Insights from a Global CIO


By Qual IT | 22 June 2017

CIO Summit

5 mins with ‘CIO of the Year’ nominee, David Kennedy

We speak to CIO of the Year nominee and Qual IT client, David Kennedy Global CIO of payment solutions provider Transaction Services Group (TSG), which includes companies in the UK, Australia, US and NZ. Qual IT are currently working with one of TSG’s companies, Clubware, a leading Gym Management platform which caters for clients globally. Qual IT has assisted in the analysis of the growing platform to provide understanding and assurance of the quality management in order for Clubware to develop a more rigorous quality assurance platform to achieve higher levels of quality assurance.


Q: How did your career get started and grow to this point?

My career started in 1996 in cyber security. From there, I worked as a security architect with IBM for several years, then joined KPMG doing a multitude of different roles around Europe, the US, Asia and finally New Zealand. I then had an opportunity at Orion Health as their joint Chief Information Security Officer and Chief Information Officer, since then I have gone on to become Global CIO for Transaction Services Group.

I’ve probably worked with 50-75 different companies over my time, so I suppose that’s given me a fairly unique experience profile that I leverage as much as possible. The sorts of things I’ve been exposed to, the types of challenges I’ve seen, understanding what’s worked and what’s not worked – I use all of this to undertake the successful delivery of the TSG business strategy. I think everyone these days focusses on how difficult things are, I like to think about the kind of things you can do to get the job done. My global CIO role offers a huge amount of challenge and flexibility to do that.


Q: What does it mean to you to be nominated for CIO of the Year?

It’s a huge accolade – it’s a viciously competitive race between the CIOs. Just to be in the running was incredibly satisfying.


Q: You’ve cited “Kill complexity. Create time. Think big.” as your 6 word strategy. Any other key advice for those hoping to move up the IT leadership ladder?

I’m a huge advocate for the development of my team. Its key for me to see my team grow and be happy. I also have two young boys at home who I’d like to have a positive future. So, outside of my working life, I’m a board member of several companies including the University of Auckland which helps pull together programmes for education.

As chairman for the University of Auckland’s ‘Strategic CIO’ programme I’ve pulled together 12 CIOs to create a specific syllabus crafted to enable the capability of future IT leaders. Organisations need to be training people to adapt to different roles and changes. So, go and do that course - because I don’t believe we’re short of people, we’re short of training.


Q: What is the most exciting trend you are seeing in the IT space right now?

For me, leadership and leadership styles are changing. My hope is that this will open the door and allow people to spread their wings. Back in the day my bosses were very draconian - they always knew best. I think as leaders we are growing to be much more open to collaboration to get the best results, where historically it was a case of “I know best cause I’m the boss and this is the way were going”. Having technology being lifted up to the board table at every company now is making changes at the top, in board attitude and leadership styles, and it’s very exciting.


Q: What is your ONE biggest challenge to improve IS project quality in your organisation?

The left hand talking to the right hand. We have so many different IT projects and initiatives going on which are complex and require increasing communication needs. And it’s not going to slow down. This will continue to be the challenge of the future.


Quick Five:

  • What do you do for fun? I teach my two boys. At the moment we’re playing baseball and video games
  • Favourite place to travel? Going back to the UK to see old friends and family. And well, I’ve never been to Japan but I’d love to go.
  • What are you reading at the moment? Emails!
  • To date, what’s been your biggest achievement? I have passion to make NZ better. To achieve that it takes a lot of work to generate a profile and to make people listen - I’m very proud to be invited to write in magazines, and go on TV and talk - it’s about having a voice and using it toadd value to the boards I sit on, to help the education system and give back to NZ and its future.
  • iOS or Android? iOS – I’ve got 5 screens in front of me right now. I’m on the iPhone, I’ve got the iWatch on, a MacBook in front of me, and iPads to the left and right.