Part of the IT Leaders 100 - a list of the most influential IT leaders in the UK
Louis became UK CIO of Lowell in early spring 2022, following a four-year stint as CIO for First Direct in Leeds - and before that, leading IT across HSBC's four banking brands. His 18 years of experience in the financial services sector has seen him transition through various senior leadership roles, gaining wide experience across cybersecurity, IT operations, architecture, change and technology leadership.
How do you ensure diversity is taken into account in your IT recruitment?
Far too often I hear diversity being discussed in the context of shortlists and active recruitment. For me, the efforts to address diversity imbalance need to be focused well before the point of planned recruitment. Actively managing diverse talent pipelines and succession plans has allowed for a material shift in gender and ethnic diversity in my teams, but I believe in trying to make small changes that will make an impact across wider society and industry. I have worked with schools and other education facilities to help demonstrate the true breadth of roles and skills we desperately need in our industry, in attempt to dispel the myth that technology = coding. By showing children and young adults from a variety of underrepresented groups (not just by gender and ethnicity, but also considering neurodiversity, financial privilege etc.) the types of qualities we look for in scrum masters, CX designers, product owners, copy writers, exploratory testers and so on I hope to show that there is a path in technology for everyone - and where I can, support that with school-leaver and apprentice-type pathways into the industry.
Which technology are you currently most excited by?
Like many organisations, right now we're looking at the innovative ways we can apply machine learning to our rich data sets to continually drive better understanding of our customers, but I'm very excited by the opportunity that current industry investment in AR technologies presents to future ways of working. The opportunity that flexible working presents in terms of opening the talent pool, as well as changing how we think about delivery measurement to support custom work patterns, is immense, and when we figure out how we continue to develop truly close-knit and meaningful relationships with support of immersive technology, we will have a very powerful workforce.
What makes you laugh?
As a lover of all comedy, it isn't hard to make me laugh. I am an entertainer at heart (according to my Myers Briggs profile at least), and try to bring fun to my ceremonies and wider department events. I love seeing the team indulging in a Mario Kart tournament, table football championship or technology bake-off and must confess that I struggle to contain my giggles the most during team-building karaoke :)
How did you get into IT?
I had a desire to pursue a career in technology from a very early age. Having grown up to witness the arrival of personal computing and been fortunate enough have access to devices from a very early age, I have always wanted to use these devices to create amazing experiences and solutions to benefit people. My keenness and ability to demonstrate home projects enabled me to spend time in my early teens with companies like HSBC, to obtain experience and work on interesting early-internet solutions -- experience that ultimately led to my first formal role in technology at the age of 18. I remain acutely aware that today many aren't afforded the early opportunities and access to compute devices that I had, hence my passion and focus on supporting young individuals from mixed privileged backgrounds in finding entry routes to IT.