Name: Colin Cobain
Was: IT director for Tesco
Now: Non-executive director at HMRC
Years in grocery: 32

Career background: Cobain spent 11 years at Mars working in IT and market research before moving into retail. He was chief information officer at Rumbelows and held various board level roles at Kingfisher. “Then I did my dotcom start-up but the timing was completely wrong,” he recalls. “When Tesco knocked on the door I jumped - how could I resist the ‘Man United’ of retailing?”

What did you think of Tesco when you joined? “They had great people and amazing customer focus. We massively changed what we did in store, for example with mobile applications and introducing cameras to track queues”

What’s was your biggest achievement in grocery? “Transforming the way IT supported the business. Terry talked about technology as one of the reasons for Tesco’s success. That was a mile away from where they were when I started.”

Why did you leave? “The amount of travelling had become a bit crazy. I live in Reigate, Surrey, but had four different airline Gold Cards.”

What are you doing now? “I’ve been a non-exec at HMRC for three-and-a-half years. It’s a great organisation with lots of really dedicated people. It’s just a shame that the press seem to have it in for them.”

Do you miss anything about grocery? “The pace, closeness to customers and enjoyment of seeing things happen so rapidly. Customers are fairly unforgiving so you have to stay at the top of your game.”