Adrian Booth

Tom Allen
clock • 3 min read
Adrian Booth

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

Adrian has been the CIO for Cambridge Education Group for the last three and a half years, and was recruited at a particularly key point in the company's journey: when it was selling one company within the Group that shared technical infrastructure with others. That created an urgent need to plan and execute a project to create totally separate infrastructure for each company, split the application estate and migrate one company in its entirety to the cloud in just over a 12 month period.

Prior to joining CEG, he held a number of senior positions for companies in the payments and financial services industry, as well as leading the IT transformation practice in the consultancy division of a major India-based service provider. He is passionate about delivering IT services that make a difference to the people who use them, be it the company's external customers or internal staff. His early career was spent as a programmer and he has never lost his love of writing computer software. 

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

This is very important to me personally and to Cambridge Education Group. Diversity presents itself in lots of ways and I believe having a diverse group of people working with you, brings out the best across the full team. A diverse team will  generate a wider breadth of thinking, which is needed to achieve the best for the business and each other.

As a leader, it's important that I reinforce this need for diversity in all my engagements with my team. Our People team provide plenty of useful training and guidance on diversity and inclusion to all staff, which provides the right foundations for equitable recruitment. We have a very strong relationship between the IT and People team in the business, which means our People Partners are close to the detail of what we are doing and can challenge our thinking and encourage us to champion and celebrate diversity.

Our recruitment is usually a three-stage process (CV review, competency interview and technical interview) with multiple people involved throughout, and is specifically designed to minimise unconscious bias.

Which technology are you currently most excited by?

AI and machine learning.

What do you to unwind?

Play golf (very badly), spend time with my family, read books and write mobile-apps for fun.

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

A golden retriever. I have a seven-year-old golden retriever who lets my grandchildren walk all over him, is great fun to be around, is slightly daft but always there for you.

What makes you laugh?

Spending time with my family, particularly my grandchildren.

How did you get into IT?

My career aim when I was 15 was to go into teaching. One weekend, my brother-in-law came round and told me he had just bought himself a new Sinclair Spectrum and wondered whether I would like to borrow his Sinclair ZX-81. I had no idea about computers at the time but thought I may as well have a go. He brought it round a few days later and I absolutely fell in love with computing.  I got a summer job shortly after, bought myself a Sinclair Spectrum and started writing games for the youth group I was leading. I think the first game I wrote was a version of Pacman. After that, my career choice was set.

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