Power 50 in Data

The growing influence of customer insight and database marketing in client business strategies has propelled data practitioners, clients and suppliers into the spotlight. Noelle McElhatton gives the low-down on the people to know in data.

Richard Thomas

Information commissioner, Information Commissioner's Office

His job is to police compliance with the growing body of laws that govern what direct marketers can and cannot do with data. This fact makes Richard Thomas the most powerful person in the world of data.

Thomas, the former director of public policy at law firm Clifford Chance, has had a challenging start to his role as Information Commissioner, a job he took up in December 2003. Yet he has tackled these challenges with aplomb.

Earlier this year there was negative publicity after claims that the Data Protection Act (DPA) created such confusion that it had a hand in the Soham murders, as well as in the deaths of two pensioners, who died after their gas supply was cut off.

Thomas bullishly took on the critics, hitting the media trail to explain the role of the DPA. Last July he unveiled the ICO's 'Make Data Protection Simpler' project, with a mission to simplify the data protection notification process and to make more robust use of ICO powers.

Guidance on the DPA now has less jargon and is more digestible.

To help him publicise and enforce the burgeoning body of legislation under his aegis - the Privacy & Electronic Communications Act, the Data Protection Act 1998 and soon the Freedom of Information Act - Thomas has unveiled a three-year plan for the ICO which includes expanding his office to 300 people. A 'case reception unit' will also be launched to handle complaints in the first instance.

Another priority for Thomas is to gain greater enforcement powers from the Government for the ICO, so that it can take law-breakers to court. To this end he is in talks with the Department of Trade & Industry regarding new injunctive powers. In the meantime, Thomas has called

on the industry to blow the whistle on rogue text messagers who flout the new electronic communications law.

What differentiates Thomas from his predecessor, Elizabeth France, is that he came to the job with a working knowledge of DM, having sat on the Direct Marketing Authority for many years.

"What's good about Richard is that he knows the industry very well," says James Kelly, managing director of the Direct Marketing Association.

"But while he's a friend of the industry, he's no patsy. Richard has a refreshing view to implementing data protection. He's responsible, scrupulously fair and willing to listen to the industry's viewpoint."

From next year Thomas will be responsible for enforcing

the Freedom of Information Act, which should raise his profile even higher.

Clive Humby and Edwina Dunn

Chairman, dunnhumby;

CEO, dunnhumby

It's hard not to eulogise when talking about the dunnhumby duo. Very few of our Power 50 attract the epithet 'guru', but industry consensus is that Humby and Dunn have earned it.

We thought it invidious to separate them in the Power 50, not because they are married but because they are a formidable double act. That said, they have carved very separate roles for themselves in the development of dunnhumby. "Clive's the stato, analytical one, while Edwina's taken on the client-facing, strategic role," says one former colleague.

Humby met Dunn while both worked at CACI in the 1980s. The pair left in 1989 to set up dunnhumby in their back bedroom - a brave move given that both had senior, well-paid positions at CACI.

The making of dunnhumby came in 1994 when a nervous Clive Humby did a 30-minute presentation to the Tesco board that proved how data analytics could benefit the retailer. Tesco chairman Sir Ian MacLaurin told Humby: "What scares me about this is that you know more about my customers after three months than I know in 30 years."

The rest is history, but there was no underestimating the task at the outset. Humby and Dunn built a team of analysts to process and analyse Tesco's huge repository of customer data.

Then came the real challenge - extracting insights that could drive Tesco's whole business.

Humby developed methods for building 'Tesco Lifestyles', a segmentation for use company-wide to describe customers based on what items they buy.

This was a massive technical challenge given the volume of data and the need to codify more than 40,000 product lines. A groundbreaking scheme for sharing data with manufacturers was launched in 2002.

That same year the supermarket chain acted on marketing director Tim Mason's observation that dunnhumby had become "Tesco's outsourced marketing department" and bought a controlling interest.

What's next for the dynamic duo? Humby balances his analytical development work with academic roles as Visiting Professor at Northwestern and Cranfield Universities.

"Clive's passion for understanding the customer through their behaviours is as fresh today as it was when we started this journey together 10 years ago," says Richard Brasher, commercial & trading director at Tesco.

Dunn, meanwhile, is replicating the Tesco model with US retailer Kroger Co - a US dunnhumby now has 70 staff - and more recently in Australia for the retailer Coles Myer.

Would Dunn and Humby have become famous without Tesco? It's a moot point but at the same time it's worth pointing out their other clients

such as BMW, House of Fraser, Centrica, Lever Fabergé and BSkyB.

A joint venture with market research agency BMRB resulted in First T, a service linking customer databases with TGI, the largest behavioural survey in the UK. Long-standing clients of this include British Gas, Barclaycard, eBay and BSkyB.

The industry is in no doubt about their value to the world of data. "Clive and Edwina have transformed the face of marketing," says Tony Coad, chairman of CCB. "They sold the idea of Clubcard analytics to Tesco and in doing so made database marketing sexy."

Simon Uwins

UK marketing director, Tesco

Few client organisations revolve around customer data quite like Tesco. The role that Clubcard insights have played in the retailer's success story is beyond doubt.

Customer insight now drives every business decision, from store location to stock control, and is regularly acknowledged by board members as a key reason why Tesco is now the top UK grocery retailer.

But whom should we credit with the continued rise of data-based insights within Tesco?

Those suppliers who know the internal workings of Tesco point to Simon Uwins, a long-term Tesco marketer who started his career in market research at ACNielsen.

While he doesn't pretend to understand the minutiae of database marketing, Uwins is data-literate enough to be Tesco's representative on the dunnhumby board, ensuring the consultancy has its data insights listened to and acted upon.

Uwins takes a broad view of Tesco's data resources, which include EPOS, Clubcard behavioural data, geographical site research, feedback from Tesco's call centres and attitudinal market research.

"It's Simon's job to harness these to tackle Tesco's issues," says Clive Humby, chairman of dunnhumby. No moves on pricing, store ranging and product development are made by Tesco without recourse to data insights.

The customer data service created in 2002 for Tesco's manufacturers gave the retailer a significant lever in managing its suppliers. It happened on Uwin's watch, and was later copied by Sainsbury's.

As this guide went to press, a new head of Tesco Clubcard was due to start. Andrew Mann, formerly of British Gas, will no doubt want to put his own stamp on the scheme. The data culture fostered by Uwins will be a huge encouragement.

David Coupe

Managing director, international marketing services, Experian

Coupe wields heavy clout in combining his day job as head of leading data services supplier Experian Marketing Services with the most high-profile role in the direct marketing industry - chairmanship of the Direct Marketing Association (DMA).

Experian started life as a credit bureau and its parent is a conglomerate (retail giant GUS). Which is why the big issues for Coupe have been raising the company's profile as a direct marketing services provider and, of course, growing its business.

This has been Coupe's mission since he became MD of the company's marketing services division in 1992. He has expanded Experian's product set beyond its core bureau services and lifestyle

data file National Canvasse. The company's portfolio now includes suppression, online services and data integration technology.

"Before David took over, Experian used to be known as the Ministry of Lists," says one observer.

"He's made Experian so much more dynamic."

The latest organisation to receive a dose of Coupe energy is the DMA. He heads the DMA's Planet Ark working party, advocating better use of data to reduce mail waste and to improve the industry's image.

Outside of work, motorbikes and mountains are Coupe's twin passions. Back at the Experian ranch, all eyes are on what Coupe & Co do now to combat arch-rival Acxiom's rapid, acquisitive expansion in Europe. True, Experian has subsidiaries in Spain, Holland, France and Italy, but Coupe will need to devote his energy and guile to plugging any gaps.

Richard Roche

Head of multi-channel retail and media markets, Royal Mail

Without the files that Royal Mail controls, direct marketing simply couldn't happen. For many years the postal services operator has provided data accuracy tools PAF and NCOA for use in data-driven marketing.

To exploit these data resources more commercially, Royal Mail hired former Alliance & Leicester head of marketing Richard Roche as its first director of data development and information services in 2000.

Roche's style may be low key, but under his direction Royal Mail has become an aggressive player in the data market. In 2000 it took a highly controversial stake in lifestyle data provider The Postal Preference Service.

Since then the postal services operator has launched proprietary data products such as the Universal Suppression Service and the Business Changes File.

Roche is a survivor. He has emerged intact from various Royal Mail corporate restructures and retains responsibility for data development in his newer role as head of multi-channel retail and media markets.

A regular on the industry circuit, Roche bangs the drum on behalf of Royal Mail in its drive to improve standards in address management and data quality.

Koos Berkhout

Head of the business insight unit (BIU), Loyalty Management UK (LMUK)/Nectar

It's early days for the UK's biggest loyalty programme but make no mistake, Netherlands-born Berkhout has a high-profile, critical role in ensuring its success.

He's charged with extracting insights from the Nectar Marketing Database, a combination of the databases of Nectar's 15 current sponsors, including Sainsbury's, BP and Debenhams. The scheme claims to have transactional data from more than half of UK households.

Cut Berkhout in half and you'll find the words 'loyalty card' written right through him. He has held various analyst roles in loyalty operations, helping to launch the Dutch Air Miles programme in the 1990s.

He joined LMUK, owners and operators of Nectar, in 2001 and built a large in-house team of 25 analysts in BIU to serve up acquisition, retention and cross-selling opportunities for the sponsor companies.

The unit's first task was to develop the core Nectar segmentation along such variables as customer value, household composition and cross-shopping behaviour.

Using this segmentation, LMUK conducts solus mailings on behalf of the sponsor companies, as well as the quarterly Points Update Mailing which makes offers to customers based on their segmentation profile.

LMUK claims response rates of up to 20 per cent from these activities.

Berkhout has done his bit to promote data insights internally, setting up a business intelligence intranet for employees.

Prospecting in Berkhout's book means influencing Nectar's choice of affinity partners, to boost the card's customer base. To that end, Nectar's sponsor base has grown from four at launch in 2001 to 15 today, to include such brands as car rental firm Hertz and kitchen seller Magnet.

"If Nectar fails, nothing will ever compete with Tesco's Clubcard," says Huw Davis, European managing director of EHS Brann Discovery. "But if Berkhout gets his bit right, he'll be a hero."

No pressure, then, Koos.

Huw Davis

European managing director,

EHS Brann Discovery

Davis combines a huge reputation as an industry trainer with his successful track record as a practitioner. He has trained countless marketers and direct marketers in the intricacies of statistics and modelling, a contribution acknowledged when the Institute of Direct Marketing (IDM) made him the 2004 'Educator of the Year'.

"Huw's a superb trainer as well as an excellent practitioner," says Professor Derek Holder, managing director of the IDM.

His day jobs have included being part of Abbey National's start-up direct marketing department back in the 1980s, where he developed the then building society's data strategy and designed its database.

After a stint at BUPA, Davis set up one of the first analytical consultancies, Data by Design, in 1989. His intention to put data on marketers' desks, before the hardware had the capacity to handle the necessary volumes, was ahead of its time.

When the consultancy was bought by Experian, Davis moved to OgilvyOne as managing director of the agency's data consulting division.

In his current job as head of EHS Brann Discovery, Davis has redirected the company to focus on analytics and insights on such accounts as Diageo. Major markets in Europe and Asia Pacific beckon, where Davis is attempting to export the EHS Brann Discovery model.

Tim Lewis

Director of credit and debit cards,

Royal Bank of Scotland

In the world of credit card carpet-bomb mail campaigns, Tim Lewis stands out as a beacon of common sense. It's no surprise, then, to find that Lewis is one of the few data practitioners in our Power 50 to have risen to a senior management position within a client company.

Working alongside the RBS analysis team, Lewis has spent nine years at the bank, building bridges between marketing and data analysis.

Huw Davis, the IDM's lecturer in data modelling and statistics, witnessed the effect of this first hand. At an internal IDM course for RBS staff, Davis was impressed when card marketers, marketing managers and analysts all turned up. Says Davis: "That's down to Tim. He's created that culture."

Lewis' pedigree in financial services, and credit cards in particular, is impressive. Having started his career at American Express, he moved to First Direct to run database marketing for two years.

A client services role on the supply side at Printronic was followed by a stint at Chase Manhattan bank where he helped launch its credit card business.

As this guide went to press, talk was that Lewis would move on from RBS. Here's hoping his cultural influence will survive after him.

Caroline Kimber

Vice president, CACI

Caroline Kimber combines great charm with razor-sharp data abilities. She likes nothing better than to sink her teeth into complex product innovations. Her list of credits includes heading CACI's creation of LifestylesUK, the first-ever individual level geo-lifestyle product, and eTypes, the award-winning internet segmentation tool.

Kimber is "the most experienced senior practitioner in consumer data supply today", according to Proximity London's Marc O'Regan, a CACI client. O'Regan points to "Caroline's imaginative data solutions which have allowed our clients to target large universes of profitable prospects, producing excellent business results for them".

The longest-serving member of the DMA's Data Council, Kimber was elected vice chair earlier this year in recognition of this and her contribution to industry training.

Current challenges for Kimber include a project to map attitudinal segments created by ad agencies onto existing customer databases to determine appropriate customer contact strategies.

As this guide went to press, Kimber announced her intention to quit CACI and become a consultant, to allow more time for her young children. On her present form, however, Kimber may find the queue of admiring clients means she's busier than ever.

Ronnie Bagdonavicius

UK data strategy manager,

MBNA Europe Bank

For the vast amounts of data they consume, the large financial service companies and their data buyers are major power brokers in data land. Bagdonavicius works as data buyer for the UK's carpet bomber-in-chief, MBNA Europe Bank, and compounds this fact by having an unpronounceable surname.

Ronnie Bagdonavicius, affectionately known to the industry as 'Ronnie B', looks after customer acquisition for MBNA as it assaults the UK market with its cards, loans and more recently, insurance products. Ronnie B's proud boast is that the MBNA prospect database has "pretty much every opted-in adult in the UK", keeping the bank in first place on the ladder of direct mail spenders in the UK, according to research by Thomson Intermedia.

With stints at Equifax and Bellman Data, where he helped produce a marketable version of the Electoral Roll, Ronnie B's background is firmly in data sales. He ran his own consultancy for five years until 2002, when his client MBNA asked him to take on an internal role.

Described by suppliers as a "real character", Ronnie B is pre-occupied with getting the best rate for the copious volumes of data that MBNA buys and then rationalising this data with that from affinity partners, such as Homebase, RAC and Ryanair. He has helped promote a 'one prospect view' internally and kept acquisition at the heart of MBNA's marketing strategy.

Ronnie B is not ashamed of having held what he describes as "the shortest-ever full-time position" at BDMS working for John Dobson, now EuroDirect's MD. "I stayed a full 24 hours," says Ronnie B. The pair laugh about it now.

Matt Denman

Prospect manager, Capital One

Denman joined Capital One four years ago as manager of its acquisition campaigns. Since then he has grown the prospect data group to ten people and now runs the bank's data acquisition and prospecting programmes, as well as its application decision systems.

And what a lot of prospecting Capital One does. Denman's team loads between 50-150 million records every month, activity that helped make Capital One the third-largest mailer in the UK in 2003.

Denman admits that his analysts have a reputation for being data junkies, but points to the company's 'Information Based Strategy' which includes testing data so that the relevant product is offered to the right customer or prospect.

His current issues are to get best value from the bank's existing data assets and to identify new data opportunities. "It's no longer possible to rely on the core products of large data providers to deliver success," he says. In the meantime Denman has become the latest recruit to the DMA board.

Prior to joining Capital One Denman worked in oil exploration, evaluating the potential of new reservoirs. The parallels with his current role in data are not lost on him.

Professor Merlin Stone

IBM Business Research Leader

IBM Professor of Marketing, Bristol University

Director, NowellStone

No data player has fingers in quite so many pies as Stone. He's consultant to and influencer of some of the UK's biggest users of customer data - British Airways, Norwich Union, BT and Barclays, to name a few.

As such, Stone's academic title belies the

practical nature of his advice on a variety of CRMstrategies and implementations.

Suppliers such as IBM, Siebel and Epiphany also rely on him to help them implement CRM systems on behalf of their clients. One pet project of Stone's has been his work on QCi's CMAT service, a tool that has helped companies such as HSBC to benchmark their CRM systems against competitors.

One of the 'big picture' thinkers operating in data, Stone is currently heading a project with the Market Research Society and other marketing institutions to develop a consolidated body of customer insight thinking and publications. "A genuine thought leader," says one Stone admirer.

Dawn Orr

Data group leader, Acxiom

At the helm of Acxiom's data operations in Europe, Orr is one the most senior and popular figures in supplier management. She has a strong data sales pedigree after stints in ICD (where she was sales director at the tender age of 25) and Claritas UK.

Orr is said to have run tight ships as managing director of Consodata UK and before that at online specialist Naviant Europe. She currently juggles her role as mother of two young children with her rapid ascendancy in the Acxiom corporation.

But coping with the antics of small children are as nothing compared with the unenviable task of integrating the data products of Acxiom's recent European acquisitions: Consodata, Claritas and Acxiom UK.

Although early days in the process, her clients believe she's well up to it. Martin Scicluna, head of customer analytics at BT, hails Orr's "industry knowledge, energy and enthusiasm". Danny Allen, head of strategy and planning at RWE Npower, concurs: "Dawn has a level of business knowledge that is rare in the data industry."

Stephen Boyle

Database manager, Reader's Digest Association

Reader's Digest is a true stalwart of direct marketing techniques and remains one of the top 20 biggest mailers in the UK. Managing its UK database of five million customers and former customers, as well as a team of six in-house analysts, is the softly-spoken Stephen Boyle.

Current items in Boyle's in-tray include steering the company's switch from the last full Electoral Roll to the ER replacement tools, ensuring there is no drop in response. Another task is to increase the publisher's use of the online channel.

Boyle, a statistician by training, says the company has become "far more aggressive" in its search for alternative data sources since the advent of the edited ER, getting more involved in list swaps and data pools.

One data vendor says: "Stephen leads a strong in-house analytical capability and not many client companies can claim that. Some clients let us do all the modelling work, but under Boyle's leadership Reader's Digest does it all itself."

Torsten Schuppe

Head of strategic marketing, Book Club Associates (BCA)

The UK book club subsidiary of German publishing giant Bertelsmann was the fifth-largest mailer in the UK in 2003, an increase of six per cent on 2002. Offers from its 20 different book clubs are communicated to customers, prospects and lapsed customers.

There are those who would cast BCA as a DM dinosaur, yet the mail order book club is gradually integrating direct mail with the telephone and the internet. BCA launched online in 1999, and an increasing proportion of BCA's UK membership is recruited via the internet.

Leading BCA's channel management is the book club's former head of interactive and recently promoted head of strategic marketing, Torsten Schuppe. All CRM, media buying, interactive and database marketing activities at BCA now report to Schuppe.

In the face of challenges from the likes of Amazon, Schuppe has busied himself with getting the company's contact strategies right, both through data analysis and by asking customers to choose their preferred channel.

He has overseen the creation of a complex 'cube' segmentation, grouping BCA's two million customers from its various book clubs according to existing and future profitability to help drive marketing. Next on Schuppe's list is to roll out the segmentation to BCA's call centre, to enable more targeted cross-selling.

Oliver White

Head of CRM, British Gas

Those we polled for our Power 50 say it is difficult to pick a single data chief within British Gas (BG), but agree that White is the closest thing to it.

One year after joining BG, White commands a gargantuan database of more than 16 million households to whom the company sells its range of services.

Late last year BG announced a £400 million investment in new data and call-handling systems, a move that marked a new direct marketing strategy away from blanket mailings.

The database was split into 12 segments, and since then observers say the company has made big strides in targeting. In this, BG is helped by Carat, its data and media planning agency together with DM agencies WWAV Rapp Collins and EHS Brann.

Profiling and modelling have become a prerequisite for its direct mail campaigns, the volume of which grew by 19 per cent in 2003, according to Thomson Intermedia. BG's media buying is guided by a TGI-type media consumption survey, which Carat overlays onto the BG customer database.

According to James Northway, data planning director at Carat, White "rolls up his sleeves and sorts out business needs first, without getting hung up on the methodology". Everything that White does, Northway says, is business driven.

John Wallinger

Data planning director, Craik Jones Watson Mitchell Voelkel

Irreverent is one way of describing Wallinger, the highest ranked planner in the Power 50. Asked recently what advice he'd give to younger data planners, his semi-serious answer was: "join a circus".

Wallinger's career may not have been a high-wire act, but it has been nomadic nonetheless. His experience is wide, ranging from database design to list buying to integration with digital media.

He learned the rudiments of the database job at Rank Xerox. At computer bureau Miller-Starr, Wallinger developed an analysis function and an early version of customer insight. As database director at Ogilvy & Mather Direct, his clients included American Express and BT.

Having set up the planning function at Craik Jones, Wallinger and his team injected data analysis into the agency's projects for Orange, Virgin Trains and Diageo, and the award-winning work for Land Rover and ATOC. More recently Wallinger has worked with Boots to develop the retailer's new customer segmentation and targeting systems.

A keen trainer for both the DMA and the IDM, Wallinger quite happily admits: "I'm still learning as I go along".

David Bearman

Head of customer insight, Boots plc

Joining Boots from university in 1982, Bearman cut his teeth by working as a store manager. He took this retail experience into subsequent Boots roles, such as that of project manager of store construction and refits.

He has been involved in customer data since 1999 and as head of customer management, an early success was persuading Boots' sector marketing directors to agree to group-wide rules for contacting customers.

He introduced a segmentation of Boots' customers using Advantage Card data, now being used across the business.

In his current job as head of customer and marketing insight, he has introduced modelling to improve the targeting of communications to Advantage Card holders.

And to those who say Boots is a pale imitation of Tesco in its application of data, Bearman can point to the analysis of Advantage Card and EPOS data that has helped improve product design and create a range of store formats, such as the new 'Work Convenience' concept store, aimed at cash-rich, time-poor consumers.

According to John Wallinger, head of data planning at Boots agency Craik Jones Watson Mitchell Voekel, Bearman has a "deep understanding of customers. He's not overly analytical but instead is business focused in terms of how data and segmentation can be used to help Boots".

Emma Reid

head of customer information Saga Group

Saga Group remains one of the UK's top 10 mailers, promoting travel and financial services to customers and prospects in its 50-plus target market. Good job, then, that it has in Reid an extremely steady pair of hands on the tiller.

Having earned her stripes in market research at AGB, Reid moved to Pinpoint and then CACI before becoming database manager at PPP Healthcare. Joining Saga in 1999, Reid took over the running of a combined customer and prospect database of eight million consumers.

She managed the creation of Saga's campaign select system and data warehouse, ensuring the accuracy of the group's data.

On the industry front Reid is no slouch either, presenting regularly on conference platforms about Saga's root-and-branch approach to data protection act compliance.

A member of the Demographics User Group that lobbied the ONS successfully to provide Census data free of charge, Reid has recently had fun applying the new Mosaic classification to improve the calculation of potential for Saga's wide range of products.

Another Reid hobbyhorse, the Saga-led client bereavement data pool Stop Dead, was launched earlier this year.

Michael Toothill

Head of database marketing, Cancer Research UK

Cancer Research UK has much-admired TV advertising, but under Michael Toothill's guidance the charity has steadily upped its database-driven marketing activity to its 3.5 million supporters. It was the UK's biggest charity user of direct mail in 2003, its spend of £10.6 million marking a rise of 38 per cent on 2002.

It's the part-fruition of Toothill's five-year database strategy, starting with the creation of an in-house team of 10 database specialists to act as a link between Cancer Research UK's fundraising, marketing and IT departments.

In 2002 Toothill oversaw the integration of databases from Imperial Cancer Research Fund and Cancer Research Campaign after they merged to form Cancer Research UK, it's said with minimal disruption to campaign activity.

The use of lifetime value modelling has allowed the charity to ignificantly beat its own targets for income from DM activity.

Next on Toothill's agenda is rolling out the charity's database systems to 80 regional and home-based community fundraisers.

Small wonder that Cancer Research UK is regularly visited by other charities as a reference site for use of database systems, campaign management tools and analytics - a fitting testament to Toothill's data vision.

John Dobson Managing director, EuroDirect Database Marketing

Ahhhh, Dobbo. Ask any industry person about John Dobson and they are likely to break into a smile before eulogising about the data industry's most likeable entrepreneur.

For Dobson, making money and having fun are inextricably linked. He has been behind the launch of several successful supplier companies, starting with BDMS in 1983 (now Adare Lexicon). Then in 1994 he met the three Green brothers and established EuroDirect and GMAP Consulting, subsequently bought out by the Skipton Building Society.

Dobson has led EuroDirect's consistent innovation with such award-winning GIS products as DemoGraf and MicroVision and the segmentation tool CAMEO.

This, together with a strong customer service culture, helped EuroDirect win the Smart Awards' Supplier of the Year in 2003.

A paid-up member of the so-called Northern DM Mafia, Dobson says his proudest career moment (so far) came when Her Majesty personally presented him, on behalf of EuroDirect, with a Queen's Award for Enterprise in 2002.

Lionel Thain

Chief executive, IPT

Perhaps one of the most driven players in this industry, Thain has founded two highly significant supplier companies in UK data-based marketing. For his current influence in the world of online data, Thain is firmly positioned in the top 25 of our power brokers in data.

In a previous incarnation, Thain was an early entrant into the UK lifestyle data market in 1993 when he set up ICD, subsequently acquired by Experian in 1997.

Always up for a bit of drama, Thain and his ICD colleagues claim to have pulled off one of the biggest-ever lifestyle data collection efforts when they mailed 20 million UK households in one day, netting 2.5 million responses.

Acxiom's Dawn Orr and Simon Johnson of Data Locator were both hired by Thain while at ICD, proof of his talent-spotting skills.

In 2000, Thain reinvented himself in the online world when he founded Interactive Prospect Targeting (IPT) with £2 million of venture capital. IPT's website myoffers.co.uk, where consumers part with data in return for prize draw entry, was pioneering for its time.

Other websites followed, including the salary comparison site www.payfinder.com. Former colleagues say Thain doesn't suffer fools. His peers admire his drive and energy. "An entrepreneur writ large," says one. For his next trick, Thain is hoping to float IPT on AIM later this year. One thing's for certain: life with Lionel is never dull.

Ian McNamara

Head of cards information & analysis, Lloyds TSB

McNamara is a fast mover, straddling both supplier and client camps on the road to his current role at Lloyds TSB Group, the UK's second-largest mailer in 2003.

His journey started at Equifax, where he partnered with Sand Technology (now ClarityBlue) to develop a unique prospect management system called Equifax IA. This incorporated data from several sources, including Electoral Roll, lifestyle and credit data.

ClarityBlue sold the concept to clients including Lloyds TSB, but in the meantime McNamara had moved to Orange to head customer intelligence.

Goldfish Bank beckoned. While there, McNamara developed a customer and prospect database system that allowed for weekly updates of applications data. Now that Goldfish is fully owned by Lloyds TSB, McNamara has introduced this system group-wide and integrated it with the bank's customer marketing systems.

While Lloyds TSB sits resolutely in the top three of the UK's heaviest mailers, McNamara is thought to be working on the integration of other channels into the mix - no easy task.

Tony Preedy

General manager, marketing Shop4Free (Shop Direct Group)

As mail order enterprises go, they don't come bigger than Shop Direct. Formerly GUS Home Shopping, Shop Direct's 6.5 million active customer accounts makes it the UK's largest mail order group.

It has no high street presence, and Preedy's responsibility for the company's in-house database analytics, targeting, customer profitability and customer research means he has a pivotal role in the company.

The modest Northerner has changed the balance of Shop Direct's use of channels, reducing its direct mail output (volume decreased by 28 per cent in 2003, according to Thomson Intermedia) while boosting the group's use of e-commerce.

A particular Preedy passion has been ensuring that data drives real-time offers to customers via the web, telephone and e-mail. With this track record it's no surprise that Preedy has been earmarked for promotion and as this guide went to press, was about to become brand director.

Mark Roy

Chief executive, The REaD Group plc

'Do not mail' files had been around before Mark Roy had the bright idea back in the 1990s of putting registration cards in funeral parlours. But the product that resulted, the Bereavement Register (BR), and an earlier invention, the Goneaway Suppression (GAS) file, put data suppression well and truly on the map.

The funeral parlour cards allowed relatives of the dead to register to have their loved ones' details removed from mailing files, and in doing so created one of the REaD Group's most high profile products. Such innovation has made Roy a rich man and the (very) proud owner of an Aston Martin DB7.

Through his tireless promotion of the REaD Group and its products, former professional actor Roy has, in the words of one data bureau owner, "managed to make a very unpalatable subject sexy". More recently Roy has begun to use his unrivalled publicity skills at an industry level,vice-chairing the DMA's Planet Ark working party.

Richard Zanetti

Senior manager, customer targeting, Sainsbury's

"Hugely intelligent" is how one agency data planner describes Richard Zanetti, the former management consultant with a Cambridge PhD in Physics who runs the Sainsbury's customer targeting function.

With Sainsbury's now third in the league of UK grocers, Zanetti needs to draw on all his intellectual capabilities. In comparison with data insight king Tesco, Sainsbury's appears to be less willing to percolate data insights throughout its business.

It launched its data supply service to manufacturers some time after that of Tesco, and its use of data insights to develop products has been less obvious than that of the UK's number one grocer. "The Sainsbury's board doesn't understand what customer data can do for it," says

one retail expert.

However, in the midst of all this, Zanetti has been quietly scoring some points. He has taken the Sainsbury's 12 million-strong customer database and using analytics and targeting, has improved sales to the point where direct marketing is, according to Zanetti, the biggest sales-generating unit of all the marketing functions at Sainsbury's.

Zanetti has led the creation of a Sainsbury's customer segmentation by combining behavioural and attitudinal insights with profitability, now used throughout the organisation.

Tony Coad

Chairman, CCB

Vision and drive are words that sit comfortably in the same sentence as Tony Coad. One of the data industry's true entrepreneurs, Coad is best known for two things: founding NDL International, the UK's first lifestyle data collection company, back in 1985, and then selling the lifestyle concept to Conrad Black's Telegraph Group in the 1990s.

He has adopted a lower profile of late, yet Coad's career has been littered with innovations and industry activity. In the 1980s he was instrumental in encouraging four separate trade associations to merge and form the DMA.

At NDL he persuaded electrical retailers to part with their warranty card information in exchange for customer database builds. Once NDL was sold to VNU for £49 million in 1994, Coad moved to the Telegraph Group where he created a lifestyle database of Telegraph readers. He was made a director of the company.

Coad's recent lower profile is probably due to preoccupation with his latest venture, CCB Consultancy. Along with colleagues David Cole and Bill Burey, Coad is currently reinventing the Telegraph model for regional newspapers.

The company also hosts the Nat Mags and News International databases, helping CCB to annual revenues of £2.5 million. Knowing Coad, this venture probably won't be his last.

Roisin Donnelly and Anne Routledge

Head of brands marketing; Direct to consumer marketing manager, Procter & Gamble

The world's biggest advertiser takes data seriously as part of its strategy to increase the number of P&G brands in a given household. Its data collection efforts have been extensive - P&G was a founding client for the UK's lifestyle data suppliers.

As the most senior direct marketer in P&G UK, Routledge and her boss Roisin Donnelly, P&G's corporate marketing director, carry on this tradition. Routledge runs the day-to-day aspects of P&G's data management and has been part of an international team overseeing the construction of a pan-European database.

Donnelly, meanwhile, leads marketing for brands such as Ariel and Pampers. It is she, observers say, who ensures that insights from both the database and market research come together to guide P&G's product development and category management.

Richard Lloyd

Director of B2B marketing, Experian

The Experian man combines a deep knowledge of B2B data with strategic flair. "Being able to draw on the experience and expertise of Richard played a major part in our decision to use Experian," says Jo Ray, director of marketing (small business division) at Sage UK.

Lloyd joined Experian in 2000 from B2B giant Dun & Bradstreet, where he was director of database marketing, with a specific brief to

beef up Experian's B2B service. He's been unstoppable since.

Taking Experian's market data as his foundation stone, Lloyd's first B2B

product for Experian was the National Business Database. The 2003 launch of Commercial Mosaic, a B2B segmentation system that combines consumer and business information to provide business lifestyle classifications, was largely down to Lloyd too.

But perhaps his biggest coup was steering the acquisition of Yell Data that same year. It propelled Experian from bit-player into the major league of B2B data providers.

Suzanne Soper

Executive director, Wegener Direct Marketing

Soper is an unusual creature: an analyst with a commercial brain and vivacious with it. They are qualities being put to good use at Wegener DM, one of Europe's largest data suppliers, where Soper heads the consumer data unit.

In the past she has straddled both client and supplier sides of the direct marketing industry, beginning her career at Royal Sun Alliance and following this with stints at CACI, Pinpoint and as global database director for Morgan Stanley Card Services. At CACI she helped create the Mortgage Market Database, the first time mortgage lenders pooled their data for analysis purposes.

Since arriving at Wegener DM last year, Soper has launched new products such as REALfile, a database claiming real (as opposed to modelled) data on 42 million consumers. Another big win for Wegener DM since Soper's arrival was securing the contract to manage Procter & Gamble's pan-European database.

With arch rival Acxiom spreading its tentacles around Europe, Soper and Wegener DM are no doubt feeling the US company's competitive presence in the upper echelons of consumer data supply. Her admirers don't doubt her ability to manage the situation. "One to watch," says MBNA's Ronnie Bagdonavicius.

Gerry Scott

Managing director, HLB

A former manager in AA Insurance & Financial Services, Scott is the popular dynamo behind the rise of list company HLB as a significant part of the WAVV Rapp Collins empire.

She has tirelessly battled in what is an increasingly tough part of the data business, promoting brokerage as the best way for clients to acquire their data.

HLB is one of those list companies that has both management and broking under one roof, and Scott has had to manage the two sets of interests.

Under Scott's leadership, HLB has been a regular winner of golds in both the Marketing Direct Intelligence awards and Direct Response Smart Awards. Clients reward her and HLB with long-term contracts to manage their lists. "I'm comforted by the fact that Gerry is and always will be my first point of contact where data is concerned," says Maura Beishon, managing director of House of Bath.

Meanwhile, the Guide Dogs Association credits HLB and Scott as being part of the success of the charity's acquisition programme which began in 2000. Revenue then was £75,000 a year, and now stands at a staggering £2.4 million a year, with more than 150,000 warm donors recruited.

A former DMA board member, Scott is now part of the DMA's marketing executive group charged with developing membership.

With these credentials, you could almost forgive Scott for those outrageous earings she often wears.

Simon James

Head of data practice, Zalpha (a division of WWAV Rapp Collins)

James was recruited from Carlson Marketing Group in March 2003 to boost Zalpha's data division as a more central part of the company's service to such clients as Lloyds TSB, Cancer Research UK, Telewest and Eurotunnel.

He built an entirely new data analytics team and developed services such as Data Discovery, a database solution used by Eurotunnel to identify a group of former high-value customers. Another product, Integrated Segmentation, uses quantitative and qualitative data for segmentation purposes.

Cancer Research UK used this to define the UK population into eight segments based on attitudes to cancer.

James has delivered sales growth for the data division that was 50 per cent above forecasts. For Telewest, James built a churn model, saving it an estimated £5 million in revenue.

Likewise the segmentation models he developed for Lloyds TSB have proved "invaluable", according to Karen Penney, head of customer information at the bank.

"Simon works alongside us to maximise the relationship between data, customers and commercial objectives," Penney says. "It is this ability that, for me, makes him outstanding in the field."

Drew Mensah

Head of customer insight, O2

The former data planning director at Claydon Heeley Jones Mason joined 02 in 2003 as its head of customer insight. The move was the culmination of the telecoms giant's decision to take data development back in-house from 02's external agencies.

Mensah set about creating an insight team from O2's existing market researchers and data analysts, a unit that now has 25 staff. Mensah is in charge of a 12 million-strong customer database, and his team is currently developing segmentation techniques and propensity models to drive O2's targeting activity.

A data planner with international experience, Mensah developed the CRM programme for Motorola China while data planning director at Claydon Heeley Jones Mason.

It would be premature to judge his effectiveness at O2, but someone who knows him describes Mensah as "no shrinking violet", which augurs well.

Marc O'Regan

Head of data, Proximity London

Modest and unassuming, O'Regan has so many letters after his name that it's tempting to label him an egghead. But that wouldn't do justice to O'Regan's success in helping clients extract big commercial advantages from their data.

He has been a vocal advocate of the 'big picture' approach to data - using both the database and market research varieties to gain the much-vaunted single view of the customer. His educational credits bear this out.

O'Regan has both the Market Research Society and CIM diplomas as well as an MBA. The only agency data planner on the DMA Data Council, O'Regan is a regular speaker on the conference circuit.

The O'Regan curriculum vitae includes a long spell at WAVV Rapp Collins in various analytical roles, and his current incarnation as head of Proximity London's 35-strong data planning team. Satisfied clients include Barclaycard, Shell, VW and EMAP.

O'Regan led the development of Barclaycard's first account-level profitability model, while for Shell, he helped segment a four million customer base for use throughout the business and introduced the oil company to the applications of psychographic data.

His team's work for VW and TV Licensing has won industry awards.

Clients praise O'Regan's "professional expertise" and "personal inspiration".

"Marc has a passion for helping clients unlock the value of their customer data," says Mark Jenkins, marketing director at EMAP.

Martin Scicluna

Head of customer analytics, BT consumer and BT business

BT has been labelled a 'data factory' by critics and it indeed has many managers with the moniker 'data' in their job titles.

Yet Scicluna merits inclusion in our Power 50 as BT's most senior analyst. For though monopoly regulations impose limits on the use of BT data for cross-sell purposes, Scicluna can still boast one of the most impressive resources in the country: the BT consumer database containing every UK adult and a B2B database of every SME.

Product development has been a feature of his career. Now a DMA board member, Scicluna has an impressive CV of statistics-based roles at CACI, Berry Consulting and Claritas, where in 1997 he helped develop the Lifestyle Universe.

While head of consumer segmentation at BT, he created the company's data strategy spanning acquisitions through to retention and feedback. He conceived the ambitious BT Customer Communic-ations Survey, which regularly generates over a million responses from BT customers.

As well as possessing brains, Scicluna has brawn too: he once worked as a security guard at Heathrow Airport.

Tony Lamb

Group data delivery director, Wegener Direct Marketing

For his role in calmly, and by all accounts wisely, chairing the DMA's Data Council these past three years, and for championing the cause of B2B data quality, Lamb books his place in the Power 50.

On Lamb's watch the profile of the Data Council has risen and its push for better practice and standards has been that much stronger.

In his career as a B2B data supplier, Lamb has also lobbied for better data quality standards, for good commercial reasons. When Lamb was managing director of Conduit Business Information, the company became one of the first B2B suppliers to be ABC-audited, to gain that stamp of quality.

He went on to consult for REaD Group, establishing the firm's Business Suppression File. A regular on the industry circuit, the Lamb industry profile has, at times, appeared to eclipse that of his career. His recent appointment at Wegener should redress the balance.

Tim Green

Head of data strategy, OgilvyOne Worldwide

Green has risen from list broker to become head of data strategy at OgilvyOne Worldwide.

His data career began in 1991 as a B2B list broker, followed by account management roles for a number of leading database bureaux, including Identex and Acxiom. He made the leap from bureau to agency with TBWA/GGT in 1999.

At OgilvyOne, Green's main brief is to craft data strategies for Jigsaw Consortium members, a role some believe is one of the trickiest on the agency side of data-driven marketing.

His job description includes helping brand managers from Unilever, Cadbury Trebor Bassett and Kimberley-Clark achieve the best ROI by sourcing the most responsive data from Jigsaw's pool.

Despite question marks over the future role of the Consortium (see 39, below), the volume of direct mail campaigns using Jigsaw data has increased on Green's watch, as the various brands seek to benefit from not having to buy data on the open market.

On the downside, Green must manage the demands of individual brand managers from Consortium members, fighting over the same consumers. A big issue for Green is identifying the most profitable ones and establishing their channel preference.

Simon Johnson

Managing director, Data Locator

One of many alumni from the ICD and Experian schools of lifestyle data, Johnson left the latter with the big idea of real-time lifestyle data acquisition over the telephone - a major innovation at the time and one that was subsequently copied by other suppliers.

He set up Data Locator in 1998 to provide clients with lead-to-purchase data collected via the telephone and more recently over the internet.

Described by one admirer as "a charming and effective entrepreneur", Johnson persuaded Procter & Gamble to become an early client.

Although the rocketing number of Telephone Preference Service registrations may prove a growing problem for Data Locator, one former colleague still tips Johnson as "the next data millionaire".

Jill Armitage

Relationship marketing company leader, Unilever

Unilever is one of the world's biggest TV and press advertisers. Back in 1997 when it formed the data consortium Jigsaw with Cadbury Trebor Bassett, Kimberley-Clark and Bass, the move was considered ground-breaking. Now, however, its continued participation in Jigsaw is under scrutiny as never before.

True, the FMCG giant has recently announced that it will boost its global relationship marketing activity across the Unilever portfolio of brands and increase investment in CRM. Yet the role of Jigsaw in all this has not been revealed. Question marks over the Consortium's raison d'être were raised earlier this year when it said it was making data available for use by companies outside the Consortium.

In the meantime Armitage, who heads a team of 20 relationship marketers at Unilever, is the company's chief client of Jigsaw. She is said to make enthusiastic use of Jigsaw's 10 million customer database, both for the purpose of consumer insight and for Unilever's active direct marketing programme promoting such brands as Cif and Persil.

Steven Bond

Customer insight manager, Marks & Spencer

For decades M&S took pride in the soundness of its own retail instincts. But in the late 1990s, faltering performance meant it had to become a lot more customer focused. Step forward Steven Bond, a former local government researcher and CACI analyst, to set up the customer insight unit (CIU) for M&S in 1999.

Bond now presides over a 50-strong team of database marketers and market researchers, making it one of the largest customer insight departments in the country. It also claims to have one of the largest customer databases, with data from three million-plus holders of its store card.

Like all retailers, M&S suffers in comparison with Tesco's data analysis skills. "Data is the fuel that guides the business," Bond maintains. Quite how this impacts M&S's business is not clear to outsiders, even though Bond has overseen the creation of a core M&S customer segmentation.

The heat will be on Bond and his team to deliver usable insights, now that M&S is going it alone in the wake of Phillip Green's failed take-over bid.

Ian Robinson

Director of insight@tmw, TMW

Known by clients for his "no nonsense and practical approach", Robinson is enjoying a long career in agency data planning. He was responsible for setting up TMW's analysis division in 1997, which now employs 25 people. Before this he had senior planning roles at Saatchi & Saatchi, Evans Hunt Scott and Carlson Marketing Group.

At TMW he conceived the agency's Customer Value Management service, which aims to increase customer profitability over time using segmentation and modelling. Successes include work for British Airways Holidays and the targeting aspect of O2's First Programme, which reduced churn by a third while boosting average revenue per phone by 17 per cent.

Robinson also headed the project to build Nissan GB's automotive database, generating cross-sell campaigns that had an ROI of 150:1.

"In addition to his obvious technical knowledge, Ian is a true people person who really knows how to adapt his style to each audience," says Darren Austin, marketing systems development manager at VisitBritain.

Rosemary Smith

Managing director, RSA Direct

"Unsung heroine" is how one observer described Rosemary Smith, the former Prospect Shop chief who last year launched list management firm RSA Direct.

Smith earns her Power 50 spurs for experience - she has spent 16 years in the list industry, primarily in B2B data - and for her contribution to industry standards. As head of the DMA's data protection compliance committee these past three years, she overseesmembers' adherence to both the law of the land and the DMA's codes of conduct.

In 2002 she headed Business Suppression, the DMA-backed service, and the following year fronted the association's nationwide educational roadshow, designed to guide members through the data protection labyrinth.

At the same time Smith launched RSA, promising a more flexible set of commission arrangements for brokers.

Scott Logie

Managing director, Occam

Former Bank of Scotland head of analytics Scott Logie is a rising star on the supplier scene. After setting up BoS's customer knowledge unit, he joined database services company Occam in 2001.

2004 is so far proving his year. Logie has just led a management buyout of the company, one of the fastest growing in the DM sector, from founders Mark Gilden and Andy Moore. Added to this, he has been welcomed onto the DMA's Data Council.

Occam, now a £9 million-turnover business, has been best known for Reciprocate, the charity list-swapping facility that was Gilden's brainchild back in the late 1980s. Under Logie the company has expanded its client base to financial services, utilities and the telecoms sector.

"Scott's business acumen and, crucially, statistical expertise, has been extremely useful to Sainsbury's Bank and to me personally," says Mike Boyle, head of customer analysis at the bank.

Lynn Stevens

Managing director, Lloyd James Group plc

Stevens has risen from trainee list broker to run the £5 million-turnover data arm of DM services supplier Lloyd James Group, reporting to founder Lloyd James.

When the list broking company was set up back in 1990, the affable Stevens became one of three people working there. Since then the company has grown to employ 150 staff working on broking, list and insert management, data processing and printing.

The group's current expansion into digital print and personalised mail, as well as her election onto the DMA's Data Council earlier this year, is keeping Stevens busy.

Iain Lovatt

Joint MD, Blue Sheep

Where many suppliers were content to provide just business lists, Lovatt had the idea back in 1993 to boost the usefulness of B2B data by applying business analytics and modelling techniques.

He repositioned BMA, the company he had co-founded with John Wright, as a supplier of business intelligence and renamed it BlueSheep. Lovatt's major innovation was The UK Business Universe, one of the first aggregated business information tools.

He applied his economic forecasting abilities to create such techniques as Sales Gap Analysis (using CHAID modelling) and Economic Growth Scores. Products crafted by Lovatt and his team have won no less than six industry awards.

Colin Lloyd, former chairman of the DMA, cites Lovatt's thought-provoking forays into industry debates and "single-minded determination" which has earned him the respect of competitors and clients alike.

His forthright objection last year to the suggestion of a corporate TPS was typical of Lovatt's passion for B2B data.

Chris Morris

Managing director, Transactis

Morris is another data service innovator, this time on the mail order side. After stints in Pinpoint Analysis and NDL International, Morris became a director of Claritas UK (formerly NDL International).

His big break came in 1998 when he was asked to launch Abacus, a US mail order pool, in the UK, France and Germany.

He had to overcome a deep reluctance on the part of mail order companies to share data with their competitors. Two years after launch, Abacus was in profit and winner of such awards as ECMOD's Supplier of the Year.

"In creating Abacus Chris delivered a huge boost to the mail order arena," says Peter Higgins, marketing director at mail order company Charles Tyrwhitt.

The pool concept was one that Morris wanted to develop for himself, so in 2003 he launched Transactis, a data pooling company and TransAction, a transactional and lifestyle data pool.

It's early days for this latest Morris venture, but he says that so far the top 40 mail order companies have signed up, to create a database of 18 million consumers.

Thomas Adalbert

Managing director, The Preference Service

The launch of lifestyle data company The Postal Preference Service in 2000 was hugely controversial, not least because of its joint venture partner Royal Mail.

What raised the hackles of established lifestyle providers was the branding of all PPS surveys with the postal operator's logo, lending them the air of an official document.

In the midst of the storm the newcompany's first sales director, Thomas Adalbert, had the job of convincing clients that the PPS data set was different to what the competition was offering.

If the company's client list is any yardstick, Adalbert succeeded, signing up the likes of Marks & Spencer, PPP, AOL, Barclaycard and Volkswagen.

Renamed as The Preference Service, the company claims its database has since grown from one million to 3.5 million records.

On the exit of founding MD Bryan Cassady in 2002, Adalbert took the helm. He has begun to expand the firm 's product offering, with the launch this year of Holistic List Management and Street-LifeUK, an attitudinally-driven geomarketing tool.

Chris Duncan

Managing director, Alchemetrics

Another analytical specialist who is fast-earning his commercial spurs, Duncan is the baby-faced head of database consultancy Alchemetrics.

He joined the company as technical director from American Express in Sydney and at the tender age of 29, took over as managing director from founder Francis Wallinger.

He has been part of every Alchemetrics pitch for the past four years, winning such accounts as the Nikon UK database build and the contract to host the Telegraph Group's transactional database.

He began 2004 by designing a start-up data management framework for Zip TV, with Alchemetrics now hosting the TV channel's database.

On the industry front too, Duncan is a man on a mission. He was co-opted onto the DMA Data Council five months ago with the aim of encouraging the industry "to get its finger out of its arse" (his words) and address DM's image problem. Industry fur should fly, if Duncan has anything to do with it. Another one to watch.

Mark Arnold

List broking director, Prospect Swetenhams

Arnold should be struck a medal by all list brokers for his tireless efforts to move that role up the DM food chain.

His mantra has long been that brokers have a unique role as data acquirers and as such, should occupy the same space as media buyers.

He put his theories into practice in 1999 when he left Swetenhams to launch Zed Data Broking as a division of Zenith Optimedia.

Clients included Rover Cars, BT Retail and The AA, work that scooped industry awards. Arnold returned to Prospect Swetenhams earlier this year to head their broking operations.

At the same time he was elected to the DMA Data Council and is busy helping to craft the Business List Audit, the DMA's B2B data quality scheme.

Mark Patron

Database marketing consultant

Patron's proud boast is that not many people can claim to have established businesses that are responsible for the targeting of 10 per cent of the UK's consumer direct mail, as he can do.

A former oil company engineer, Patron was chief of Claritas UK and helped to set up Abacus Europe. In 1994 he led the sale of Calyx Group (NDL, CMT and Claritas) to VNU for £49 million.

Patron's profile has been lower since 2001, when he left VNU to consult and take on various non-executive directorships.

But he regularly raises his head above the parapet to prove that rumours of his retirement have been greatly exaggerated.

In August he and financial services forum Tank launched a benchmarking system for prospect data.

Bubbling under...

Jon Cano Lopez

Group leader, Acxiom European Services

Former computer programmer Cano Lopez co-founded database bureau Altwood Systems in 1991. The company pulled off an industry first - the migration of 10 million Imperial Tobacco customers from mainframe technology to a PC database environment. Now, as group leader of Acxiom's European Services division, Cano Lopez heads the development and operations of Acxiom's growing services business in Europe.

Andy Taylor

Managing director, Ebiquita

Taylor quit a comfortable job as Experian Marketing Services' head of marketing in 2002 to revamp the image of MarketPhone, the DM bureau arm of pharmaceutical research group Clinphone. Taylor rebranded it as Ebiquita and a batch of product launches followed, including EW3, a network of subject-specific websites where consumers can register to receive informat

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