Prior to joining Tesco, Gerry has held a number of leadership roles in financial services. Most recently Gerry served as Chief Executive Officer of Ulster Bank Ireland. Before joining Ulster Bank, Gerry served as Chief Executive Officer of Danske Bank UK (formerly Northern Bank) for eight years, successfully leading the organisation in the aftermath of the financial crisis. Earlier in his career, Gerry also held roles at Bank of Ireland, McKinsey & Co., and the UK Civil Service.
What will you be looking for when you judge the candidates?
The Women in Banking and Finance Awards plays a crucial role in driving diversity and excellence in our sector. I am looking forward to working with my follow judges to identify examples of brilliance that have had a clear, demonstrable impact on the lives of customers and colleagues.
I am particularly looking forward to judging the new Tech Star Award. The pace of technological change in our sector is considerable, and so it is absolutely crucial that, as an industry, we harness the most diverse range of talents as we look to drive forward innovation in our respective organisations.
You attended the Scotland launch of the WIBF Awards, what can you tell us about that morning?
Firstly, it was wonderful to get a sense of the strength of the local WIBF network and their commitment to Women in Finance. It was also an important opportunity for me to discuss the challenges that women face when trying to progress in our sector, and to reflect on the crucial role that Networks, like Women In Banking and Finance play in providing support and to consider what else needs to be done to drive forward diversity.
It struck me that while very few people now dispute the importance of diversity in the work place, there are still considerable challenges that we need to address. The challenge now is how to deliver diverse workplaces to meet the needs of both colleagues and customers. I feel really confident that given the strong commitment that so many organisations have to driving forward change, and to building a more diverse sector, that we will see real change in the years to come.
Why do you think awards for women are so important?
The financial services sector regularly delivers for customers and it is critical that we continue to do so. To enable this, we have to attract the brightest and the best from all backgrounds and that means developing and supporting a culture that drives and celebrates diversity in all forms. To help achieve that we must celebrate success whenever and wherever we find it and Awards like Women in Banking and Finance enable us to do just that.
How do you think men can best support and facilitate positive change for women in banking?
Firstly, I think it is important for everyone to recognise the benefit to be gained from creating a better gender balance in our sector. This is not only a gender equality issue, but also a human capital issue for all our businesses. While there is much positive activity through networks like Women in Banking and Finance and our Women at Tesco, men also have a critical role to play. By recognising and working on unconscious bias; by actively talking about the need for change; and by using their influence to make positive strides in talent development and recruitment.
What do you think are the essential qualities in a leader?
Truly great leaders are able to draw upon a multitude of attributes to successfully lead and inspire. For me it is the ability to flex and adapt our styles to meet the challenges we all face, while staying focussed on our strategic long terms goals. If you forced me to select three specific attributes they would be: authenticity, courage, and the ability to inspire others.