Governing Body Spotlight

Governing Body Member of the UK & Ireland CIO Community

Charlie Ewen

CIO, Technology Director

Met Office

Charles Ewen is currently the Chief Data and Information Officer and also the SRO for a major programme to deliver a next-generation supercomputing capability with Microsoft over the next 8 years. This capability will enable the Met Office to generate data and expert advice and guidance to help with the mitigation and adaptation of their changing climate and high impact weather events. Data is at the heart of what they do and ensuring the Met Office is optimised in the ingestion, production, utilisation and distribution of big data is core to his role.

Learn more about the UK & Ireland CIO community here.

Give us a brief overview of the path that led to your current role.

I have been an Executive Director at the Met Office for 9 years and was accountable for all aspects of technology at the Met Office. I joined the public sector in 2008 from various technology and transformation roles in UK and US industries.  

The switch has been very positive, and being able to work at a massive scale in the generation of public good at a world-leading organisation, such as the Met Office, is a privilege. My early career began with a degree apprenticeship with the RAF, and I spent some time in the defence industry prior to moving into commercially focussed roles in the tech industry. This was at a time when the internet was 'changing everything,' and I gathered much invaluable experience in organisation transformation and M&A. 

This wide-ranging experience combined with formal and structured development has allowed me to develop principles and approaches to deliver value from science and technology-driven change repeatedly and at scale.

What is one of your guiding leadership principles?

Authentic and transparent leadership.

With disruption being a key theme of recent years, where do you see the CIO role going in the next 1-2 years?

I can see the traditional 'one size fits all' CIO role becoming more diverse with more emphasis on understanding the risks and opportunities associated with areas such as AI, Data and Public Cloud. The needs are very context- and domain-driven and there is no 'single' answer, and so building expertise in specialist areas will be more important.

What advice would you give to someone just starting out as a CIO?

Learn how to influence and change the wider organisation. You will fail if you can't drive people, process AND technological change.

Tell us three fun facts about yourself.

I love riding horses on Dartmoor, my bike on country lanes and tinkering in my shed/home office/lab.

What is the value of joining an Evanta community? 

The collective wisdom and experience of this group is an invaluable asset in our fast-changing roles.

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