Day in the Life: Nigel Underwood, DHL Logistics

Since Nigel Underwood has been in post as CIO of worldwide courier service DHL, his feet have barely touched the ground.

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DHL operates in 220 countries. Underwood had the task of merging its three component parts - Deutsche Post, DHL and Excel – into one. The vast integration exercise started 18 months ago and is due to complete in December. But happily, Underwood is a guy who thrives on meeting and talking to people.

Nigel Underwood

CIO of DHL Logistics
Size of IT department: more than 2,200 Global IT staff
Size of IT budget: undisclosed

What’s the day job?

Leading and supporting IT delivery and innovation in order to enable change and achieve goals. In a company on the scale of Now the three business units sit under the DHL brand. Being in my office is a bit of a rarity as the job is all about getting out and about, meeting and influencing customer, technology partners and colleagues. Today I’m at my desk but next week I’m in Asia and Japan. The tin and wire part of the job is part of the remit but is managed and under control so I don’t have to worry that at all on a day-to-day basis.

How did you start out in IT?

I’m a maths graduate by background and did some computing options. I didn’t want to get into programming per se – I saw it as more of a thing to support the business. As a student, I did a job for an SMB and Andersen Consulting (now Accenture) was on site. I realised the process and organisational side of things appealed more.

What’s the best thing about your job?

Interacting with people. Whether it’s coaching business leaders or talking to key IT people, I really enjoy the diversity and variety of these conversations. Assembling a team that comes from such arrange of background cultures. They don’t come a lot bigger than DHL – basically we are located wherever there is an airport, a seaport, a warehouse - and electricity, of course!

What’s the worst?

It’s a bit frustrating when people don’t get it – they think I’m the guy who mends the computer or fixes the overhead projector. They really don’t understand or associate the implications of technology. Technology is just a cast really –and it’s frustrating when people don’t get it.

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