As Group CISO at Standard Chartered, Alvaro Garrido is at the heart of keeping the bank safe and secure from potential cyber-risks. With over 30 years of experience and a wealth of knowledge, Alvaro embodies the Bank’s values as he protects his colleagues and fights financial crime.
Alvaro Garrido – Returning to the Bank to shield Standard Chartered from cyber threats and be a force for good
Leading cyber security operations requires tremendous responsibility, but with the support of his team Alvaro spearheads the Bank’s cyber security function.
How have you gotten to where you are now in your career?
I secured my first job in technology and engineering immediately after graduating from university, where I studied telecom engineering and telecommunications. I spent the next 20 years developing my skills and progressing through various leadership roles. My passion for complexity led to my first role in the banking industry as the Global Head of Technology at Standard Chartered. I began my first stint at the Bank in 2012 and then returned in 2022 as the Group Chief Information Security Officer (CISO). My extensive career in cyber security, IT and operations has spanned three decades across diverse regions including the Middle East, Asia, the USA and the Nordic countries.
What do you enjoy about working at Standard Chartered?
Standard Chartered is a diverse organisation and I have thoroughly enjoyed working with my colleagues from various cultures and countries. The inclusive workforce is representative of Standard Chartered’s international standing, which helps to facilitate overseas opportunities and global careers. I am very passionate about inclusion in the workplace and I truly appreciate working for an organisation that encourages and celebrates diversity. The working environment at Standard Chartered is dynamic and energetic, it is clear that the Bank’s values of doing the right thing, being better together and never settle are entrenched in every operation. The Bank’s values considerably influence how I perform my role - I always look for more efficient ways of working and feel confident in questioning the status quo. Standard Chartered’s supportive culture cultivates an environment where every voice is valued, promoting innovation and growth.
What advice would you give to someone looking to work at Standard Chartered?
If you’re thinking about working for Standard Chartered, I urge you to have no fear and just take the plunge. Standard Chartered is a fantastic place to work and there are real opportunities to develop an international career. Prior to your interview, it is imperative to understand Standard Chartered’s values and identify how you can relate to them. Conducting thorough and up-to-date research is also incredibly important, so reading the latest annual report will be helpful.
What are your goals for 2022?
Having started my new role in May 2022, my goal for this year is to successfully complete the handover from my predecessor and deliver on all of his goals. My role is centred heavily around keeping Standard Chartered safe and secure from cyber risks, so it is critical that I uphold my predecessor's vision to ensure my team stays focused and committed to mitigating potential threats to the Bank.
At the beginning of my career, I identified that the advice and support of my colleagues would be integral to my success in the industry. I have had various mentors since starting my professional life and I wouldn’t be where I am today without their help, so it is important to me to give my team opportunities to grow.
How do you balance your personal and professional life?
Standard Chartered’s flexible working policy has enabled me to spend time with my young family and maintain my health alongside staying on top of my responsibilities at work. I utilise the Bank’s hybrid approach to work by structuring my week as follows:
Following an exciting weekend with my family, I try to squeeze in as much time with my children as possible before leaving for work. I like to start the week strong by attending the gym before I get to the office. I dedicate Mondays to planning for the upcoming week and I ensure that I set aside time with my team to discuss the goals for the week.
Due to the versatile nature of my role, my weekly schedule is ever-changing so I can only plan on a week-by-week basis. Typically, I attend internal meetings on a Tuesday and work with my team to keep the bank safe from cyberrisks. I alternate the days that I spend at the gym, so I spend Tuesday evening with my family.
I usually travel for work on Thursdays, so on Wednesdays I spend time planning and organising my approaching business trips. In the evenings I set aside time to read once my family are asleep; as a working parent, it is important to prioritise time for yourself and do something that you enjoy.
On Thursdays I spend a considerable amount time of travelling and attending meetings. After speaking to adults for most of my day, I look forward to conversing with my children when I get home. My role is very fast-paced, so it is important to know when to relax to achieve a healthy balance.
To ensure I can mentally step away from my job over the weekends, I try to get as much work done as possible on Fridays. I prioritise finalising tasks and begin planning for the following week. Staying organised and being conscious of every internal operation is imperative in my role, so I allocate some time every day to ensure I am up to speed.
I try to attend the gym early in the mornings to energise myself ahead of spending time with my family. My favourite part of the weekend is sitting down with my family to eat and taking my children to their horse riding lessons.