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Chris Clark, Chief executive officer, GBG

Path to power

 

I started my career on a general management graduate program at BT Group. From a technology perspective, this was still very much the pre-internet age, but it was clear that big changes were afoot, and so I was excited to dive into a career in telecoms and technology. During my 20 years at BT, I developed from a graduate trainee to the group’s global leadership team. I spent the first half of my time in the organisation opening and expanding businesses in Europe, the US and Asia. The second half was spent helping the group re-orientate itself to meet the significant challenges of rapidly changing technology and a data-driven world. After BT, I joined Experian as managing director for UK and EMEA where I experienced the positive social outcomes that can be achieved through intelligent and thoughtful application of personal information and data. I joined the GBG team in April 2017 as CEO. We help organisations quickly validate and verify the identity and location of their customers. In a world where we increasingly transact with people we never meet, the role GBG plays in establishing trust between businesses and their customers has never been more central to a well-functioning digital economy.

 

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

 

I’m immensely proud to have joined the GBG team as CEO and it’s certainly the biggest highlight of my career. I had long admired the business from the outside and have been even more impressed since joining. We have a talented team and lots of exciting opportunities to go for in the coming years.

 

If you could give your younger self some advice about how to progress in this industry, what would it be?

 

I’d say, “don’t underestimate the scale of change that can happen in a very short period of time, then make sure you’re an active participant in that change, shape it for the better.”From GBG’s perspective, there were no major surprises. The industry continues to innovate and new opportunities emerge all the time. In the broader world of data, the intensity of media, political, and public scrutiny of newer datasets and how they’re being used caught many in the industry off-guard. It’s clear that data privacy and security should no longer be treated as an afterthought.

 

What do you expect 2019 to be like for the industry?

 

Specific predictions are a fool’s errand. But broadly, we can see that current industry trends are unlikely to be disrupted. Data will continue to define global business. We constantly hear how the likes of biometrics, AI and machine learning, internet of things and blockchain are shaping the future. Data - and identity data in particular - is at the heart of these developments.

 

Talent and skills are always a challenge to find - how are you tackling this in your organisation?

 

It’s not easy finding the right people, especially when your standards are as high as ours. The absolute key point of success is to not let those standards slip. Good people are excited to work with other good people. In the past year alone, we have hired 256 people across 19 countries.

 

What aspect of data, analytics or their use are you most optimistic about and why?

 

Data and analytics can power enormous positive change in a world where fraud is reaching increasingly complex levels and bad actors get more sophisticated. I’m optimistic that we can deliver better outcomes and protect people all over the world through smarter applications of data and technology. Data and analytics technology/service provider

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