VP & General Manager, AWS UK and Ireland
President, Europe and UK&I, Avanade
General Manager, UK, Avanade
Chief Operating Officer, Avanade
Global Senior Vice President of Sales, Avanade
Partner: Europe, Africa and Latin America Technology Sales Lead, Accenture
MBA with Distinction, Imperial College London
B.A.Sc. Econometrics and Quantitative Economics, Nottingham University
"Businesses that truly listen to what it is their customers want—and then adapt accordingly—are the ones that truly thrive. To change is often as much of a cultural shift as it is a technological shift. When culture and tech transform in tandem is when incredible things can happen.”
Darren Hardman was appointed as the VP & General Manager of AWS UK and Ireland in April 2020. Since joining, Darren has bought his wealth of business transformation and strategy experience, partnering with organisations of all sizes—from start-ups, through to the UK’s largest enterprises—to accelerate their customer-centric digital business transformation and help them realise new forms of customer value, leveraging AWS cloud.
Prior to joining AWS, Darren enjoyed a 22-year spell at Accenture, including the joint venture "Avanade." He was a Partner for Europe, Africa and Latin America with Accenture Technology, Global Senior Vice President of Sales and then Chief Operating Officer of Avanade with responsibilities in core operations, P&L, sales and execution, and mergers and acquisitions. His final role there was as European President, with responsibility for directing strategy and operations across 15 geographies. This wealth of experience makes him an expert in leadership, management consulting, business transformation and business strategy.
A highly experienced international business leader with a proven track record of success in global tech organisations, Darren believes that the key to digital transformation lies in a business having the right platform, the right culture and the right leadership. He points out that those businesses that have successfully carried out their own digital transformation in the UK and Ireland are those who have “created a culture of innovation and invested in their platforms, workforce and training. Freedom and empowerment to innovate come from the top down and if an organisation’s leadership embrace this then their workforce will be super-charged to drive their innovation.”
Darren has also been an ambassador for customer-centricity throughout his career, and the customer-first ethos of AWS was one of the main things that drew him to his current role. He argues that the tools are there for customers to truly listen to what their customers want, and those who use those tools best will ultimately be rewarded. He says: “Business should follow the lead of companies like Amazon, listen to what their customers really need—and then innovate quickly and in an agile way to produce those services.”
Darren also has demonstrable expertise in helping a wide range of companies develop their go-to-market strategies by leveraging emerging technology to support business transformation. One particular area of interest for Darren is AI, which, when implemented well, “can bring untold benefits to any organisation”. In his article ‘How to make your organisation smarter’ through AI adoption, he explains: “Automation means the machines can take care of simple everyday tasks that don’t necessarily need a human brain. And, when humans are freed up to focus on more strategic tasks, the business becomes infinitely more competitive, with customers and prospects seeing the rewards from working with a more productive, innovative supplier.”