Gillian Tomlinson

Chief data officer

Path to power

Gillian is a seasoned data and analytics professional with over 15 years of global experience in leading the establishment of data-related organisations, programmes and initiatives across the UK, Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Most notably, Gillian fulfilled the roles of vice president of Dun and Bradstreet for the EMEA region, head of change for Credit Risk Data at Royal Bank of Scotland UK, head of data quality at Lloyds Commercial Bank UK and, more recently, chief data officer of Whitbread UK.

As CDO of RSA (one of the world's leading insurance groups providing products and services in over 100 countries with over 13,000 employees), Gillian has full accountability for data, business intelligence and analytics spearheading the transformation and optimisation of the company’s capabilities with a core focus on championing data innovation, optimising customer experience and driving operational efficiency.

Gillian has been awarded Chief Data Officer of the Year in 2017 by CDOEurope IQPC, voted as one of the UK’s top 50 data leaders and influencers by Information Age in 2015 and profiled as one of the Top 20 Women in Data by The Female Lead in 2017. 

She is originally from South Africa and moved to England seven years ago where she lives in Hertfordshire with her family. 

What has been the highlight of your career in the industry to date?

Winning the Chief Data Officer of the Year award for 2017 and being nominated as one of the Top 20 Women in Data by The Female lead stand out as the most recent highlights.

What do you expect 2018 to be like for the data and analytics industry?

Challenging and exciting …I think the challenge remains for the data and analytics industry to master big data while taking advantage of new technology innovations. How do you generate sufficient ways of working to enable large organisations to adopt data technologies in a timely way is an exciting opportunity, but a challenging one.

So - why did you choose data?

I joined a credit bureau in my early 20s and found it fascinating. There are no two days the same and it’s an ever-evolving, dynamic industry.

What is the best thing about working in the data industry?

Learning and knowledge sharing and the breadth of the data world.

If you were granted one wish to change something about the data industry, what would it be?

Companies would invest more efforts in integrating data functions across their business and not under IT.

What advice would you give to somebody thinking of a career in this sector?

Go for it. It’s exciting, challenging, dynamic and at the forefront of cutting-edge technological developments and is highly rewarding.



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