Our next episode of ‘Diary of a CIO’ is with Jock Carruthers, CIO at Ooni, soon to be starting as CIO at ASDA.

An intro to Jock

Highly motivated and resilient executive leader with a successful track record within technology operating at board level. Jock has a real passion for making a positive difference through building strong diverse teams with a clear focus on being better then yesterday and utilising technology to enable a better consumer outcome and experience.

Jock has a wealth of experience working in an ‘always on’ world with comprehensive knowledge and proven experience in developing and running all elements of major IT functions spanning Service Operations, Business and Strategic Portfolio Change Delivery, Cyber Security, Application Engineering, Supplier Management, Infrastructure (core and client) and Ecommerce teams. Which at times has been during the backdrop of significant business change including insourcing and outsourcing driven by mergers and acquisitions.

An intro to Ooni

Ooni is on a mission to have one of their pizza ovens in the backyard of every man, woman and backyard-owning child everywhere. They are a 300-plus-strong multi-national team that design, make and sell pizza ovens all over the world. They care about building a business for good and paying it forward. They’re a certified B Corp. They donate 1% of every sale to carefully chosen social and environmental causes and they’re a member of 1% for the Planet.

The interview…

When did you know you wanted to become a CIO?

I don’t think I ever wanted to be a CIO if I’m being brutally honest, I fell into technology. I started in business and worked in banking. I worked my way through the ranks from branch, to selling mortgages, through to financial advice. At that point, a graduate scheme popped up for technology or retail banking, and I asked what the difference is, and ultimately it came down to about £7k – so technology was chosen!

How do you balance professional with personal life?

I think early on in my career the balance wasn’t there. It was work. You just accepted that’s how it was. There was an expectation when I started my career in tech, that you were always there. There was no such thing as working from home or flexible working. You were there. You were working and you were on call. If you finished at 6pm, you were on call through till the next morning. If you were on call over night, you were still expected to be in the next morning to tell the execs and report back. I think initially, the culture wasn’t there about balancing work life.

I was really fortunate to have great leaders and role models that showed me there is always time for family. If there were school runs, dentists or other appointments, as long as you had cover and there was someone to contact, that was acceptable. That was the real lesson. You only put that pressure on yourself. As long as that contingency is there and someone is available and ‘always on’, you don’t have to be looking at your phone 24/7.

It’s setting expectations of how you can be contacted – this took time and learning through others. But it’s setting boundaries and communicating that I am not going to have my phone glued to my hands looking for messages and emails, but if you need me, call me and I will answer. There is the element of setting boundaries personally, but on the flip side, trust your team. You pay people to be on call and to do night shifts. Trust them to do their job. Then this will allow you to take that step back to get time. You can’t be always on, it’s impossible, you burn out too quick and make rash decisions.

To access the full interview, check out the video below.