We are saddened to hear about the passing of Andrew Pinder CBE. Andrew played an instrumental role in getting the government services online during his time as the UK Government’s e-Envoy between 2000-2004. In his role as the e-Envoy and various roles since, he built a strong relationship with the UK technology industry.
Our thoughts are with his family and loved ones at this difficult time.
Obituary - Andrew Pinder
Andrew Pinder CBE, who enjoyed a long and distinguished career in both the public and private sectors, has died at the age of 69.
In a 2001 speech to the Confederation of British Industry, Andrew urged business leaders to get online. Apparently the then Chancellor, Gordon Brown, was unconvinced of the benefits of broadband due to its low take-up by industry. While we now take for granted the internet’s prevalence and reach, it was early advocates and pioneers such as Andrew who helped the UK gain from its rapid development. Andrew combined his passion for ICT with a rare ability to deploy it effectively. This valuable combination has benefited both public and private sector organisations, and citizens, across the UK and around the world.
Born in Sheffield to Gordon and Nora Pinder, an education Welfare Officer and a civil servant, the notion of public service and community responsibility was learned at an early age. Those who have worked with Andrew, talk of his keen sense of fairness and doing the right thing.
After graduating from the University of Liverpool with a degree in Economics and Politics, Andrew joined the Inland Revenue in 1972, progressing through the ranks over the next eighteen years to become Director of IT Services. In 1986, he was transferred from London to Shropshire to run the Inland Revenue’s new computer centre in Telford to implement the computerisation of PAYE; at that time, the largest government IT project.
Andrew’s family followed him to Shropshire in 1987 and the quiet, rural county remained his home during his long and varied career. In 1990, Andrew moved into the private sector, becoming Director of Operations and Technology at Prudential Corporation. This was a time of radical change for one of the country’s most iconic insurance companies and Andrew took a leading role in redefining the role of ‘The Man from the Pru’, equipping him with mobile technology which could be used in a customer’s home. Whilst at the Prudential, Andrew was headhunted to join Citibank Investment Bank as Head of European Operations and Technology, and then as head of Global Transaction Services.
Andrew was appointed as e-Envoy by the then Prime Minister, Tony Blair, in 2000. He was directly responsible to the PM and was charged with ‘Getting the UK online’ which encompassed the policies for rolling out broadband, setting up a network of training centres across the UK and the creation of the Government Gateway. His responsibilities included coordinating the Government’s e-strategy, ensuring access and training, galvanising UK business and driving the e-agenda through Government, as well as leading the UK Government’s whole IT agenda.
In the UN’s first ever e-Government development index in 2001, the UK was ranked seventh. By the time Andrew left his role as e-Envoy in 2004, the UK had jumped to first thanks to his efforts. Recognising this success, Andrew was awarded a CBE for services to e-Government and the Cabinet Office in the 2004 New Year’s Honours list.
Following his role as e-Envoy, Andrew has acted as an advisor to many other governments around the world.
Andrew continued to be closely involved with the Information Technology sector. In 2012, he was appointed by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport to set up and chair DMSL (Digital Mobile Spectrum Limited). Andrew was subsequently entrusted by EE, Telefónica, Three and Vodafone to be the permanent chair of their unique ‘joint venture of competitors’.
In addition to his role as Chairman of DMSL, Andrew was also Chairman of Market Operator Services Limited and the LED lighting company Finnergy. He was on the Board of Nominet, the official registry for .UK domain names, and until recently was the Implementation Trustee of the Open Banking Implementation Entity set up by the Competition and Markets Authority. Andrew was a past chair of PhonepayPlus (the UK regulator for premium rate and phone-paid services) and Becta (the British Educational Communications and Technology Agency). In the electricity industry, Andrew was formerly the independent Chair of both the Balancing and Settlement Code Panel, and Elexon Limited, its operating company.
Andrew had the rare gift of being able to get teams he led to focus on outcomes, without being distracted by operational processes and systems. He led by example: in the early days of DMSL, Andrew loaned the company his own money to rent office space, as well as persuading key staff, such as his long-time friend and collaborator Alan Mather, to join in ensuring its successful operation.
Despite his varied roles and responsibilities, Andrew retained a deep understanding of every organisation with which he worked. More often than not the best-informed and most experienced person in the room, Andrew dispensed advice lightly as a Chair; through suggestion rather than direction. Of course, taking that advice was almost always the right option, but Andrew also understood the value of diverse approaches and opinions, allowing people and teams the space to test their own approaches and learn their own lessons.
Andrew brought a sense of fun and bonhomie into the work place. A great listener with charm and charisma, he often achieved consensus out of conflict, taking people along with him thanks to his clear sense of purpose and vision.
Shropshire, and his home village of Cardington in particular, provided a rooted base and much-loved retreat during his long and distinguished career. Andrew played an important role in his local community throughout the thirty years he lived there, counterbalancing a jet-set lifestyle with dominoes in the local pub, village fêtes and chairing the Village Hall Committee.
Andrew’s first marriage to Patricia Munyard, with whom he had one daughter Rachel, ended in 1980. He is survived by his second wife Sue Tyrrell, daughters Rachel and Hannah, stepson Gabe and three grandchildren, Jake, Indy and Emmeline.
John Andrew Pinder CBE born 5 May 1947; died 9 April 2017.