Peter Anderson, CIO Otto UK, Freemans Grattan HoldingFreemans, Grattan, Kaleidoscope

I worked with Kathrin for six years when I was CIO of OTTO UK and she was a consultant in OTTO’s head office in Germany. Her role was to find and help implement IT related synergy opportunities between different OTTO operating companies, some of which did not have their own IT departments and systems and some, such as OTTO UK, which did.

Kathrin did an excellent job in this difficult role. Two of her achievements stand out in particular for me, one relating to merchandising and one relating to e-commerce.

She very effectively sold the OTTO DE’s merchandise system to OTTO UK as a replacement for its aging and ineffective merchandise system. A number of significant changes to the system were required for the UK and Kathrin worked well to gain agreement to these within OTTO DE and then acted as a point of escalation to ensure that the delivery of the changes was kept on track. This was a major implantation for the UK and Kathrin was critical to its success.

Kathrin saw the opportunity for the development of a new e-commerce platform that could be shared by many OTTO companies. She built agreement for the idea and mobilised the project using a modern development approach and a state of the art lightweight architecture appropriate for such a shared solution. The new system was refined for different OTTO companies and used to implement around 20 trading web-sites.

In both these examples and throughout her work Kathrin showed many fine qualities: the ability to see the big picture but at the same time keep control of many important details; thorough planning and then monitoring of progress; clear and direct communication balanced with political sensitivity; good judgement; and above all a great determination for everything she was involved in to be a success.