I am currently the Chief Product and Information Officer at the Financial Times and a member of the FT Board. For the last 18 months, I have also been responsible for product development across Pearson Professional. This is the line of business within Pearson focused on professional learning and information which includes the Financial Times, Pearson Vue and Pearson English.
At school I always loved maths, but never really knew what job I would end up with if I took it as a degree subject. In lower sixth, my maths teacher recommended I attend a Women in Engineering course which was residential at Nottingham University for a week. I met lots of brilliant female engineers and decided it looked like a good path to take. I went on to study Mechanical Engineering at Newcastle University. No-one in my family had been to university and whilst very supportive I think they thought it was a pretty odd choice of career.
My first job was as a graduate engineering at Fawley Refinery based in the New Forest just outside Southampton. I joined with 15 other graduates and Esso was pretty progressive with over a third of us being women.
After a couple of years I decided I wanted to come to London and looked around for jobs in the city. At the time, management consulting was the hyped job for graduates. I joined Andersen Consulting (now Accenture) and to my surprise 'management consulting' turned out to be programming and the first six weeks was spent in London and Chicago on intensive courses learning how to code in C.
I spent four and a half years with Accenture programming, testing and doing project management. After working with oil and utility clients, my last role was rolling out Oracle Financials at Warner Music. I was introduced to the media industry and loved it. After Accenture I went to ITV Digital, Broadsystem (a subsidiary of News International), BBC, BT Vision and then onto the FT, where I am now.
Whilst I have remained in the same industry sector for the last 18 years the technology has changed beyond recognition. At the beginning, technology was very much a support function, often reporting into finance and delivering financial/HR systems. Technology was seen as a cost to be delivered with increasing efficiency and allowing other support functions to be as cost effective as possible.
ITV digital (formerly ONdigital) was an early taste of how critical technology was going to be. The company started at the same time as Sky and we delivered propositions around pay TV, pay per view, email and internet on TV - well ahead of how this industry has eventually transformed. Sadly the company went into administration, but I'll always remember my time there fondly; it was the first company to really show me how technology can drive a company's vision.
Over the years, technology has gained importance with a seat at the Board and being recognised as having revenue generating potential as much as a cost centre. At media companies such as the FT, where we have gone through the first wave of digital disruption, the content is still the vital ingredient. However, it is technology which has changed reader behaviour, allowed us to engage with our readers, brought us greater understanding of who they are and created new and exciting ways to present our content.
As you can see, I fell into IT without it really being my career aspiration at the start, but given my chance again I'd definitely choose the same. Technology provides opportunities across all industries, geographies and economies. Everyday I speak to people who are doing amazing things; from delivering education in African villages to radically changing business models for companies who have worked in an established way for a couple of centuries. The possibilities are endless.
Christina Scott is the Chief Technology Officer for Pearson Professional, the line of business incorporating the FT, Pearson English and Pearson Vue. In this role she oversees Product Development for the line of business additional to her FT role.
At the FT, Christina is the Chief Product and Information Officer. She is responsible for product and technology across the FT Group reporting to John Ridding (President Pearson Professional and FT CEO). Christina oversees the delivery of technology and products that drive the FT's digital transformation, working closely with editorial and commercial colleagues and sitting on the FT board.
Christina has over 20 years experience across the media, IT and engineering industries and a track record in designing and delivering commercial and editorial services and innovations. Before joining the Financial Times in 2012, she worked in technology across a number of media companies including the BBC, News International and ITV Digital, and spent several years as a consultant at Accenture.
At the BBC, Christina was responsible for the development of its journalism sites (News, Sport and Weather) across all digital platforms, including the delivery of high profile offerings such as the general election, the World Cup and the Beijing Olympics. She then became future media and technology general manager for the children's, learning, sport, mobile and TV platforms, responsible for relocating the team to Salford.
Christina graduated from Newcastle University with a BEng in Mechanical Engineering. She has a keen interest in creating high performing teams and gained a distinction in MSc Management and Organisational Analysis from Birkbeck University in 2010.