British chemist chain ditches IT director role

Role to be divided up among other IT execs

UK pharmacy and beauty retailer Boots has confirmed it will drop the role of IT director, after the Rob Fraser, the last Boots employee to hold the position, stepped down earlier this month.

A source close to the company told Computerworld UK: “The work Rob Fraser was doing has come to a natural end. He did a great job completing a big integration project and wants to move on.”

The news comes as Boots nears the end of a six-year IT overhaul costing £350 million (NZ$930 million). Among the projects involved was the roll-out of an SAP ERP system in place of several legacy systems.

The source added that the company would not replace Fraser, instead dividing the IT director function among the next tier of systems managers at the firm.

Boots has reduced IT staff numbers to 150 from over 600 during the overhaul, partly through the outsourcing of datacentres and networks to Tata Consultancy Services, the outsourcing of a transaction system to Xansa, and the transfer of a customer relationship management project to IBM.

But the announcement of the company losing its IT chief will come as a shock to many in the IT community, considering Boots runs such a sizeable IT operation.

The change appears to be part of the company's management shakeup since it was acquired by private equity firm KKR and Boots deputy chairman Stefano Pessina in April. The shakeup has also seen the departure in the last few weeks of chief executive Richard Baker, and retail chief Scott Wheway.

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