I am very proud and honoured to have served the Worshipful Company of Information Technologists as its 30th Master, in the year 2016 – 2017, supported so ably by my wife Felicity and my two sons. The Company has celebrated its 25th anniversary year since the grant of Livery to us by the City of London, and our profile within the City could not be higher.
As Master I have aimed to carry out the role as an enthusiastic, energetic and caring external ambassador and company-internal chair for the Company, its Charity and our members. My mission was to explore new opportunities, seek out challenges and charities, and boldly go where we had not gone before (in person and online).
It has been a notable year for the Company and its Charity, its members and partner organisations – with a vast volume of significant pro-bono work being done by so many, to support charities and the disadvantaged across the UK.
The year was particularly special due to Alderman Dr Andrew Parmley being this year’s Lord Mayor, and Wendy Parmley (our Junior Warden) the Lady Mayoress. I wish them both our warmest thanks for the hard work, care and leadership they have given the City this year – what a fantastic Mayoralty!
As Master, some of the most memorable things include processing in robes at the Election of the Lord Mayor, within Westminster Abbey and at St Paul’s Cathedral. Walking in the Lord Mayor’s Show procession followed by lunch at Mansion House was amazing, the Buckingham Palace Garden Party and meeting many Royals this year has been very special, visiting Treloars’ School was truly humbling, being a passenger on the CITO cutter was jolly good fun, hearing Sir Dermot Turing speak at our September Business Lunch was fab, and (most importantly) numerous Panel & Committee discussions and meetings have re-affirmed to me just how astounding our Livery and members are.
The biggest event this year was undoubtedly the 25th Anniversary Banquet at Guildhall attended by 704 people, held on Star Wars day (May the Fourth). The Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress were greeted by Star Wars Storm Troopers on their arrival, while inside their guard of honour was formed by the Company of Pikemen & Musketeers of the Honourable Artillery Company. Our after dinner speaker was the Chief Exec of the UK Space Agency Graham Turnock.
One of the best things has been to form strong friendships with very many other Masters and their Consorts, Aldermen, the Sheriffs and their wives. Between 11 October 2016 and 11 October 2017 I attended 226 formal events in the year, plus additionally over 100 internal and external meetings. Felicity (as First Lady, or Consort) attended many events on her own and with me. It has been a 4-5 day a week unpaid job, across the year.
I owe a great debt of gratitude to the Hall team – they’ve been great to work with! So a very big thank you to Mike, Rachel, Rachel, Mellissa, Eleanor, Alan and Tracey, and for superb support from our Past Masters! I very much look forward to supporting Stefan in his coming year, which I am certain will be a great success.
As you may know, I’ve been inspired by science fiction (as has our industry) for many years. In my speeches this year I have included quotes and reflections from Star Trek, Star Wars, Iron Man and other movies that have helped my career.
So finally, as tonight I step down and become Deputy Master 2017 – 2018 of the Worshipful Company of Information Technologists, I paraphrase replicant Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer) from the final scene of Bladerunner:
“I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Diamonds dripping like fire on the shoulders of Masters. I watched Sheriffs glitter in the dark near the New Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to go.”