Information Governance across Europe
July 2, 2012
Meet John Leigh our new Managing Director
An exclusive interview with the new Managing Director of the DLM Forum on his first day in the office
John, this is your first day on the job, but many of our members will not get to meet you in person until the next members' meeting. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself, your background and your interests?
It’s quite hard to encapsulate a long career in a few words, but here goes. I’m from Manchester and still live there. I’ve worked for more than 30 years in the ICT and business consulting industry. I have a solid technical background and I’ve done lots of complex projects. Latterly I’ve been involved in different forms of ICT research. I also ran a large membership organisation, quite like the DLM Forum Foundation. My interests are limited only by the time available! My first love is motorcycling. Close behind that come hill walking and squash. I’m a keen student of Roman military history and tactics. I am writing a science fiction novel – but to be fair, I’ve been doing that for a long time. I suspect it might never be finished.
This is the first time the DLM Forum has taken on a managing director. You will be making history and treading new ground. What attracted you to the position?
I’ve run a membership organisation before and enjoyed it. It’s a fantastic feeling to run a conference or forum successfully and meet members who got real value from your efforts. Members have diverse interests, varying needs and changing requirements. You need to listen and adapt. It’s fascinating work. That’s what appealed to me.
As the first managing director you will naturally face some hurdles establishing relationships and getting things moving. The DLM Forum Executive Committee will also have to adapt to a changed role. What are your priorities for the first six to twelve months?
The Executive have given me a clear brief about their objectives. I will start out by translating those objectives into actions. At the same time, I’ll talk to members, suppliers and all other stakeholders. We all want the Foundation to grow and prosper, so I’ll be trying to bring in some new members. There will be the day to day job of helping members with their queries. I’ll be looking at ways of gaining some funding for conferences and research projects on behalf of the membership. Most importantly, I have some high-quality events to arrange. There is certainly enough to do.
The DLM Forum is a broad organisation that includes representatives from many different parts of the industry and from both private and public sectors. That has always been part of its unique appeal. However, the membership has remained fairly static over the last few years. How will you introduce growth and change while ensuring that the needs of the long term members, many of them founding members, are also met?
Long term loyal members are the bedrock of any association. Meeting their needs is a priority. The way to achieve growth is to agree on a set of topics, events and activities that will stimulate, fascinate and benefit the existing members whilst attracting new ones. There are MoReq2010, the broad sweep of the Information Governance topic and the current confusion about records management across Europe. All of these factors provide a rich seam of topics. Where else can anyone go to get impartial, clear insights? We will provide that forum. Existing members will hopefully love it and new members will want to join.
The organisation has achieved some notable milestones, including the publication of MoReq2010 last year, has recently relaunched the MoReq Governance Board and adopted a new vision based around Information Governance. There are some good things to build on. What do you think will be the significant highlights of the next few years under your stewardship?
My goal is for the Foundation to create and lead a pan-European conversation about Information Governance with MoReq2010 as the core solution. That conversation should include, embrace and engage the existing membership as well as commercial organisations, regulatory bodies, NGO’s, governments at central, regional and local levels. The highlights will be conferences whose contents move the debate forward.
Finally, the DLM Forum is a pan-European organisation and every country in Europe is facing challenging times at the moment. We know that you are already very experienced with managing international organisations in Europe and we would like to extend to you a hearty welcome. Do you have a key message that you would like to communicate with our members on your first day?
Yes. Please tell the members that I am very proud and pleased to be here. I will be speaking to them soon. I will meet them face to face at meetings and conferences. And most importantly, I want to hear their views.
John, thank you for your time.
Many thanks, it’s a great to be here.