Governing Body Spotlight

Governing Body Member of the UK & Ireland CIO Community

Gary Allwood

Director of IT


Gary is the IT Director at ABP UK, a major division within ABP Food Group and one of Europe's leading food processors. In this role, Gary leads the teams delivering digital technology services and ensures effective collaboration and engagement with senior stakeholders across all areas of the business.

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 always been intrigued with the way technology provides opportunities for things to be done differently. I have more than 25 years of experience working for leading FMCG businesses including Young's Seafood, Findus, and United Biscuits. My early days working in support and operations led to roles in business analysis and project management, before I made the leap into IT management. I have been fortunate enough to lead some amazing teams and be part of many successful projects along the way.

What is one of your guiding leadership principles?

The things that got you to where you are now, may not be the things you need to get to your next place.

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

CIOs will become more involved with the business than ever before. Everything we do needs to be done quicker, we need to embrace and understand AI, our teams need to be kept engaged and we must find ways to make our sector more attractive. We do some incredible things with technology in our industry, and we don't celebrate it well enough.

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

  • Trust and empower your team. Let them do what they do best, and trust them to do it right. 
  • Build effective relationships. Build your network, inside and outside of your organisation.
  • Get off the dancefloor. Get out of the details, focus on the bigger picture.

Tell us three fun facts about yourself.

  1. I am a Grimsby Town FC season ticket holder and have been on Soccer AM as a fan.
  2. I love writing and have written several short stories. (I might publish them one day)
  3. I run three or four times a week - it helps me wind down.

What is the value of joining an Evanta community? 

It keeps things real! The networking is excellent, and it's the fact that you can have any challenge and someone in the community can offer insight and support.

It's great to have access to so many people with similar mindsets. It's even better that the things you might be struggling with, others are too, often with answers and advice on how to be better.

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.

by CIOs, for CIOs

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