CIO50

CIO 50 2007: Neil Cameron

CIO 50

Job Title : CIO

Organization : Unilever

What they say about him: "Cameron has brought real in-depth CIO professionalism to Unilever."

Neil Cameron was brought in as consumer goods giant Unilever's first ever dedicated CIO in 2003 from Diageo and was one of the company's most senior external appointments for years.

Cameron had harboured more artistic ambitions but as a self-confessed art college dropout he opted instead to start on the IT career ladder at RHM Management Services in 1973.

Following a series of management roles at Dixons, Aer Lingus and IBM, Cameron joined Marks & Spencer in 1987 and rose up the ladder to become CIO for the retailer's North American business where he led a major change programme, replacing all their core systems.

In 1999 Cameron became global IS director at Guinness and was appointed CIO for Diageo the following year.

At Unilever Cameron took over a 4,000-strong global IT department responsible for 85,000 desktops and an annual IT budget of around €800m. A key priority during his time there has been the 'One Unilever' programme to streamline and simplify the organisation. Cameron has stated that "complexity is the enemy".

In addition to his day job at Unilever Cameron is also a member of the board of IT industry skills body e-Skills UK, the Research Board and a co-chair of the UK CIO Executive Summit.

Cameron plays golf and swims and is also a keen woodworker with his own state-of the-art workshop equipped with all the power tools known to man - tools he says he does intend to one day actually use.

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