CIO50

CIO 50 2009: John Suffolk

CIO 50

Job Title : 4

Organization : CIO

Government CIO John Suffolk is a regular on the CIO50 list, which is not surprising as he is involved in some of the largest IT projects in the country. Effectively, he has responsibility for supporting six million public sector workers.

He is the public face of UK government IT and leads the work of the CIO Council to deliver the IT strategy behind the Transformational Government agenda. In the past year, Suffolk has pushed this collegiate approach further down the tree, creating a CTO Council to find better ways of tackling the execution as well as the vision.

Much of his focus is around finding common ground for IT workers across departments to work together, whether it is shared services or universally adopted standards and methodologies.

In an organisation as vast as the public sector (Suffolk likes to remind people that it's bigger than the UK's top 250 companies on the FTSE index put together), breaking down fiefdoms is a challenge but he adopts a pragmatic approach to colleagues who want to go their own way.

"If you can't beat us, join us," he says. "If you can, tell us about it and we'll include it in the next version of what we do."

Suffolk's remit also includes leading the IT Professionalism programme to create a genuine and attractive IT profession and career ladder in the public sector.

Suffolk has been government CIO since June 2006 and prior to this he was director general of the government's £2bn Criminal Justice IT programme. His route to the top was via 25 years in both public and private sectors, including roles as a business troubleshooter and MD of Britannia.

At the weekends Suffolk escapes to the Peak District where he runs a farm protecting rare breeds of sheep and pigs.

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