Richard Turner: A day in the life of a PEX award winner

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Ian Hawkins

Richard Turner 2019 Global Operational Excellence Leader of the Year

Richard Turner is 2019 Global Operational Excellence Leader of the Year - awarded by PEX Network for significant process transformation improvements within Deutsche Bank.

We caught up with Richard to find out what a typical day is like – and what it takes to get a prestigious PEX Award.

I live in Reigate which is where I've grown up. My family and friends are all nearby so that's where I make home. Door to door, it’s about an hour and a half each way to the office in the City of London.

A typical Monday morning usually means a very busy diary. I'll have meetings with my management team to tackle whatever new priorities may have come in over the weekend or unfinished business from the previous week. Occasionally some of our work challenges can involve last minute activity which has to be urgently resolved.

I run operations for a Third Party Management in the bank – this is a part of our Global Procurement function. I oversee two operational sites – one in Bucharest and the other in Berlin. Alongside day-to-day operations, we oversee a number of critical projects and ensure they stay on track. We also work in partnership with our auditors and regulators. The world of operations is never the same from one day to the next with lots of highs and lows.

I’ve certainly had experience of driving process change throughout my career. I started my career on the BT graduate training program back in 1996. I always remember my first project, when I was asked to support a client process review and helped out with some very basic workshop support. I was asked to document the process that we had reviewed and I really got into it. I loved the engagement with the client, analysing the processes that they were having challenges with and discussing where the pain points were. I found a role for myself in process modelling and analysis, including the use of sophisticated process tools - and got really specialised in this.

These were the kind of skills that got me involved in more and more projects. I then got entrusted with more responsibility, leading workstreams in a project, then given my own small project, stepping up into running major programmes for my clients. For the first 9 years of my career, I learnt my trade in process change before I joined a major consulting firm and headed up their process transformation practice.  I then went into the financial services industry and spent 3 years in retail banking, before enjoying the last 6.5 years in investment banking with Deutsche Bank.

The 20+ years of my career has always been focused on understanding process problems and working to make significant improvements to their performance. I have spent the last 2.5 years running an operations function as well as making change from within, which is a really challenging but rewarding role.

I have found that having these process skills and experience have been transferable across many industries.  I have worked across telecommunications, financial services, local & central government, and transport & logistics.

The process change I am involved with right now is driving wholesale changes to Deutsche Bank’s vendor risk management processes.  This involves many of my colleagues across our bank who play a massive role in the transformation successes.

Vendor risk is a challenge all industries face – not just in Financial Services. There are a number of high profile examples where organisations have not had adequate risk oversight over their third party support. A vendor’s control weaknesses have been exposed or exploited, which has led to significant loss of service or even worse, criminal activity.

In Deutsche Bank, we outsource a large volume of services to third parties. My day job is to run the operations to oversee the vendor risk management processing and ensure our vendors meet our strict standards. My team and I also play a role with improving the end-to-end performance through operational excellence improvements.  We work across multiple teams in Deutsche Bank to make this happen, and cannot do this without the great work with many of our colleagues who perform a role in this end to end process. This has been a big transformation journey for over two and a half years now.

The most challenging part for our change work is always people related. The reasons for transformation succeeding or failing is always down to people. The tone from the top is that our senior leaders are fully behind our work and this percolates down the organisation. Executing against our change agenda is a big part of my day job and requires working with the relevant stakeholders, senior people and a fantastic team to make this successful. Without this commitment, there will be little buy-in to supporting this and we would be pretty much dead in the water.

My work in Deutsche Bank has given me the opportunity to work globally across Group Finance, Client Onboarding and now in Global Procurement. There has always been a major process improvement lens to my work, understanding the major challenges and pain points that we experience and through our great teams, work collectively to improve our business outcomes.

Outside work, I love sport. If I have the time, I’ll go for a run in the evening. It’s my thinking time and helps me to get everything in perspective. I like to always think about how we can improve. Thinking about what we've got to get done this week and next week; how the team are getting on and how we can get better at what we do. It's a busy job, I love it and I sleep well!