Governing Body Spotlight

Governing Body Member of the UK & Ireland CIO Community

Edel McGrath

Group Head of Technology

Knight Frank

Edel McGrath is the Group Head of Technology at Knight Frank having joined in 2019. Prior to her current role, Edel was the Interim CTO at Sainsbury's Bank, where she managed the consolidation of two change teams into one IT delivery team and held overall responsibility for the delivery of the IT portfolio. Earlier in her career, Edel spent nearly three decades with KPMG, in both its UK and European offices.

Learn more about the UK & Ireland CIO community here.

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

Believe it or not, I began my career as a Secretary at KPMG in 1988. A couple of years later I moved into an IT Admin role, setting up the first Desktop Support role for KPMG (where the girls did admin and the boys did tech - how times have changed!) 

At a point in my career I was fortunate to have the choice between being a technologist or a people leader. I chose the leadership role, moving from Head of UK IT Services to Director of European IT Operations to UK Chief Information Officer. I moved to Sainsburys Bank in Edinburgh as CTO after which time, I came back to London as Group Head of Technology for Knight Frank, a Global Real Estate and Consulting firm.

What is one of your guiding leadership principles?

Know your team, understand them and listen. We cannot be successful leaders without the teams that drive our success. It’s important for us to invest our time in making them the best they can be.

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

At Knight Frank we have three priorities: Our Clients, Our People and Enabling our Future.  We are on an exciting digital journey to give our customers, clients and people the best experience.  However, as leaders we need to put our people at the heart of everything, supporting them and making sure they can balance the challenges of their work/home lives.

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

3 things:

  1. Invest time in your team and support their growth. Their success is your success.
  2. Network widely, inside or outside your industry. This is not something that comes naturally to everyone, but the best learning is from the network.
  3. Enjoy what you do, because it's when you’re at your best.

Tell us a few fun facts about yourself.

  1. I've just started golf lessons, and I have no idea why!
  2. I never wanted a dog… and now I have two and I can't imagine life without them.
  3. If I had to do it all again, I would be a farmer.

What is the value of joining an Evanta community?

The value is collaborating, sharing with my peers and learning from them, and being able to use the experience I have to be able to help CIOs who are starting or progressing their careers.

Evanta Governing Body members share their insights and leadership perspectives to shape the agendas and topics that address the top priorities impacting business leaders today.

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