Governing Body Spotlight

Co-Chair of the UK & Ireland CIO Community

Craig Charlton

Group CIO

Compass Group PLC

Craig is the Group CIO at Compass Group and leads the Digital & Technology function. He leads an ecosystem of technology teams and leading-edge partners with a strategy to deliver both global and market solutions across Compass Group Worldwide.  

Previously, Craig was the CIO at McLaren and De Beers, and served as CTO of Anglo American, leading several major change and outsourcing initiatives. Earlier in his career, Craig held a variety of leadership positions in Procter & Gamble.

Craig has a BSc in Computer & Management Sciences from the University of Warwick. He lives in Surrey, England, and is married with two young children.

Learn more about leaders in the UK & Ireland CIO Community here.

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

An interest and aptitude in all things technology, 10 years in consumer goods with P&G (cutting my teeth in the world of IT and services), 10 years in mining with Anglo American and De Beers (saw places in the world I didn’t know existed), 3 years in F1/Automotive (glitzy and challenging in equal measure) and now 3 years in Food Services with Compass Group plc (where real transformation is happening!). Various roles through this time across all technology disciplines, leading to my first CIO role at De Beers. Learning all the time!

What is one of your guiding leadership principles?

“Take your work seriously, not yourself” – humour is critical in the workplace!

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

Right at the centre of it all. The digitalization of hospitality has transformed my role from back to front office, and one of support to operationalizing the front line. It’s all very exciting, and puts you in the limelight with higher expectations on your digital & technology function. 

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

Don’t think you know it all now you are a CIO – there is a steep learning curve, and the key things to understand are how your business is structured, governed, and operated. Make sure that your technology strategy is fully in sync. Build strong relationships with all executives regardless of where you sit in the organisation and get to know your Board and their concerns. Be willing to adapt and have flexibility – rigidity stifles innovation and progress.

Tell us 3 fun facts about yourself.

  • I’m a complete petrol head and have owned more than 50 cars in the last 25 years.
  • A photo I took was entered into a charity auction and is now displayed in a stately home.
  • I once stood on Desmond Tutu’s foot when disembarking a plane in Cape Town. 

What is the value of participating in a professional community through Evanta?

Everyone says ‘networking,’ but it is the deep personal relationships that you build in your career that are critical to your professional success through advice, mentoring and coaching – you get out what you put in. It helps hone your professional style, taking the best from all, and you might even have some fun doing it. 



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by CIOs, for CIOs

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