Case Study: Interim General Manager IT at CitiPower & Powercor Australia Ltd
Interim General Manager IT
One of Australia’s largest electricity distribution networks, CitiPower & Powercor manages the poles and wires that deliver electricity to over a million homes and business premises in the state of Victoria. The company initiated a major, two-year transformation programme that involved a step change in the business model covering a number of key end-to-end business processes, as well as some restructuring of the business.
Investment in technology was a fundamental element of the transformation, which was designed to cut costs and improve efficiency. For example, field workers were issued with tablet devices for the first time in a break from the manual, paper-based workflow of the past.
New automated processes were required to maximise the benefits of putting digital capability into the hands of frontline employees. Moreover, systems implementation partnerships were put in place with technology consultants Accenture and CapGemini.
To help in delivering this major, business-wide transformation, CitiPower & Powercor’s CIO moved at short notice into an operational role. Finding a high calibre replacement was a matter of urgency, with the Board conscious of the need to mitigate risk given the importance of IT to the whole process.
Odgers Interim was approached to find an experienced IT professional to plug the gap ahead of the appointment of a full-time replacement.
“Very quickly Odgers Interim was able to introduce us to a potential candidate,” says CitiPower & Powercor General Manager People & Culture, Peter Wilkins. “We felt very comfortable that this was a high quality candidate coming out of a tier one business, who just happened to be in a transition stage in his career and it was a really good fit for our organisation.”
“It was a perfect solution for us that someone could come in to bridge what is a critical function during a very important time in our transformation programme. And the transformation programme, I should add, had a number of significant IT components.”
The chosen candidate, Brett Winn, had held a number of senior IT leadership and implementation roles based in Australia and China. Most recently, he had been Chief Information Officer at Medibank, Australia’s largest integrated private health insurance and health services provider.
His experience at Medibank, where he oversaw all technology, digital delivery and information management operations and led a team of more than 400 IT professionals, meant he was well-placed to take on an interim executive role with accountability across all digital, technology and data services.
Brett commented on his assignment, “My assignment at CitiPower & Powercor involved the completion of a strategic review that covered financial management, investment profiles, team structure and recommendations to better align technology services to business or customer outcomes. My review was submitted to, and approved by, the Executive Committee and was provided to the incoming CIO for implementation.”
Powercor benefited from an interim executive manager able to quickly get to grips with the key business issues it faced and provide people leadership as well as technical and strategic input. The strategic review completed by Brett was vital groundwork that made life much easier for the new permanent CIO.
"Having an interim executive manager actually added value that was sustainable for the business,” says Peter. “A good interim manager is not just keeping a seat warm but doing work that really enables someone who is coming into a permanent role to hit the ground running."