Tell us a bit about your background
I started in Investment Banking 24 years ago as an equities sales trader. I found myself developing their IT systems in my spare time and eventually moved full time to IT. I progressed from developer to analyst to project manager and to departmental manager until I joined the London securities business of Mizuho International in 2014 as the Head of Risk IT. In early 2015, as data was becoming a more strategic focus for the securities business, I was asked to transition to my role as Chief Data Officer.
What do you do at Mizuho?
Data is the lifeblood of modern businesses. Without good data our systems don’t function, business decisions are hindered and costs increase. As the Chief Data Officer, I run the Data Office to govern the securities business use of data and to help use our data assets for increased profitability. Increasingly this means using our data infrastructure to drive innovation and data science.
How is Mizuho different to other places you have worked?
Mizuho offers a fantastic hybrid of entrepreneurism, strong values and a long term vision that’s uncommon in our peers. Mizuho International, in particular, reminds me more of a large hedge fund than a slow moving investment bank. I think this is down to the lack of bureaucracy and lack of politics set out by the management team.
What motivates you?
I love solving problems and creating value. For me that means helping to find innovative ways to doing things better, faster and for the greater good.
What has been your most rewarding and proudest experience at Mizuho?
Having been named in both 2018 & 2019 DataIQ 100 list of the most influential people in data-driven business, it is a great honour to be recognised for the great work we’ve done.
Seeing the cultural change take hold at Mizuho regarding the value of data has been incredibly gratifying. It’s not often that you get an opportunity to build a new department from the ground up. Seeing how this has been received by our business and the positive impact that it’s made is the real highlight. As an example, our GDPR and MIFID2 regulatory programmes have been delivered for a fraction of the cost compared to our peers. A significant reason for this is the investment we’ve made in our data architecture.
What changes do you foresee in the future of the data industry?
The pace of change will continue to accelerate and the increased use of data science techniques such as machine learning and artificial intelligence will become more important to maintain a competitive advantage. Companies like Mizuho that have made strategic investments in data should be at the forefront of this change. We should be aiming to automate regulatory change as much as possible so that we are in a position to focus further on investing in revenue-enhancing projects.
More widely, the amount of data available is growing exponentially. A growing pool of data and data scientists at universities plus a commoditisation of data science tools will lead to a step-change in the ability to build and deploy data analytics. But we still need to ensure we have the right people to ask the right questions of the data. The Data Office has established partnerships with a number of leading UK University Data Science programmes to support Mizuho’s future needs. These are starting to bear fruit now with three to four university data science projects scheduled this year.
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