Scott Findlater - CIO - Anord Mardix

Arthur Richard Phidd

Chief Information Officer

Reeds Jewelries & Reeds.com

arthur Richard Phidd – CIO Interview Series

Can you please provide a little introduction about yourself

Chief Information Officer at REEDS Jewelers, based in Wilmington NC, USA., Arthur has over 25 years of global executive level experience, leading information technology & corporate-wide business transformation programs across multiple industries including, retail, banking, consumer products, eCommerce, gaming, telecommunications, and government.

An award winning globally recognized innovative & transformational Chief Information Officer with deep expertise in Digital Transformation, Strategic Planning, Innovation EcoSystems, and a proven track-record implementing cyber security strategies and tactics. He has practiced his trade in three continents and over 10 countries and has led digital transformation at recognized global and national brands including Avon Products, Ann Taylor, 1800flowers, REEDS Jewelers, BNB Bank, & Cable & Wireless International to name a few.

He is a Member of the faculties at the University Of The West Indies Graduate Schools of Business where he lectures on contemporary topics impacting organizational change, technology management and transformational HR management strategies. Arthur is currently enrolled in his second doctoral program, researching organizational leadership, at the Northcentral University in San Diego.

What has your journey to your position been like? What path have you taken?

It has been a wonderful sinusoidal journey. I started at IBM in my junior year in college and never looked back. The grounding I received from IBM has stayed with me through the years. I honed those skills at Merrill Lynch on wall street and then grew my leadership philosophy from the experiences at Avon, Ann Taylor, and 1800flowers.com. – Lipsticks, Dresses, and Flowers.

There were difficult periods wading through the social issues that were and still are present in the corporate world. However, my strong belief in self and commitment saw me through those periods. The successes and recognitions have been plenty and I have a network of staff, students and peers who hold me in the highest esteem.

Losing my Mom to cancer after being her Knight during her battle brought great meaning to the journey and it has since moved me to start my foundation and to give back in any little way possible.

Has it always been your vision to reach the position you’re at? Was your current role part of your vision to become a tech leader?

Indeed it has always been my vision of my future self to be a leader of change and a Sheppard mentor creating a petri dish in which others can become successful.

Have you had a role model or mentor that has helped you on your journey?

My role model is my best friend who happens to be my Dad, Arthur R. Phidd J.P. He instilled in me as a child the core concepts on commitment, self respect, respect for others, and servant leadership.

How do you see the role of the technology leader evolving over the next 5 years?

In fact, it’s already in flight. Many people meet me, or work on my teams, and often say they are surprised to see a CIO being the visionary for a company’s strategic planning, entrepreneurialism, marketing and product/service development, vendor management, risk management and contract negotiations.

The CIO is the future CEO as the world we live in requires a new breed of chief executives armed with the strong duality of expertise in business and information technology concepts, frameworks and tactics.

What skills do you think leaders of the future will need in order to thrive?

• Servant/Sheppard Leadership skills 
• Champion for change
• Advocate for the staff
• A high degree of technical aptitude
• Visionary willing to make mistakes
• Keen sense of strategic planning
• Finger on the pulse of market and competitive arenas

How do you keep current with new skills, technologies and personal development?

Being a graduate school lecturer makes it easy as I have no choice but to stay abreast of the topics relevant to my courses. Also being a Ph.D. candidate affords me access to a wealth of literature, research and subject matter experts.

What do you see as the next leap in technology that will impact your business or industry in particular?

In my specific industry, luxury Jewelry, it’s already begun. Speaking for myself, I have infused Augmented Reality, Artificial Intelligence, Intelligent Automation, Machine Learning, and Data Science into our arsenal. The continued transformation from a traditional mono channel model to an Omi-Channel service distribution model is going to be critical for participants in this industry.

The Digital channel will rapidly cannibalize sales from traditional store channels and stores will evolve to becoming a hybrid retail/fulfillment location support order fulfillment for digital store orders, buy online pick up in-store orders (BOPIS), Same day deliver pick up sites, curb site delivery location, and a destination experience for customers.

If you were mentoring a leader of the future, what advice or guidance would you give to help them on their way?

Be a Sheppard to your team. Create a safe space for them to innovate and participate. Celebrate small wins, they tend to add up to big victories, Remember its not about you at all, establish standards for performance and stay true to them as you will be tested in this regard. Use every day at work as a teaching moment and drive a culture focused on perpetual learning.

Is there anything in particular that you would still like to achieve in your career or what is the next step on your journey?

I would like to end my career having been the new Chief Executive model. I also have considered putting my years of experience into a book. But certainly to continue lecturing

If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be?

I would redirect a portion of the world’s wealth to ensure all primary school kids have free education, access to the internet, laptop, free internet broadband access and a global education fund to ensure access to Tertiary education.

These are values consistent with my Foundation for which I am the chairman. www.jcsny.org

A big thank you to Arthur Richard Phidd from Reeds Jewelries & Reeds.com for sharing his journey to date.

www.reeds.com

 

If you would like to gain more perspective from Tech Leaders and CIOs you can read some of our other interviews here.

 

Cost optimisation
Leading Sustainability
Problem Solving Leadership - The CIO Circle
Top 5 Leadership traits of a modern CIO

Do you have these traits?

Learn these 5 traits to remain relevant and make an impact.

BONUS - Get the book and membership to The CIO Circle