I have extensive management experience in the insurance, reinsurance, banking, software development, manufacturing and retail sectors, with particular focus on forming a deep appreciation of business / customer needs; developing pragmatic strategies to address these; having a passion for high-quality execution; and understanding the key role of education in enacting cultural and organisational change. While I have predominantly held hybrid IT / Business roles, my specialisms include Strategy Development, Data Management / Analytics / Business Intelligence / Data Warehousing (the main subjects covered in this blog), Financial Systems / ERP, IT / Business Alignment and Customer Relationship Management systems.
I am the founding Director of peterjamesthomas.com Limited and am currently working on interim assignments for a range of companies such as Lloyds Banking Group, Bupa and XL Catlin.
My last long-term role was as Head of Group Business Intelligence for Validus Holdings, a leading insurance and reinsurance organisation with a global presence. For a considerable portion of my time in this role, I was also Head of IT Development at Validus’s Talbot Underwriting subsidiary.
In 2011, I served as Head of Information at Greene King plc, a leading UK brewer and retailer. In this capacity, I was accountable for supporting the needs of thousands of users across the company. I consolidated Greene King’s information estate on to a single platform, drove a number of information projects and developed complementary strategies encompassing both future information provision and customer-centric analytics. These strategic visions continue to guide work at the company.
Between 2009 and 2010, I was Head of Group IT Development at Element Six. Element Six are part of the De Beers (now Anglo American) family and a global leader and innovator in the field of super-materials. In this position I was accountable for all aspects of IT Development spanning the organisation’s 20 countries and 2,900 staff. These included areas such as Business Intelligence, ERP systems, CRM systems and general applications. Here I also introduced an IT Governance process and a related four-year IT strategy.
Before this, and based on both my work for Chubb Europe and my successful deployments of different systems to both Asia Pacific and Latin America, I was appointed Vice President of Business Intelligence for the International Division of The Chubb Group of Insurance Companies. Chubb provide property and casualty insurance for personal and commercial customers worldwide through 8,000 independent agents and brokers. The International Division has premium income of $2.8 billion (23% of the total) and consists of Chubb’s subsidiaries in Asia Pacific, Canada, Europe and Latin America. Here I developed an information strategy spanning each of Chubb’s non-US territories, one which continues to be implemented by the company today.
In the seven years prior to this, I was head of Enterprise IT in Chubb’s European operation. In this capacity, I led the Business Intelligence, Financial Systems, Marketing Systems, HR Systems and Application Integration groups. I was also accountable for Governance and Budgetary issues pertaining to all European IT departments and was a member of Chubb Europe’s Senior Leadership Development programme. I worked for Chubb for a total of thirteen years.
Earlier in my time at Chubb, I originated the transformational concept of a new business intelligence system for Europe. I was tasked with developing a strategy to create greater transparency for the region’s performance metrics and then with executing this programme of work. The resulting Cognos-based EMIR system is quoted by Chubb business managers as a major factor in their turnaround effort and establishing new profit records in 5 of the following 6 years. EMIR has won two industry awards and been the subject of multiple interviews and case studies in the European and US business and technology press. I have spoken about the factors that led to the success of EMIR at seminars across Europe and North America. I also implemented EMIR in Chubb’s Latin American operations and the system has recently also been extended to cover both Chubb’s Lloyd’s of London Syndicate and their Asia Pacific operations.
Also at Chubb, my skills in cross-functional and cross-regional implementations resulted in me being assigned responsibility for the deployment of Chubb’s Oracle PeopleSoft Financial System to its Asia Pacific operations and the roll-out of several European and US-developed systems across Europe. I also nurtured a strong team of managers who have since moved on to more senior roles within the company, a tribute to my people development skills.
I spent the first 8 years of my career in a technology start-up, Cedardata, where I progressed to become an executive. Cedardata (now Advanced Business Solutions) is a UK-based software development, implementation and consulting company with operations in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific. Through developing new and enhanced products, leading major implementations and playing an active role in sales; I was instrumental in the company’s turnover growing from £50k to £12m ($20m) and in it floating on the London Stock Exchange.
My most significant achievement at Cedardata was turning round the project to convert the company’s products to a graphical user interface and client/server; work that was crucial to the Cedardata’s revenue. I also worked on multi-million pound projects for clients including: BOC, BP Chemicals, Cellnet, Churchill Insurance, Energis, The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Inmarsat, Kuwait Petroleum, NEC, Orange, and The UK AEA; and partnered with organisations such as: Andersen Consulting, BusinessObjects, CAP Gemini, Coopers and Lybrand, EASAMS, Oracle and Price Waterhouse.
I earned my BSc. in Mathematics from Imperial College London. My MSc. in Pure Mathematics was intercollegiate; being based at Imperial College, King’s College and Queen Mary College. I specialised in Group Theory. I am a keen rock climber and a member of the British Mountaineering Council.
More information about my career can be found in the Experience section.