Lee Cowie

Tom Allen
clock • 2 min read
Lee Cowie

Lee Cowie

Part of the IT Leaders 100 - a list of the most influential IT leaders in the UK

As CTO of Merlin Entertainment, Lee leads tech rollouts across the organisation. He is an experienced technology leader and business partner, with extensive digital and organisational transformation experience.

How do you ensure diversity is taken into account in your IT recruitment?

Balanced shortlists and anonymous CVs, as well as internal advocate and sponsorships programmes for high potential but under-represented groups to help crash through barriers.

Which technology are you currently most excited by?

The Metaverse!! And the possibility of connecting the physical with the virtual world, especially stitching together epic stories and experiences that blend worlds.

What do you to unwind?

Long countryside walks - proper long distance over multiple days. Also watching Southampton FC, though I often feel more stressed after that!

If you were an animal (other than human), which animal would you be and why?

Giraffe! Having that height above everyone else allows for enormous perspective, and I have found that perspective is the most essential element of being an effective leader - being able to sort what matters now from what will matter tomorrow

What makes you laugh?

Me! Or rather laughing at my own mistakes. Not taking myself too seriously has to be one of my greatest lessons in life. Aside from that, my children and their beautiful innocent perspectives on the world, so innocent and true - I would love to live in their world for a while!

How did you get into IT?

Total accident. I wanted to be a doctor but didn't study hard enough at A-levels, so did the closest thing to studying medicine which was to study biochemistry. During that course I realised I had a lucky escape as I wasn't really enjoying it.

In the press at the time there was a lot of conversation about how the internet would change the world and we were at the very peak of the first dotcom boom, so I decided I wanted to be a part of this new sexy technology. I landed a grad scheme at Norwich union, thinking I had found the sweet spot. You can imagine my disappointment when in my first week they sent me on a mainframe programming course - COBOL, CICS and JCL!

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