Roger Binks, Chief Commercial Officer, Kani Payments Limited

Currently CCO of Kani Payments Limited, Roger previously spent seven years at Intu Properties PLC as Customer Experience Director, driving the intu brand and a customer-centric culture. Before joining Intu, Roger was VP of Global Marketing (CMO) at Regus Group Plc (now IWG) for five years, covering CRM, Digital, Field Marketing, PR & Comms, Brand Development, Channel Management, and Customer Insight across 100 countries. Prior to Regus, he worked at Marriott International leading UK customer engagement programs, including Marriott Rewards. He also spent eight years at Dixons Stores Group in Marketing, Operations, and Sales roles.

Recently, in an exclusive interview with CXO Magazine, Roger shared his professional trajectory, insights on the three most disruptive technologies poised to significantly impact the software industry, the best career advice he has ever received, future plans, words of wisdom, and much more. The following excerpts are taken from the interview.

Hi Roger. Please tell us about your background and areas of expertise.

I have spent 25 years building brands in many sectors – fresh out of university I joined Dixons Stores Group [now Currys Ltd].  DSG was where I cut my teeth in marketing, having started in the stores on a graduate training program. I stayed at DSG for 8 years, learning retail operations, product marketing and category management. I moved on to Marriott hotels, where I took up the position of UK Marketing Director – the Marriott brand was all about putting the customer first, listening to their needs and building the brand around the guest. This is where my foundation and passion for customer experience originated, and where I learned how to scale CX through process, training and consistency.  After 3 and half years I moved on from Marriott and took up the CMO role at The Regus Group [now IWG Plc]. This was an international role covering 100+ countries, with 35+ languages and 3000 locations.  Owning the brand of this global business and being responsible for driving demand required the business to transform from a regionally operated business to a centrally lead business.  I achieved marketing centralisation over a period of 2 years, in-housing paid search, web design, brand management, CRM and campaign management.  The Regus job was significant, requiring my management style to be much more of an influencer and leader – providing the teams with the north star and the tools – and allowing them the freedom to deliver.  After nearly 6 years I was approached by Capital Shopping centres to build a team and transform a faceless property business into the UK’s leading Shopping Centre brand “Intu”.  At intu I created & built the brand and a CX programme from scratch, and developed a promotional sales business of over £25m.  This was a fantastic 7 years where I really learned first-hand how to build customer loyalty through great experience. Owning Marketing, Commercial Sales and CX meant I was essentially in control of everything that touched our customers – my detailed and methodical plans helped us grow loyalty, NPS, brand awareness, footfall and commercial income. Sadly, Intu collapsed due to being overleveraged in July 2020.  Following the demise of intu and the arrival of the Covid years I consulted until late 2021. My consulting took me back to IWG as interim CMO, I also supported a couple of tech startups who needed some corporate experience. In Nov 2022 I joined a global tech led Marketing agency called ITG.  ITG was familiar to me [and I them] as they had been my agency at intu – I took up a role of Managing Partner looking after a number of key clients including M&S, Matalan, Co-op and Mitchells & Butlers. My ITG role was focussed on maintaining senior relationships with the clients and growing incomes by developing our account services.

I joined Kani in April 2024 as CCO – the role is to develop the business and grow our customer base as we scale-up.

I am skilled in all aspects of Marketing, Customer Experience and have developed deep knowledge of organisational design, matrix management, business development and leadership.  I am at my most effective in situations where transformation is needed – growing businesses, achieving goals and building great teams is what drives me.

What aspect about your current role brings you the most joy?

Its early days but talking to potential customers about how the Kani platform is able to solve their problems is a great feeling.  Taking away pain points and allowing customers to focus on building their own businesses is our purpose and goal.

According to you, what are the three most disruptive technologies that will be used in the future, especially in the software industry?

The three most disruptive technologies poised to significantly impact the software industry in the future are Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, Quantum Computing, and Blockchain technology.  These technologies are expected to drive innovation and create new opportunities across various sectors, fundamentally changing how software is developed, deployed, and used. Their integration will lead to smarter, more secure, and more efficient systems, pushing us towards a new era in the software industry.

What has been the driving force to get you where you are today?

People.  I couldn’t have got to where I have without having worked with some brilliant people.  Secondly understanding customers and how to build plans that encourage them to consume a brand.  I build plans around the customers – this unlocks success.

Business is all about overcoming obstacles and creating opportunities for growth. According to you, what is the real challenge right now?

In my view the real challenges are with the fragile global economies.  Money is more expensive – getting businesses moving in the current climate is down to focus and knowing what not to do.

What is something that you believe now that has never occurred to you previously? 

Not sure about the “never occurred” bit but in the last 10 years I believe that EQ is arguably the most important leadership quality.  There is a profound impact of emotional intelligence on professional and personal success.  As I grew in my career I focussed on my intellectual capabilities and technical skills as the primary drivers of achievement. However, I’ve come to understand that emotional intelligence—comprising self-awareness, empathy, interpersonal skills, and emotional regulation—is more critical.

What has been your most career-defining moment that you are proud of?

Difficult to pick!  If I had to pick one it would be the airing of the first intu Christmas TV advertising campaign.  I had built this brand and convinced the CEO that investing in TV would enable us to transcend the category.  He trusted me and I [with the team] delivered stella results!  We went on to make a series of Christmas TV adverts – each one more refined and effective than the previous.

What’s the best advice you have received in your career?

You must try, experiment and fail fast.  You have to have more successes than failures – just manage the risk and keep your supporters on side.

How do you motivate yourself and stay motivated?

My motivation comes from setting goals and having a plan.  I stay motivated through working with others – I love to see them succeed.  I exercise regularly, this gives me the energy, clarity of thought and mindset to drive results.

Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?

Transforming businesses with passion, focus and razor-sharp strategy.

What advice would you offer others looking to build their career in technology?

Go for it.  Even if you are not technical.  All you need is determination and the ability to learn.  Be a geek!  Learn, read and experience.

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