Opening the innovation floodgates’
Live audience Q&A with CIO Paul Coby, and Northumbrian Water CIO Nigel Watson
Previous speakers at NS Media Group’s CIO Town Hall Live event include British Army CIO Major General Jonathan Cole, and Parliamentary Digital Service CIO Tracey Jessup.
NS Media Group’s CIO Town Hall Live will be limited to CIOs and senior technology executives on the day of the event, but the sessions will subsequently be opened and made available on demand to all.