The CMO Files: Chris Boorman, Automic

In 20 questions we find out what CMOs love most about their job... and what keeps them awake at night.

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Chris Boorman

Organisation: Automic

Job title: CMO

Location: Ascot, Berkshire, United Kingdom


  1. Where were you born and raised?
    I was born in a little town in England called Okehampton. I was raised on Diamond Mines in Africa.       
  2. What was your first job?
    I spent 7 years at university studying a Physics degree, a Masters in Cryogenics and a Doctorate in Engineering. At that time in England, the Government only funded 6 years of university so I had to fund my last year. I got a job writing computer programs to analyse low cloud formations in the astrophysics department. My highlight was trekking North of the Arctic Circle on a field trip to study the Northern Lights and low altitude clouds. 
  3. What was the first product you got really excited about?
    WordPerfect. I remember writing a research paper on a computer in the wilderness of Africa as the rain pummelled down on the tin roof. It amazed me how easy it was to create something that looked so good! That got me interested in what else you could do with computer tech.
  4. Who has been the biggest influence on your career?
    Geoff Squire OBE – he founded Oracle UK and has been an inspiration to me through my career. An incredible businessman who brought me into Oracle and introduced me to some of the amazing men and women I have interacted with since.
  5. What has been your greatest achievement?
    Apart from my two boys? Well, my career goal was to become the CMO of an American software company. So, it was amazing to finally achieve it with Informatica where I had five absolutely fabulous years with an amazing team.
  6. What has been your biggest mistake?
    Leaving it so long to get a dog! OK, if you’re talking work ... well, quite a few things! But I’ll need to get to know you more before admitting them :-) We all make mistakes, and the textbooks and coaches are all right – you learn from them and move on.
  7. What is your greatest strength?
    Can I mention two things here? I pride myself on my analytical approach and my team-building. Probably because of my time at university, I have always wanted to know how things work and “causality.” This has held me well through my career – particularly as marketing has become a data-driven science. The creativity of marketing is no longer the imagery, but the contribution to business. This is where the team comes in – I try to build good teams by surrounding myself with experts who I trust, empower them and then get out of their way!
  8. What is your biggest weakness?
  9. What do you think is the aspect of your role most neglected by peers?
    Aligning with Sales. I hear a lot in Marketing forums about the issues in aligning and it’s something I try hard to achieve. It takes work – a lot of hard work – but you can’t be an effective revenue engine if you are not aligned with sales. We recently won a Sirius Decisions award for “ROI for Sales and Marketing Alignment”. That was a pretty special award which meant a lot to me.
  10. Which word or phrase is your mantra and which word or phrase makes you squirm?
    “Move on.”  Squirm: “It’s how we’ve always done it.”
  11. What makes you stressed?
    Unnecessary confrontation.
  12. What do you do to relax?
  13. What is your favourite song?
    Waterloo by Abba – I remember it winning the Eurovision song contest when I was in Scotland camping with my parents. Hearing it always brings back great memories.
  14. Which book taught you most?
    “Eat that frog” by Brian Tracey. To quote from the preface ... “There is never enough time to do everything you have to do”. That is so true. It’s such a simple book, but everyone should read it and take notice of what it says.
  15. Do you have a team or sport that you follow?
    Any sport involving England – in particular Rugby, Football or Cricket.
  16. Which country would you like to work in?
  17. Which company do you think has the best marketing?
    Apart from Automic Software J ? Probably EMC (now DellEMC) where my old boss Jeremy Burton is running things. He’s always impressed me with his vision and the scale of his execution.
  18. What do you love most about your job?
    Seeing my team deliver success. Nothing beats success – particularly when you push the team that little bit further than they would like and they come through.
  19. What is your favourite book?
    Oxford Book of English Poetry.
  20. What keeps you awake at night?
    Seriously? My knees! Ok, from a work perspective – pipeline!