David Thorpe

David Thorpe overcame a (slightly) wayward youth and the lack of a maths O level to become a local authority accountant and COO of EDS in the EMEA region.  He made his mark in the IT when he headed the implementation of a new computer system for a London Borough.

He eschewed the opportunity to be employee number three at Capita but moved to Honeywell Information Systems working on large-scale implementations in the public sector. This drew him to the attention of EDS, the outsourcing company, and he rose quickly as the public sector in the UK turned to outsourcing its IT.

For the past 20 years he has chaired or directed 20 companies, often in the IT sector.  David’s fascinating career story covers key issues and developments in the industry, including the role of IT and outsourcing in the public sector, the rise of IT’s role in business transformation and the contrasting cultures of industry leaders. 

Richard Jeffery

Richard Jeffery grew up on a farm, but broke with family tradition when he chose to work in software and services. Nevertheless, family discussions around the kitchen table about the farm’s business challenges and opportunities, set him up well for entrepreneurship.

After studying “dull and formulaic” ‘A’ levels in maths, physics and chemistry, Richard loved the economics, philosophy, computing and general systems theory of his degree in systems and management degree.

Since then he has spent his career helping organisations improve operational efficiency while providing the best possible support for their staff. He worked for PA Consulting and Coopers & Lybrand, before joining Organisational Consulting Partnership, a small breakaway team from PAC.

In 2005, Richard co-found ActiveOps, a company focused on Software As A Service and Management Process Automation. Earlier this year, ActiveOps launched on the London Stock  Exchange in an IPO valuing it at almost £120m.

The original flotation, scheduled for February 2020, was called off in the face of Covid-19. But by September of that year, it was apparent that the business was thriving. SaaS revenues were strong — turnover was £20m in 2020 — and the pandemic had focused minds on the importance of management information on operational activities. “It created a pain point and meant our products were hugely appreciated,” says Richard, who is still CEO.

The fact that the IPO proved so popular with investors was a huge vote of confidence in the business, Richard says. Its software is well placed to help organisations cope with the challenges of flexible working.

“The biggest cause of stress is uncertainty. You need to create environment where people feel safe, and know what’s expected of them and when they’ve done a good job.” His mission is to provide a coherent and consistent framework for this to happen.