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  • Sarah Harris, Chief Data Officer (Interim), Haleon

Sarah Harris, Chief Data Officer (Interim), Haleon

Describe your career to date 

I have over 20 years of experience in data, having worked in a range of roles from strategy, value-led analytics insights as a service, solutioning, and data services, to complex programme delivery and architecture. I feel privileged to have built a career across both consulting and industry, as each has brought a different perspective and growth opportunity. 


Having completed a Master’s at Birmingham University, I started my career at Unilever, working in supply chain planning, forecasting, and reporting. I then joined Accenture, initially in technology and then data delivery and digital and analytics, eventually leading the EMEA data and analytics solution architecture team, along with an insights as a service analytics asset for retail customers. This time in consulting gave me experience across multiple industries and clients, working with global and highly matrixed organisations to deliver value led change enabled through data and insights, and provided a great opportunity for broad and deep learning at pace. 


I joined GSK ahead of the demerger of consumer healthcare to launch Haleon in July 2022, a global leader in consumer health. Being part of that complex and exciting journey was a unique career opportunity, bringing together strong cross-functional teams to build a new standalone organisation. During this time, I built the data governance, data management and master data organisation and capabilities for Haleon. 


Haleon combines innovation, deep human understanding and trusted science to improve the health of millions of consumers across the globe. Diversity, equity, and inclusion is at the heart of our purpose to deliver better everyday health with humanity. I am proud to work for a company with such a strong purpose, which encourages us all to bring our very best every day.

What stage has your organisation reached on its data maturity journey? 

Haleon has been investing strategically to grow a strong data capability across the organisation. We are on a journey, and I am confident that we have the right foundations and strategy in place to both support the continued focus on data and to realise data as the true asset to the organisation. Key to this is data ownership, and data quality, in order that we can focus on how we nurture and appropriately exploit our data. 


Tell us about the data and analytics resources you are responsible for

The data office at Haleon has been growing rapidly over the past three years (mostly during Covid) and consists of a passionate team of around 140 skilled data practitioners across data strategy, innovation, data science, data management and governance, augmented through engagement with partners and data service providers for support in further scaling and agility. The team has a global remit with hubs in the UK, US, China, India, and Poland, and is structured to support functions including R&D, marketing, sustainability, supply chain, commercial and finance. 

What challenges do you see for data in the year ahead that will have an impact on your organisation and on the industry as a whole? 

The global macro-economic situation will remain complex and volatile this year, requiring organisations and the industry to be prepared for strategic change and uncertainty. Organisations that can be agile and responsive to changing market conditions will have an advantage. This also creates an opportunity for data functions as data should be pivotal in enabling the required business agility, as well as driving new consumer insights and unlocking new business models for the organisation. 


Additionally, the demise of third-party cookies and increased focus on data and AI regulations will drive further transparency and ownership over data back to consumers and HCPs. Combined with an expectation of speed and personalisation, this means that companies will need to provide more value in exchange for data than ever before.

Have you set out a vision for data? If so, what is it aiming for and does it embrace the whole organisation or just the data function? 

Our data vision at Haleon is to “enable data driven growth for Haleon, with data at our core” and it is very much aimed at enabling and empowering the wider organisation to unlock value in data, through literacy, exploitation, and experimentation in partnership with the data office. The foundations enabling this and ensuring that every decision is powered by data are key and are a strategic priority.


Have you been able to fix the data foundations of your organisation, particularly with regard to data quality? 

Enterprise focus on the data foundations is a key initiative for Haleon, as data is the acknowledged critical component in most strategic initiatives, and opportunities for business agility and exploitation in data science. Data quality is a key enabler and can only be achieved and maintained when coupled with data ownership, stewardship, and governance. Haleon is committed to this journey and I’m excited for the progress we will make in 2023.

Sarah Harris
has been included in:
  • 100 Brands 2023 (EMEA)