Job Title : CIO
Organization : Reuters
What they say about him: “A driver of change. What he says is what he believes, is what he does. He is one of a handful of CIOs who is a real thinker and who is not prepared to follow the crowd. His commercial acumen and business knowledge enable him to ensure that technology is totally focused on delivering value.”
David Lister is by nature a transformational CIO – a paratrooper who has spent his career at some of the world’s biggest brands in a variety of industry sectors during difficult periods of change and restructuring.
Steady-state is definitely not for Lister. He says: “I get bored with business-as-usual activities. When things calm down I tend to move on.”
The Edinburgh-born Lister actually trained as an architect before moving into IT in local government and then the chemicals industry. A spell in management consultancy at Coopers and Lybrand followed, before joining Guinness where he spent 10 years in senior IT roles, including two-and-a-half years in Seville where he had to learn Spanish.
He then joined Glaxo Wellcome just before the pharmaceutical giant’s merger with SmithKline Beecham at a time when the group was trying to move to being a more integrated unit ahead of the merger.
Lister joined Boots when the group was trying to integrate 14 different business units into one integrated company and he overhauled the health and beauty retailer’s IT strategy with a £300m modernisation programme and major outsourcing deal with IBM.
At Reuters, simplification and standardisation has again been the name of the game through the company’s “Fast Forward” transformation programme. Lister has been tasked with driving down IT costs and putting in place a global infrastructure that will allow everyone to operate in exactly the same way in any office around the world as part of one team.