|Date of birth||3rd January 1964|
|Security clearance||NPPV3 + SC|
|CPD||ITIL v3 Expert|
I am an experienced technology leader with excellent communication skills with both the engineering community and fellow leaders. I’ve worked in leadership roles in organizations from startups to international investment banks.
I can help an organization develop maturity in its engineering processes. I believe in hiring great people and letting them do their jobs.
Neural Alpha is a specialist software consultancy with both financial services and ESG clients.
Interim CTO (March 2022-present)
The permanent CTO had chosen to leave the company so Neural Alpha brought me in as a proven problem solver to navigate a way forward. The former CTO was a hands-on engineer and the maturity of process below what was ideal. I have identified the problem areas and am putting in place a robust plan to steer the company into a more sustainable future in technology terms. We will address team structure and separation of duties, redundancy of people (no single points of failure) and of process (failsafe, repeatable and automated). The team I am building is capable of restoring client relationships where they have begun to suffer and expanding into new products when the need arises.
This fully funded Series A company offers a capability uplift in a particular public sector market. It has developed some unique technology IP and has 36 engineers working in various disciplines.
VP of Engineering (March 2020-March 2022)
As VP of Engineering I hired team heads for the majority of my teams. We worked together to build an overall engineering team that is empowered from top to bottom. Process and practice improvement ideas came from all levels of the team and become accepted across every squad.
As a member of the senior leadership team I have won acceptance of ideas about company structure and been a key part of achieving recognised security standards for the company.
- Scaling a multi-skilled engineering team for a Series A B2B startup
- Built and introduced an innovative additional product to market
- Delivered a highly secure platform with regular CREST-certified pentesting, intended for use in challenging environments
- Ensured engineering processes are ISO 27001 & ISO 27012 compliant as the company achieved ISO 27001 certification
- Added on-prem deployment to a cloud-based platform
- Significant refactoring of legacy codebase while keeping the lights on
- Delivered products that use diverse technologies
- WebRTC with STUN/TURN
- Telematics & geospatial
- Map tiling
- Merkle tree immutability
I led the engineering effort across multiple teams and represented the engineering community at executive meetings. While in this role I made improvements to the architecture & design process and began work on a series of KPIs to surface the progress we are making towards the organization’s long-term goals. I helped the tech leads in engineering step up to full leadership roles by creating an engineering board where wider policy and strategy issues can be agreed. I put in place a squad-based structure which will allow us to build out the team from its current size to one an order of magnitude bigger.
Principal Engineer (2019-2020)
I recruited and coached two product engineering teams. The company, and my teams, are committed to world-class engineering standards and consistently excellent performance. My role was to set those standards, align the current and future members of the team with them, and allow them to become the best engineers they can. In the months I worked with them we made improvements in all areas of the workflow from git commit discipline to CI/CD validation. I have encouraged more pair programming using remote pairing tools while we were working in lockdown.
OpenCorporates is a privately-held company that collates global company information for corporate clients with Know Your Client and Anti Money Laundering requirements. It also makes the company data freely available to investigators looking for international fraud and tax evasion crimes.
Tech Lead (2017-2019)
I joined OpenCorporates to help them develop and launch some new features that were being asked for by clients and potential clients. In addition, I have taken the lead in developing a more mature change management process for technical changes with greater awareness of separation of duties. An additional focus of mine has been on managing technical debt, leading to a greater awareness of the volume of debt that the organization is carrying.
We chose a service-oriented architecture for the new features and developed the new code outside the legacy monolithic app with a clearly-defined interface to it. This approach allowed us to work freely on the new requirements, gradually reducing the amount of functionality delivered by the legacy code to a minimum while developing new features in a more maintainable way.
Anthemis Group is a London-based fintech VC with a diversified portfolio of 35 best-in-class, high growth, digitally native financial services companies based across the globe. Anthemis are also investors in my own startup, Xenapto.
Technology Director & EIR (2015-2017)
I took Anthemis Group from spreadsheets to an automated investment pipeline supporting multiple portfolios. To do this I built a platform for Anthemis’s investment activities allowing them to collate information from many sources into the selection process. Rapid gathering of all available data enables a smooth, automated funnel from initial interest through to Investment Committee documents.
I enhanced the platform to support Anthemis Group’s advisory activities, allowing us to efficiently assess and shortlist investment targets on behalf of clients with diverse investment theses.
I integrated Slack, Podio, Evernote, Mailchimp and email into a coherent data flow that allows the Anthemis team to share information efficiently and get notified about actionable changes immediately.
I designed, built and launched the Xenapto platform.
Xenapto was a publicly-available service that managed investment data and integrates modern productivity tools into a flexible workflow. It was used by VCs and individual investors as part of their investment workflow.
I raised £550,000 from investors to create Xenapto using Xenapto’s own bookbuilding features to manage the capital raise. I won a place on the MassChallenge 2015 accelerator programme in competition with 2,275 startups from 67 countries.
As the founding technologist I set the technical direction for the platform, opting for a straightforward combination of Ruby on Rails and Postgres hosted on Heroku. These vanilla choices have allowed me to easily hire developers when greater velocity was needed. Similarly I ensured that the developer toolset was a widely understood combination of Github, PivotalTracker and CircleCI, allowing incoming staff to quickly get up to speed. Prior to the wide adoption of Docker I had developed deployment scripts that allowed me to use inexpensive virtual machines for non-critical tasks such as background scraping. This kept costs dramatically lower than simply spinning up additional Heroku dynos.
Although I re-used third-party components wherever possible there are some “secret sauce” elements to Xenapto that I designed and built from scratch. A good example was an adaptation of the Aho-Corasick algorithm that gave me a 10x efficiency gain in text parsing. It’s this that formed the basis of the smart matching of incoming emails and news stories to particular contacts.
I acted as an independent consultant for a number of financial services institutions in London.
A sample role was as Programme Director for the definition phase of Royal Bank of Scotland’s credit exposure consolidation programme, designed to give the bank a 360-degree view of their exposure to a credit event in any given market, country or region.
I successfully oversaw the initial contact with the business lines up to the final scoping of the programme before the delivery phase.
Commerzbank (then Dresdner Kleinwort)
Global Head of IT, Investment Banking (2001-2008)
I oversaw the integration of the Investment Banking IT infrastructure into the Capital Markets equivalents. I halved the Investment Banking IT spend along with a 75% reduction in headcount.
As a result I also acquired other portfolios including Global Head of Desktop Strategy and Global Head of Reference Data with teams of 87 people. As part of my Desktop Strategy role I oversaw the termination of a worldwide contract with a desktop virtualization provider by agreeing measurable objectives and documenting their failure to deliver against them. This agreement ultimately avoided costly legal action from the vendor.
I also led the rollout of IT Service Management practices in the investment bank and was Process Architect for the wider Dresdner Bank IT Service Management project. My process designs built on the best practice established by the investment bank and replaced the sometimes naive workflows used in parts of the retail bank. Overall the IT Service Management project allowed Dresdner Bank to harmonise IT practice globally and monitor adherence to good practice.