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In this interview, we catch up with James to find out more about him and his reasons for joining our Bank.
Why did you decide to join our Bank?
I was initially intrigued by the combination of a long-established and successful institution, charting a different strategic course under new and dynamic leadership. As I met more of the team, I was deeply impressed by the humility, professionalism and values of the people here. We have an interesting set of challenges – and I’m looking forward to tackling them together!
What was it that made the role CIO Retail Banking attractive to you?
I love leading teams that use technology to solve business problems and delight customers. The opportunity to do that across the varied countries and cultures served by Standard Chartered was too good to pass up!
How would you describe your leadership style?
Informal, direct, I hope humorous :) Work can’t always be fun, but when it can be, it should be!
What are the achievements you are most proud of?
I’ve had the honour of working with lots of amazing people who’ve done incredible things. To have helped them be successful gives me great satisfaction.
You started your early career as a policeman in London, what were the important lessons you learnt on the job
I think on reflection there were 3 things that leap out:
1. the amount of trust placed in me at a young age – I tried to repay that, and even today I like to give a high-performing people the trust and delegated authority they have earned.
2. the importance of the team for problem solving and mutual support. I worked with the same 20 officers round the clock and knew them better than my own family. I learned a huge amount from all of them and they saved my skin countless times!
3. the importance of engaging with people and actually listening to what they are saying. To this day I will talk to anybody, anytime and I usually find out something interesting : )
What are your interests outside of work?
I love computers, and I’m very fortunate to get paid to work with technology. At home I still spend a ridiculous amount of time messing about with new gadgets and systems, for example I have a Dell server sitting on my washing machine! But it’s not all I do - I have a place out in the country in North Carolina that is so beautiful and tranquil. I have a tractor there that is older than I am, but seemingly indestructible. Nothing more relaxing than coaxing it into life and cutting the grass on a summer evening.
We’ve heard that you have mean coding skills – is this true?
Once upon a time : ) These days I remember just about enough to be dangerous! I started off as a kid writing assembler and databases on 8-bit machines, and eventually put food on the table writing C++, C# and SQL. Was there at the birth of AJAX with my WSDL at the ready! These days I try and help the people doing the real work have the best possible environment in which to do their thing.
What are the top Apps on your smartphone that you use? And why?
In no particular order - WhatsApp to keep up with my kids, Uber to get around, FotMob (best football app I’ve seen – crucial so I don’t miss Spurs games), an app from Honeywell that controls my thermostats (weirdly addictive), and lastly my airline app du jour – I travel all the time, and could never find my paper boarding pass!
What’s on your Spotify playlist?
Ha! I have Spotify subscriptions for my kids, but I prefer my own ripped CDs and Amazon downloads on a tiny mp3 player. I listen to it mainly when I run and when I fly, and in neither case can I depend on connectivity : ) I have eclectic tastes all the way from Chopin to Chamillionaire!
If you had a Super Hero talent, what would it be?
Lol! Well, I used to have the ability to not eat for 48 hours and still function, which may just about qualify.
However, over the last couple of years I’ve noticed I get really hungry just like everybody else, so I guess I’m now a retired Super Hero!
Complete this sentence: “A perfect day would be….
What I did last week – breakfast with my daughter at a little café in London, then lunch in front of a roaring fire in a pub with my son (he’s away at university). We taunted him with pictures of the huge breakfast first, though ;-)
We are live with video banking; our Singapore and Malaysia Voice & Virtual teams have started answering video calls and text-based web chats from clients via our website. This is an exciting moment for the Bank – these are new digital channels but at the same time they provide that human touch and will bring banking closer to our clients.
We are giving clients all the benefits of a face-to-face interaction at a branch, with the flexibility and convenience of banking from just about anywhere. This is all part of our commitment to invest in digital banking and give our clients a truly WOW experience. It’s extremely convenient – clients can contact the Bank from wherever they like – all they need is an internet connection and a computer. It is a secure channel – so there is no need to jump in the car and go down to a branch.
Do you want to help shape the future of Banking?
So what are you waiting for? Be our next great hire and work on projects which have real impact on the way we bank. We are looking for candidates who are excited by the finance industry, digital transformation and driving and implementing business strategy and above all who are inspired by the prospect of shaping the future of banking. That’s the journey we`re on join us…..