Changing of the guard at Newcrest Mining

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Changing of the guard at Newcrest Mining
Carl Duckinson.

Former IT staff form their own consultancy.

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Newcrest Mining CIO Carl Duckinson has handed IT leadership of the gold miner to Gavin Wood, an executive he hired 18 months ago, to lead a streamlined IT team.

Duckinson was CIO for seven of his ten years at Newcrest, and has been gearing up to leave the company for some months.

Duckinson has joined fellow Newcrest exiles Tom Bendistinto (former head of IT service delivery) and Athol Marks (former manager of mining systems) to form an IT management consultancy called TACT.

The trio departed Newcrest after a series of cost-saving restructures the Melbourne-based miner has undertaken to secure its future in a market where gold prices have fallen 20 percent during the past two years. 

For the past three years, Duckinson and his team have looked to outsourcing – with an emphasis on a new generation of cloud computing services – to help deliver IT to the gold mine at a lower cost.

“I have gained so much experience in my time at Newcrest and built a lot of skills CIOs and their direct reports could use,” Duckinson told iTnews

TACT will provide consulting services to help CIOs embrace the cultural changes necessary to embrace cloud computing and mobility.

Many technology leaders, Duckinson said, are “struggling to deal with these changes quickly enough".

He thinks the fears of embracing cloud computing – valid or not – have slowed technology decision-making.

The impediments usually concern people and culture, rather than technology, he said.

“People don’t want to go to the cloud if they are conservative or feel their jobs are at risk,” he said. “IT departments have a vested interest in not going to cloud. The CIO has got one hand tied behind their back before they even start.”

Once a firm decision to pursue cloud has been made, technology leaders often “struggle to move from the skill base they’ve got to the skill base they’ll need in the future,” he added. 

TACT will initially target asset intensive industries like mining for consulting work, which in the context of current commodity prices is likely to focus on how to engineer costs out of the business.

There is a strong opportunity to cut costs quickly by moving revenue out of business-as-usual IT activities and into cloud models, he said. This enables an organisation to “turn on new capabilities without going cap in hand asking for more capital”.

Duckinson expressed confidence that his successor, armed with previous experience in architecture, strategy and applications roles, would be the right fit for the leaner Newcrest legacy left behind.

Read on for more on why former CIOs are forming advisory services…

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