LSE CIO: IT chiefs smashing management glass ceiling

Summary:The increased importance of IT means that tech executives now have a better chance of making it to the top in financial services

Ambitious technology executives can break through the "glass ceiling" and make it to the top of their organisations.

According to London Stock Exchange chief information officer David Lester, the increased importance of IT means that tech executives now have a better chance of making it to the top in financial services.

Lester said: "Technology people that have a business bent can get prominent roles. For people who want to, they can break those glass ceilings by getting themselves into those roles and learning more about commercial skills."

Lester said the success of managers with an IT background such as Ian Watmore and David Yu showed there is a "real career path" for people to go "all the way into very executive leading roles".

And while not all IT managers want to take that step up, he said, there are rewards for those that do.

"I've come up from being a software developer and consultant, all the way through IT, and sitting on the executive committee I get to contribute to the Exchange's property strategy or dividend strategy or M&A strategy," he told the audience at the Financial Services IT Forum, organised by ZDNet UK sister site

"One of the great things in my role is getting involved in all those other things that make a company tick, and it certainly broadens my skills out from technology into business strategy."

And he warned that banking in particular is being changed by regulation — such as MiFID — which means technology will have to play an even greater role.

He said: "The landscape of financial transactions is going to be changed by the regulators and one of the characteristics of an exchange is going to be around the innovation within its technology platform. It is a key differentiator."

Topics: Networking


Steve Ranger is the UK editor-in-chief of ZDNet and TechRepublic, and has been writing about technology, business and culture for more than a decade. Previously he was the editor of

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