It wasn’t always smooth sailing. After rising through the ranks at Nomura to become the investment bank’s CIO, Ian Buchanan confesses that he didn’t realize he was stepping into a very different role "that was all about relationships and credibility,” where execution wasn’t all that counted. Buchanan eventually progressed to take a seat at Nomura’s executive table and won a reputation as a transformational leader. However, wizened by the experience, he took a more proactive tack when he later walked through the door at Alliance & Leicester, Santander, Société Générale Corporate and Investment Banking, and, in October 2011, Barclaycard, where he is now COO. In a recent interview, Buchanan revealed his key insights. Among them: start before you start; listen, listen, listen; and get to the heart of the issues quickly.
Ian Buchanan: I think probably more so in a way because everybody knows the new CEO is coming. They expect him or her to come out with a vision for the business and to quickly demonstrate leadership. Everything is almost set up for that process. The new CIO’s role is not always so apparent, and the expectations vary depending on where you’re coming from and whose shoes you’re filling.