Job Title : IT director

Organization : Somerfield

What they say about him: “A Geordie you want on your side of the trenches.”

Cost-cutting has been a big focus at Somerfield, the UK’s fifth-largest supermarket chain, since it was taken over by private equity buyers at the end of 2005 for £1.1bn. During that time the company has sold off the loss-making Kwik Save brand and axed hundreds of jobs at its Bristol headquarters.

Mike Bell’s trademark is turning around poorly performing IT departments and at the end of last year Somerfield signed a landmark outsourcing deal with Indian company Tata Consultancy Services that marked the culmination of an overhaul of the supermarket group’s IT department.

The £30m outsourcing deal with TCS means the IT department has been reshaped significantly from 200 in-house staff at the beginning of 2006 to just 25 – keeping the business-facing expertise – at the end of the same year. The deal is aimed at cutting costs and improving service levels.

Bell has 30 years’ experience in IT starting out as a graduate trainee at Rolls Royce. He has had career roles in various industry sectors and he has spent time in consulting.