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Ian Willcox

Ian Willcox

Chief Information Officer at Boeing Defence UK Ltd

Bristol, England

People imagine that adventurers are risk takers, they are not, they are meticulous strategists. If what you are planning is intrinsically risky, you do whatever you can to reduce those risks to an absolute minimum. Preparation must be without boundary and execution flawless. That's the kind of person I am, at leisure and in business. Before I set off on my latest adventure, motorcycling around the world, I was Chief Operating Officer of a partnership between the City of Edinburgh Council and BT. My remit was to deliver excellent ICT services whilst growing revenues and improving profitability. It sounds like a contradiction, but that is exactly how to ensure customer satisfaction while succeeding as a business

The programmes I delivered during my career ranged from a £48m warship build to a £35m ICT investment and a £425m transformation programme. These are complex, high risk, high value ventures. Each programme is rigorously planned throughout the lifecycle. There are risks at every step, from concept through selection and design to execution. People, politics, economics and technology all influence the challenging environment I thrive in. Providing you are aware of the risks, they can be avoided or controlled. A lesson I learnt whilst crossing the Atacama Desert in Bolivia was that success can never be assumed but failure can be avoided.

The delivery of complex programmes relies foremost on people. That is where leadership is critical. I select teams for their skills and characters, and empower them by training, mentoring and acknowledging excellence. Establishing a culture where teams thrive is vital to achieving business performance. I also ensure all stakeholders are on side. If I am driving through significant change, I engage people and win champions who will win champions of their own. There is always a client, be it a partner, customer or end-user. The key is understanding what is best for the client, and making sure that is exactly what you deliver.


  • Chief Information Officer (Boeing Defence UK Ltd)
  • Client Delivery Director - Local and Devolved Government Scotland (BT - Global Services)
  • Regional IT Leader - UK, Europe & Israel (Boeing)
  • Career Break ('Self-Employed')
  • Chief Operating Officer, City of Edinburgh Partnership Programme (BT - Global Services)
  • Member of the Board of Directors (RBT Connect Ltd)


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