Job Title : CIO

Organization : Norwich Union

What they say about him: “Demonstrates cool and calm leadership, delivering innovation and confident performance.”

Alex Robinson is something of an ‘accidental’ CIO who started his career in marketing for The Observer newspaper after graduating from Oxford University with a degree in French and Russian. A short and ultimately unsuccessful spell as a freelance writer led Robinson to try out a computer programming training scheme, which he says was the turning point in his career.

He worked for two years at Leicestershire County Council as a programmer and then relocated to Norfolk with his family and joined Norwich Union as a systems analyst in 1989, rising to the position of IT director in 1999 and then CIO, via a spell out of IT as a project manager working on big business change projects.

Now Robinson is responsible for the IT operations of Aviva’s UK business, Norwich Union – an annual budget of £500m covering some 37,000 desktop PCs, 14,000 laptops, 3,200 servers, six IBM mainframes and 800TB of data across 140 UK locations and nine offshore sites in India.

Over the years he has also bolstered his commercial experience through several non-executive positions both inside and outside of Norwich Union and he currently sits as a non-exec on the supervisory board of Aviva Russia.