Tonight in Barcelona, Europe's 10 leading Chief Information Officers were recognised at the first annual CIO of the Year Europe ceremony. Chief Information Officers from eight different European countries made the final list of the continent's best, being praised in a variety of categories including diversity, innovation and sustainability. They received their awards at a lavish gala dinner.
CIO of the Year is the highest award that transformational IT leaders in Europe can achieve. CIOs were granted awards in five key categories: large enterprise, small to medium business, innovation, diversity and sustainability.
More than 113 CIOs submitted entries, drawn from 17 countries and a wide variety of industries. A panel of experienced CIOs and journalists assessed each of the entries, whittling them down to the final short list of winners.
CIO of the Year Europe: 2019 Winners
Winner of the CIO of the Year Europe - Large Enterprise category is Åshild Hanne Larsen from Norway, CIO of Equinor. This category recognizes excellence in CIOs working in a business with 999 or more employees.
Congratulating Åshild Hanne Larsen, Wendy Pfeiffer, CIO of Nutanix, said: "I like the mix of adoption of modern technologies from enterprise-class to consumer-grade. That's what great IT does: adapts technology from every sector to meet the operational and business needs of the enterprise."
Speaking about Larsen, CIO UK Editor and judging panel member Edward Qualtrough said: "Åshild Hanne Larsen's journey from cleaner and catering assistant scrubbing cabinets on offshore rigs 26 years ago, to CIO and SVP at $61bn revenue Norwegian energy company Equinor is immensely impressive. The initiatives Åshild and her team are driving are not just transforming the organization almost from top to bottom, they are also enriching the entire tech and business landscape in Norway and further afield.
"Working with the board on digital business innovation, democratizing data across the company, and empowering bottom-up innovation is having a huge impact at Equinor. But it's the impression the CIO is having outside of her own organization which is perhaps most impressive - Microsoft has opened two data centers in Norway based on its relationship with Equinor and Åshild, with the new regions set to have a beneficial impact for the Norwegian business landscape. Further, some 80% of startups that went through the Equinor Techstars Energy Accelerator programme have signed contracts with major energy companies, averaging around $2 million each in funding after coming through the initiative."
Specially commended runners up in this category are Fernando Lucero of Iberdrola, Spain, and Carlo Bozzoli, CIO of Enel in Italy.
In the CIO of the Year Europe - Small to Medium Sized Enterprise category, the winning CIO was Denmark's Morten Gade Christensen, CIO of Bankdata. Tesco CTO Guus Dekkers praised what he described as Bankdata's 'simple, innovative solutions which have gained traction with customers', as well as its 'governance model to drive innovation that assures accountability'.
Morten was closely followed by Marabu CIO Stefan Würtemberger, recognised for initiatives and work he did with his team in his previous role at Renz.
In the Project of the Year Europe - Innovation in IT and Business category Europe's CIO of the Year is Victor de Ávila Rueda, CIO of Sacyr. Praising the winning entry, Pfeiffer said: "I love the talent swarm concept, and solving problems real-time by bringing together experts in a somewhat gamified environment. The fact that serious issues are resolved is so impactful."
Victor's commended runners up are Emiliano Sorrenti, CIO of Italy's Aeroporti di Roma, and Chris Zissis, the UK-based EMEA CIO of JLL.
In the Project of the Year Europe - Diversity in IT and Business category, judges gave the award to Miao Sung, CIO of Mars in Belgium.
Speaking about Sung, Qualtrough said: "In a business leadership role it is no longer enough to just acknowledge that diversity is an important issue for your company.
"As Global CIO at Mars, Miao Song has moved well beyond the 'why' to the 'how' with a series of programmes that are helping move the needle in the diversity of her IT organization at a senior level, nurturing the talent pipeline entering the technology sector, and with initiatives from her function radiating beyond IT into other areas of the business helping to build a more innovative culture and improve employee satisfaction."
Piotr Slomianny of Miejskie Przedsiebiorstwo Wodociagow i Kanalizacji in Poland is CIO of the year for The Project of the Year Europe - Sustainability in IT and Business category.
Qualtrough said: "Piotr Slomianny, the CIO and CFO of the Municipal Water and Wastewater Company in Wrocław (MPWiK), and his team have implemented new technologies to reduce water losses and pipeline failures while increasing organizational efficiency and customer satisfaction.
"His vision is to reduce water losses to 0% by 2040. Working with partnership with the private sector, the utility company's SmartFlow technology which reduces water losses is being commercialized in a way which could have huge benefits beyond Poland.
"With water scarcity impacting cities globally, Piotr and MPWiK's focus on sustainable water management 'for today's needs as well as for future generations' are hugely commendable."
About CIO of the Year Europe
The CIO of the Year honors the heroes of IT and business as a model and as an incentive for the next generation. CIOs who not only have their core IT under control, but also contribute to the company's success and capitalize on innovation, diversity and digitalization, were invited to apply.
For more than 15 years, IDG's CIO brand has been recognizing CIO excellence in more than 20 key markets across the globe. CIO honors the performance of IT executives and transformative business leaders.
This event in 2019 is the first time that IDG's CIO brand has rewarded CIOs on a pan-European level. The awards are an IDG collaboration featuring CIO Editors from Germany, Spain, Netherlands, Sweden, France, Italy, Poland, Czech Republic, Denmark, Turkey and the Benelux region.
The judges panel includes Fernando Munoz, Director of the CIO Executive Council, Spain; Mervi Lampinen, IT Director, MSD Sharp & Dohme GmbH; CIO UK Editor Edward Qualtrough; Monika Plocke, Head of Banking Technology Software Engineering, Nordea; Wendy Pfeiffer, CIO at Nutanix, Board Director at Qualys and Girls in Tech; Michael Loechle, Chief information Officer, ABB Power Grid; Araceli García, Director- Master in Computer Science & Business Technology, IE School of Human Sciences and Technology, Head of Group IT Business Partners, IAG GBS; and Guus Dekkers, CTO, Tesco.
Speaking about the CIO of the Year awards 2019, Qualtrough said: "It's been a privilege to work with my colleagues from sister CIO titles across Europe on this initiative which has helped bring together some of the continent's leading CIOs and CTOs.
"At a time when there are shifts to become more inward-looking, the CIO of the Year Europe is distinctly European and recognizes organizations and individuals tackling some of the continent's biggest challenges, whether they are related to sustainability, diversity or innovation - and truly celebrates what it means to be a modern business and technology executive.
"Satisfying the CIO of the Year Europe jury is a real achievement, so congratulations in particular to our five category leaders, and indeed to all of the shortlisted and commended technology leaders along with their teams and the IT ecosystem supporting them."