Appointment of the Chief Information Officer


Thank you for your interest in Durham University and the appointment of our next Chief Information Officer.

Durham is one of the most distinctive universities in the world, a globally outstanding centre of teaching and research excellence, a collegiate community of exceptional and committed people, in a unique and historic setting.

As a leading University, with an ambitious plan for growth and excellence, it is vitally important that we underpin our research and engagement, education, wider student experience, organisational effectiveness, and global outreach by the appropriate use of digital technology. Our digital strategy and significant and ongoing investment programme will ensure we become a leading University offering a digital environment that enables and empowers people towards the extraordinary.

With the retirement of our current CIO, John Hemingway, we are now looking to appoint an inspiring new leader who will build on the excellent foundations and work delivered by the Computer and Information Services team in recent years and, working across the University and College community, forge an ambitious path as we work towards a bright, digital future.

As we take our great University forward towards its 200th anniversary in 2032, I am delighted that you have shown an interest in the role at this important time of our development.  

Stephen Willis
Chief Financial Officer

Key Numbers

The University

We are a high-performing Russell Group university and believe that inspiring our staff and students to do outstanding things at Durham enables them to do outstanding things in the world.

We conduct boundary-breaking research which improves lives across the world. We challenge our students and value a Wider Student Experience that fosters participation and leadership at Durham and beyond. Our global alumni network – showing leadership in all forms of industry and human endeavour around the world – is deeply committed to the University’s advancement.

As we continue to grow, we attract students and staff from a diversity of geographies and backgrounds to our historic part of the world. We contribute to the success of the proud city, county and community that is Durham itself.

Our purpose
We improve lives and address world challenges to create value for society, the economy and the natural environment through:
• Boundary-breaking research;
• Providing a challenging education supported by a distinctive College environment and a Wider Student Experience to produce graduates capable of fulfilling their potential;
• Being globally networked while rooted in the local area.

Vision and strategic goals
Our University Strategy 2017-2027 ensures that Durham is better defined thematically and geographically and more visible globally, focused on being world-leading in all of our core areas and developing a stronger and sustainable business model. We aim to be an influential voice in national and international affairs and be widely recognised for our ability to combine innovation and leadership with a strong sense of community and heritage.

Overarching aims
To achieve our vision for 2027, we will do these three things:
• Produce world-leading and world-changing research across all core academic units;
• Deliver an education that is challenging, enabling, research-led and transformative;
• Provide our students with a wider experience that is as good as any in the world, through our Colleges, Durham Students’ Union and Experience Durham.

We are also committed to being an active and positive presence for our community throughout their lives: we work hard to establish connections that bring together past, present and prospective members. We extend these networks of engagement and support across the local communities in Durham, in the process empowering and learning from a wide range of external stakeholders.


CIS & Digital

Computing and Information Services is the department responsible for the provision and maintenance of the University’s information technology services to support teaching, learning, research and administrative activities at Durham University. The department comprises IT staff based out in departments and faculties across the University as well as in central locations.

Digital Strategy


As a leading global University, with ambitious future plans, it is vitally important that we underpin our work and study with the appropriate digital tools and technology.

We need to ensure IT is planned for, prioritised and delivered against University objectives.

We are proud to launch our Digital Strategy that will enable us to be “A leading University offering a digital environment that enables and empowers people towards the extraordinary”.


Equality, Diversity & Inclusion

We are proud to be an inclusive environment which attracts staff and students from all over the world and from a diverse range of backgrounds, and continually strive to create a culture in which everyone in our community is able to achieve their full potential.

In recent years, Durham has embarked on a step change in our approach to EDI, over-hauling a wide range of our processes – from student admissions to staff recruitment, from pay and reward to progression and promotion – whilst also working hard across all that we do to improve behaviours so as to enhance the lived-experience of all of our staff and students.

We want our workforce to reflect the diversity of our staff and students from the regional, national and international communities that we serve.

The role

Chief Information Officer

Job reference:

Title: Chief Information Officer (CIO)
Reporting to: Chief Financial Officer
Contract Type: Permanent, Full Time
Salary: Competitive Salary

The Department of Computing and Information Services

As part of our ongoing commitment to delivering excellence across the board, the University has exciting plans many of which are captured in the University Strategy 2017-2027. We will actively pursue improving the size, shape and mission of the University by way of our 3 strategic goals:

  1. To deliver world-leading and world-changing research across all core academic departments and institutes;
  2. To deliver education that is challenging, enabling, research-led and transformative;
  3. To deliver, through our Colleges, Durham Students’ Union and Experience Durham, a wider student experience as good as any in the world.

Technology is a key enabler to ensure that the University can achieve its strategic objectives; notably in supporting the University’s digitalised environment with a forward thinking and cohesive approach. We recognise that we will need to continue to make significant changes across our Information Services, in both the way we work and the systems we need to support our staff and students.

Information technology continues to be a priority within the University. Significant further investments are to be made to ensure that Durham is recognised leader in IT provision and digital learning systems. Substantial progress has been made over the last 5 years and the progress is underpinned by the Digital Strategy, which is supported with significant investment.

The University has also recognised the need to respond to the developing and evolving Cyber Security threats and has in place a Cyber Security strategy. Much of the work over the last three years has been focussed on the core infrastructure, key institutional applications, information and intelligence and innovation in important areas. Alongside this, Computing and Information Services (CIS) has continued to develop, leading work to recognise and strengthen the dispersed delivery of IT services that exists within the University.

The appointment of the new CIO comes at an exciting and pivotal time for IT provision in the University. The successful candidate will be a key enabler in delivering the new dispersed operating model for the University, as well as helping ensure business resilience and continuity during a time of significant change and investment, to realise the University’s ambitious strategy.

The CIO, in addition to delivering the relevant components and building blocks of the University strategy, will need to be an outstanding leader, committed to excellence, innovation and making a difference in an evolving institution in a demanding sector. They will ensure transformational delivery with a keen emphasis on demonstrating value and delivering effective and efficient services, while engaging with, and supporting, a wide range of stakeholders and users.

Purpose of Role

As a world leading University, the quality of Durham’s information services and systems must be commensurate with its standing. The CIO will be responsible for implementing and evolving the Digital Strategy and for leading and delivering a CIS provision which supports and enables delivery of the University’s Strategy 2017-2027.

This individual will see technology as a means to an end and will ensure that the IT infrastructure and systems underpin the University in meeting its ambitions, and the needs of users, by supporting teaching, research, learning and administration. The CIO will deliver continuous improvement on service excellence alongside efficiency and effectiveness, with proactive engagement with key stakeholders, always keeping in mind the need for resilience, future proofing and value for money (VFM).

Key Responsibilities:

  • Leading the implementation of the Digital Strategy (evolving and developing where necessary) that is transformational in its ambition and supports the delivery of the University’s Strategy.
  • Ensuring that investment in the existing Information Technology estate and new developments optimise opportunities for IT development and VFM, focussing on a partner and service user perspective.
  • Leading the on-going development of both IT and Management Information capabilities within the University to ensure high performing teams are in place to deliver effective and efficient services and support users.
  • Deliver continuous improvement in service with focus on effectiveness and efficiency within a fast paced and transformational environment.
  • Deliver a series of complex change programmes and projects whilst ensuring that the systems in place are future proofed.
  • Maintaining a constant review of opportunities for the more effective delivery of IT services including developing strategic supplier partnerships.
  • Holding overall responsibility for the technical architecture of an integrated, secure, vendor agnostic platform which supports the University business structure and processes.
  • Optimising the total cost of ownership of the technology estate recognising that value for money is paramount.
  • Establish and influence adherence to robust information security, systems and policies.
  • Articulating, coordinating and implementing appropriate governance and risk management processes in line with industry best practice. In addition, ensuring that there is a clear governance and that IT risks are managed throughout the University, not just in the IT department.
  • Academic and researcher stakeholder liaison, including managing relationships and risks in a dispersed university environment.
  • Close working with estates and construction teams to ensure that IT is appropriately embedded and costed in all new building and refurbishment projects.
  • Ensuring the University’s cyber defences are proportionate to the changing cyber security threat landscape.
  • Consulting widely with the University on its needs and aspirations and ensuring that the CIS operating model is appropriate and effective.
  • Representing IT developments and initiatives at University governance committees, whilst also supporting the general decision making of the university as a member of the University Executive Committee (UEC).

Person Specification

The position of Chief Information Officer calls for a dynamic and experienced IT professional with excellent general management, communication and leadership skills. The successful candidate will be able to build credibility and trust across the University (and beyond) through a collaborative approach, by bringing technical and commercial expertise, as well as a future- orientated perspective on technology, systems and infrastructure.

It is envisaged that candidates will come from a wide range of sectors. Irrespective of professional background, you will have the ability to deploy transferable skills and a willingness to learn and adapt whilst collaboratively leading change and innovation.

Essential Criteria Upon Appointment


  • Educated to degree level or equivalent.


  • Extensive experience of leading, large, cross-functional teams and/or enterprise-wide programs, effectively influencing senior-level management and key stakeholders within complex contexts.
  • Demonstrable experience in IT strategic planning, organisation design and development, with proven ability to implement key initiatives to accomplish strategic objectives.
  • Proven experience or demonstrable capability in leading IT transformational initiatives in large complex and dynamic environments, utilising digital opportunities to innovate business models and enable the digitalisation of the organisation.
  • Considerable experience of successfully presenting strategy and implementation reports at main board level and converting that strategy into transformational delivery with keen emphasis on demonstrating value for money.
  • Management of major programmes and projects with an organisation wide impact and complex development and implementation plans.
  • Experience of budget planning and financial management of £multi- million budgets.
  • Extensive vendor/third party negotiation and management experience.
  • Leadership and development of large, professional teams including coaching key individuals and ensuring that there are effective career paths and development programmes in place.
  • Demonstrable leadership and management at times of change.
  • Professional credibility based on a strong technical background that includes software development, infrastructure services and architecture.
  • Knowledge of emerging technologies and their value adding impact on the Higher Education sector including related to; education, research and the wider student experience.

Personal Skills and Characteristics:

  • Exceptional leadership skills, with the ability to develop and communicate the Digital Strategy and vision in a way which inspires and motivates staff at all levels and aligns to the University’s strategy.
  • Excellent people management skills with the ability to lead, coach, develop and engage teams reporting directly and indirectly.
  • Highly effective influencing and negotiation skills, resulting in productive working relationships with senior colleagues.
  • Excellent analytical, strategic conceptual thinking, strategic planning and execution skills.
  • Ability to identify and leverage internal and external resources to enhance capabilities that drive the University’s digital strategy.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills, including the ability to tailor his/her approach and to explain IT concepts and technologies to diverse audiences in understandable ways.
  • Ability to drive organisational change and build capabilities that effectively balance the needs between continuously exploiting capabilities to optimise operational efficiency and delivering innovative and agile IT solutions to enable the University to explore digital opportunities while ensuring value for money.
  • Significant impact with excellent relationship building skills across the University and with a wide range of external and internal stakeholders.
  • Commercially astute and financially literate strategic thinker who is able to contribute at a senior level while being decisive and pragmatic.
  • Able to work collaboratively while providing constructive challenge and holding senior colleagues to account.
  • Highly self-motivated and results oriented with an ability to work proactively and efficiently in a fast-changing environment, sometimes under pressure and managing conflicting priorities.


The post is offered on a full time, permanent basis.

The salary will be commensurate with the seniority of the post and agreed with the successful candidate.

The University offers 30 working days holiday plus customary and statutory days. Membership of the Universities Superannuation Scheme is available.

How to Apply

The appointment of the Chief Information Officer will be determined by a Selection Panel. A search exercise is being undertaken by Anderson Quigley, who will support the Selection Panel to identify the widest possible field of qualified candidates and assist in their assessment.

The University would welcome applications from candidates with the qualifications and experience to undertake this role. We are committed to being a fully inclusive and diverse community. We seek and encourage applications for this role from the broadest range of society, including all under-represented groups.

Should you wish to discuss this role in strict confidence, please contact Sam Bryan-Ross on +44(0)7510 384 713; or  Ed Pritchard on +44(0)7980 817 927;

The closing date for applications is noon on Monday 12 September 2022.

Applications should consist of:

  • A full CV.
  • A covering letter (maximum of 3 pages) setting out your interest in the role and details of how you match the experience section of the person specification.
  • Please include current salary details and the names and addresses of two referees. Referees will not be approached until the final stages and not without prior permission from candidates.
  • Please complete the following online equal opportunities monitoring form

Completed applications should be uploaded at using the reference AQ1513.