Darren Price - Royal Sun Alliance
Price - COO Emerging Markets Royal Sun
Number of staff: 26,000 across RSA with 2000 under Darren
Number of offices: Across 3 regions and 21 Countries
What's on your iPod right now? Amy Winehouse & Luther Vandross
are you reading at the moment?
Tony McCoy - My Autobiography
Alan Sugar - "What you see is what you get!"
Ambiani and Sons by Hamish McDonald
INTERVIEW WITH DARREN PRICE by TOM LEE, DIRECTOR, HARVEY NASH
I met Darren at his offices in
Darren has had an unusual route to COO. At sixteen,
Darren followed many of his contemporaries in
This was a defining moment for him and, armed with his redundancy cheque, Darren retrained in computing and secured an administrative role with the Wakefield Health Authority. Rising through the ranks within the Health Service, Darren then joined Compaq within their professional service division. Within a year he was running a major programme for Unilever, who subsequently recruited Darren to lead a Global Change Programme. Head hunted into GE, Darren took a broader role looking after IT and Operations. Darren is now COO for Royal Sun Alliance Emerging Markets with more than 2000 staff under his remit, across 3 regions and 21 countries.
- Graduate of the Industry wide recognised RSA Executive Development Programme in 2009.
- Winner of the prestigious 2011 RSA Senior Executive Global Platinum Club award for outstanding performance and contribution to the business.
What is top of your agenda today?
The Customer is always at the top of the agenda; it is about how we make the customers' experience better and drive revenues.
Technology is an enabler in this, but is not the solution. We listen to our customers rather than trying to predict what they want, and then use every tool at our disposal to ensure that we are continually improving their experience. This has seen our online proposition deliver far greater returns than our competitors.
Our customers get what they want and they get it quickly.
Who have been the most influential people in your career, and why?
There have been a number of people who have had a big impact on my career:
Bill Glancy gave me my first opportunity at Compaq which took me out of the public sector and gave me the opportunity to work on the Unilever account. Bill has since worked for me at Unilever and RSA
Lars Storke (now CEO of Zoosh
More recently, Paul Whittaker gave me the opportunity to make the move from CIO into COO; taking a business role within RSA.
All of these individuals have had a big impact on my professional career, and have given me the opportunity to develop my skills because of their faith in me to deliver.
What has been your biggest mistake?
We all make mistakes and I hope that I have learnt from all of the ones I have made. I don't have any regrets though.
I think the one thing I have learnt most of all is humility. I think I have certainly improved with age here as I feel I used to be a little unforgiving and extremely delivery focused. I still have the same unwavering determination to deliver but now with an edge of humility.
Where do you see Technology most
I would spin this one around and look at how business can most use technology.
The three key areas for me are:
It is really about understanding the business and customer need; what operation excellence looks like and working with customers to deliver technology solutions. It all resonates around the customers need and how we deliver better service and revenues.
has been demonstrated in our online conversion rates. In Hong Kong, it has
risen from 8% to more than 25% and in
One area where we are paying special attention is in cognitive computing and data analytics. Being in Insurance, understanding what the likelihood of things happening is, and what the on-going consequences are, can give us a significant competitive advantage and this is an area in which we are looking to significantly invest.
If you had not become a CIO, what would you have liked to become?
I would have been a coal miner. From sixteen years old until I was made redundant at twenty-six, I worked in the mines. I had no perception of what working in an office was like and had never worked with female colleagues. At twenty-six, I used my redundancy money to put myself though higher education, and after graduation secured a role at the Local Health Authority.
For me, everything was just about delivery and getting things done, and I think that this is how I have been given a number of fantastic opportunities.
What are you most proud of?
I think making the step from Coal Miner to COO makes me very proud. I think of the key stepping-stones along the way; the first major Change Programme I led will always resonate with me as being massively important to my personal development. The Unilever One Programme involved moving 35 Operating Companies across 17 countries, into one service for Technology, HR and Finance. It incorporated not only the challenges of significant change, but the complexity and impact it had on 52'000 users meant the programme had a dramatic impact on the organisation.
What does Innovation Mean to RSA?
Innovation is getting the basics right; deploying technology to support the delivery of growth.
- High availability
- Leveraging repeatability
- Local flexibility
It is all about alignment to the customer ...