Much-travelled GBG CIO takes on a new identity

Mark Mamone has a long CV and now spreads himself across product development, security and internal systems at UK identity verification giant GBG.


“If I have a computer then the world is my oyster,” Mark Mamone recalls his childhood self-thinking. More than 30 years later he retains an infectious enthusiasm for the digital realm and recently took on the role of group CIO at GBG, a leading developer of identity verification and fraud prevention solutions that has a market cap of over £1.6bn ($2.2bn).

Even by the standards of IT, his career has been remarkably diverse. It has seen him getting down and dirty with cables and terminators, building computers, programming and working at small accounting business in Peterborough, England to massive infrastructure projects at some of the world’s largest organisations.

Mamone has a BSC in Computing from study towards the end of the 1990s but he says he is proof that “you don’t need to go through a structured education programme to be a professional in the world of technology”. Instead, “passion and aptitude” can take you a long way. Experience too…

His career began to take off as the 1980s morphed in to the 1990s and it was still a fairly widely held widely held view that “Windows and the GUI would never fly”. Mamone took a contrary view, becoming an early adopter and then learning C and C++ languages via “hard yards and lots of blood, sweat and tears. He worked on travel agent Thomas Cook’s refund management system, Royal Mail’s global systems, BT, the UK government’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the British Army and learned the nuances of secure contracts at GCHQ where if you forwarded an email “you’d think there’d been a murder”.

Stints with ABM Amro in Chicago, BT again, CSC global cloud projects based on Microsoft Office 365, the Department of Work and Pensions, a critical national infrastructure project worth over £1bn and Serco followed.

When GBG came calling late in 2018, Mamone was intrigued.

“It was identity and fraud, both of which I’d touched in some forms in the past,” he says. “It involved energising and motivating a growing team. As usual, things aren’t always quite as they seem and there have been some clunky bits and some legacy.” But it has been exciting and rewarding too.

Mamone’s time in tech has seen the advent of mobility, messaging, the web, cloud and much else. What are his over-arching conclusions of where we’ve been, where we are, and where we are going?

“My observation of over 30 years is that technology was this needed and silent enabler,” he ponders. “Rarely were the [senior-level] conversations about technology: you only heard about it when things went wrong. Midway through my career it became recognised as important but enterprise architecture frameworks often failed because people applied systems thinking to a business that doesn’t care for that and technology still remained synonymous with failures and delays. Technology needs to be safe, scalable and robust and these are just hygiene factors. But there has been a democratisation of technology: Agile has forced the pace of technology, physical infrastructure [has reduced in importance] and software rules the world.”

At GBG, Mamone holds a hybrid role, focusing about 50 percent on product development, 25 per cent on security and 25 per cent on internal operations.

“I feel entirely empowered not to be a passenger in product development,” he says. “I’ll be the one challenging the team.”

This much-travelled CIO has once again got plenty on his plate as GBG seeks to hire another 50 heads to the 350 Mamone already oversees but that optimism, love of the binary world and can-do attitude leaves him well positioned to cope.