Dido wanted to explore consulting, but ended up working for his client.
Dido wa Kalonji has been appointed as Access Bank's head of technology and digital, and he also serves as the bank's interim CIO. Prior to joining Access Bank, he served as CIO at UBS Investment Bank, and before that was a manager of development and applications at Deloitte and a technical support Manager at MiX Telematics.
Dido holds an MSc in information systems and IT from the University of Liverpool, and a BA in information systems and visual communication from the University of Pretoria.
Dido left UBS to test the entrepreneurial waters and started his own consultancy company, and in the midst of that, was approached by Access Bank to consult on a few projects in an interim CIO capacity. Pleased with his work, Access Bank then decided to ask Dido to permanently come on board.
“I am currently fulfilling two roles, as interim CIO and head of technology and digital,” he says. “This opportunity came up at the right time because I had always had aspirations of starting my own consulting business: I got work briefly as a consultant – but also ended up landing this role,” he adds.
In his new role, Dido has thus far been responsible for managing the bank’s entire IT services, which was quite a challenge, but equally rewarding. “I had full control over the IT landscape, which was quite refreshing because traditionally in bigger organisations, this is not usually the case – the strategy is devised somewhere and you are added in as support – here I own it end-to-end,” he points out.
“I joined at a time when new systems had been implemented, and the people who had implemented them had already left by the time I had arrived,” he says. “So, I had to familiarise myself with this new environment and get up to speed. In addition, I had to formulate a plan that made a meaningful impact on the business and the customers, and plans to take the bank forward.”
He currently has 30 people reporting to him, and as far as his leadership style is concerned. Dido says he prefers to have an open-door policy and provides his team with the freedom to manoeuvre within their roles and self-manage.
According to Dido, maintaining a solid team requires you as a leader, to give your team the flexibility that they need.
“People often talk about work-life balance, but I talk about work-life integration; you cannot view the two separately. Do what you need to, but also be able to meet deadlines,” he concludes.