Continuing our internal speaker series, Ellwood Atfield welcomed Kulveer Ranger, SVP of Strategy & Communications at ATOS, to talk us through his fascinating career in the fields of management consultancy, communications and politics.
Kulveer spent a number of years at City Hall where, amongst other career highlights, he played a role in developing the Oyster Card system and had spent time in many parts of the transport sector including TfL, Network Rail and the Department for Transport – which led to him becoming the Director of Transport Policy under Boris Johnson after he won the Mayoral election in 2008 and, also establishing the Digital Office for London in 2011. Since, Kulveer has returned to industry, initially working for Serco, and now tech-giant, Atos. Impressively, he also sits on the board at techUK, the UK’s largest trade association for the technology industry.
A key takeaway from the talk was the importance of effective communications, for which Kulveer gave the example of launching the Oyster Card. He recalled public worries around data protection and fears that journeys would be logged. The answer to this was responsive comms which helped to build public trust and meant that when Oyster did go live, the launch went smoothly.
In a similar fashion, Kulveer spoke about the need for the technology industry to be more welcoming of Communications as a way to help build awareness, maintain reputation and drive change. In this, he emphasised how welcoming Atos has been of the idea that tech businesses couldn’t remain in the bubble of ‘tech people talking tech’ in attempts to communicate with customers. Instead, the idea that they need to communicate the ‘story’ of the product and what it means for the end customer – what it can do for you, not how it can do it.
He re-iterated, however, that this shouldn’t just be about positive communications, but also about reputation management. Because the dial can change quickly when it comes to corporate reputation and public trust, those in modern comms functions must have the ability both to prevent the dial turning too far and also to steer it back when it does…
Kulveer outlined his involvement in politics, which he described as “a privilege” given his lack of political role models locally when he was younger. His initial interest was driven by his frustration that in spite of the fact that big projects and change were often planned, little was completed. Kulveer wanted to make a genuine impact on the development of the City. The enormous impact that communications can make on whether a campaign is a success, led Kulveer to focus his sights on building a strategic communications career. This led to his current leadership role at global tech giant, ATOS, a role which he combines with a Board position at tech UK.
When asked about future aspirations, although politics wasn’t completely ruled out, Kulveer expressed his belief that since we live in an ever-changing digital world, more effective leadership must follow suit.
Ellwood Atfield would like to thank Kulveer Ranger for coming in to share his experience upon the team.
With a large and dedicated team of consultants at Ellwood Atfield, the team works across interim and permanent vacancies within communications and public affairs, from Board Level to Executive. Get in touch to hear how we can help further your career or build your team.