I joined Gartner UK as a member of the newly acquired Wentworth Research team back in May 2000 after a rather protracted interview process. Gartner Group, as it was called then, made the acquisition to form the basis of an enhanced global Executive Program (EXP) for CIO’s, replacing a previous offering called IT Executive Program (ITEP).
In those days Gartner didn’t have an in-house recruitment function in the UK and they were still using the services of an independent headhunter called Roger Stokes who thought my background would suit a rather strange role called Program Director (PD) that he was recruiting for.
So over an introductory lunch somewhere near Egham he told me that I would have two telephone screening interviews, one with a current PD practitioner called Charles Chang and the other with the leader of EXP UK & Ireland called Nick O’Doherty, before a final panel interview in the Gartner Egham office.
Charles had a sense of humour as can be shown by the fact that he used to end presentations to our largely WASP clients (at the time) with his “Chinese takeaways” and a rather thought provoking statement “that you all look the same to me” which used to raise a laugh.
Both calls seemed to go well so Nick sent me a hardcopy copy of some original Wentworth research called “IS Lite: The Future” in the post written by a very talented research director in Wentworth called Roger Woolfe to read as background material before the panel interview.
I have to admit that IS Lite became my bread & butter so to speak when talking with CIO clients for many years afterwards! I always had a soft spot for Roger not just for the quality of his research but for the fact that he was a bit eccentric, not politically correct and drove an old fashioned open topped sports car to work. He also spoke in a rather posh fashion, very precise, but with a wicked & mischievous sense of humour. He loved writing research with a passion and clients loved reading & discussing his research as it was so applicable to the real world.
One of the last times I saw Roger was at a black tie charity event for “Shooting Star” in February 2008 at the Great Fosters hotel in Egham. It was a great evening, Roger was there with his wife Hilary, along with the three original PD’s from 2000 with their wives namely Charles Chang with Alice, Iain Chester with Eileen and of course myself with Debbie. By this time Charles, Iain and Roger had all retired from Gartner, but for me it was as if nothing had changed from the early days although Roger was quite weak having been battling cancer for some time.
I remember shortly after this event when Dale Kutnick became global head of EXP persuading him to have dinner with Roger in London on his next visit to which he readily agreed. In many ways they were similar if you ignore Dale’s ponytail despite the nationality & political differences. I had great fun that evening watching them spar with each other! After this last evening together though I’m afraid work got in the way and we lost touch.
So you can only imagine my sadness to find out by chance today that he had finally succumbed to his cancer on the 21st July 2015, just before Debbie & I moved to Llanfoist. If only I’d kept in touch we would both have been honoured to pay our respects at his funeral and say goodbye in person, so through this post all I can do is to try to make amends in a very limited fashion to remember him.
Roger’s passing has only made me more determined to organise an informal get together of old EXP colleagues that would like to reconnect after the success of my Territorial Army 30 year reunion last year. In this particular case though, due to all our advancing ages maybe we should go for five or ten years instead of thirty!