Governing Body Spotlight

Governing Body Member of the UK & Ireland CIO Community

Craig Spurdle

Director Wholesale IT & Automation, Europe

Phoenix Group

With over 29 years of experience in IT leadership, Craig Spurdle has been able to shape technology strategy across the retail, healthcare and supply chain industries with a focus on delivering business value. He is currently IT Director for PHOENIX Medical Supplies in the UK, encompassing a full-line pharmaceutical supply chain business and one of the UK’s leading pharmacy chains. In addition, Craig has the secondary role of Director, Wholesale IT & Automation for the PHOENIX Group, the largest integrated healthcare provider in Europe, operating across 29 countries.

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.

My IT career began back in 1993 when I took the role of IT Manager for a small engineering distributor who at the time was wanting to digitalise. I was young, inexperienced, and learned a lot of great lessons!  Since then, I’ve progressed my career with various IT leadership roles in the community pharmacy and healthcare supply chain industries, gaining my first Directorship in 2011 and moving on to the UK IT Director role within PHOENIX Medical Supplies in 2018.  

At the start of 2022, I took on a secondary role as Director, Wholesale IT & Automation for the European IT organisation covering 29 countries to provide and develop European shared services for the group.

What are your guiding leadership principles?

"Stop extrapolating the present to limit the future" is a concept I find myself using a lot!  It's a lot more fun, rewarding and effective to move teams to design the future state and then work back to define how we get there, rather than looking at all of the barriers to get from where we are to where we want to be.

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

Being a founding part of a new IT organisational concept in Europe has been exciting, and moving that to the next step and truly transforming, not just IT, but the wider business culture towards technology is going to be an increasingly important, challenging and hopefully enjoyable journey!

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

My advice would be that it's not about you and your achievements. It's about how much you can empower your team to deliver real value and how you can demonstrate how that value has moved the whole organisation towards its goals.

Tell us 3 fun facts about yourself.

  1. I was in the audience for Top of the Pops when Kylie performed "The Locomotion.”
  2. I find woodworking is an incredibly effective way to clear the mind. Any activity involving rapidly rotating razor sharp blades tends to demand focus!
  3. I was once lucky enough to be a pit crew member for a Historic Formula One race. I think I still have ringing in my ears as a result!

What is the value of joining an Evanta community?

No matter how much experience you gain as a leader, there is nothing more valuable for me than discussion, debate and sharing knowledge with peers. The Evanta community enables that exchange, and I always find something to learn from others.


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