John Schlesinger

Chief Enterprise Architect

“People who want to be technologists can join Temenos and know they can get to the top.”

When John was negotiating his role at Temenos back in 2010, he had a big red line: his was not to be a managerial role. Ever. “If I don’t manage anyone, I can’t be conflicted,” he says from his home in Dublin in the Republic of Ireland. Twelve years later, he might still be a lone wolf, but he has grown very close to his pack. “My team is Temenos. And our partners,” he says.

John’s job was, and still is, to look at where Temenos should invest for the future. “I want to influence, explain where we need to go and why. My time horizon is different to everyone else’s. The sales team has to look at what we have now and sell it. Developers have to look at what we’ve decided we want and develop it. My horizon is where we’re going,” he explains.

This means being significantly ahead of the game and waiting for software developers to turn his ideas into reality. According to his fellow Temenosians, this has happened. John was recently told by a colleague that he’d been giving the same presentation for nine years and that the Temenos product now looked like his presentation—something he took as a compliment.

John arrived at Temenos after an illustrious career at some of the world’s leading consultancies and software companies, bringing with him a set of principles that he believes must be applied to all enterprise software, including banking software, if it is to be successful. Among these are that it should be asynchronous (which allows programs to do more than one thing simultaneously) and autonomous (data driven to keep evolving), and that it must scale. Consistently, he’s applied these principles to concepts put forward by colleagues. If the concepts failed even one, he wouldn’t give them his support.

He’s also brought a clear vision for the company—a clean line of business that focuses exclusively on banking software. “If we can sell what we make only to a bank we should do it. If it can be sold to anyone doing anything else, it should be done by someone else,” he says. This approach has allowed Temenos to concentrate its resources on being the best at what it does.

Another strict line he’s taken is to ensure that technologists are valued and promoted without having to become managers. He believes the Temenos Fellows Program—an idea he proposed and has long championed—feeds into this as it celebrates colleagues right across the company. “People who want to be technologists can join Temenos and know they can get to the top,” he says, adding that this is vital as they’re the ones who will secure Temenos’s future—along with those in sales.

Although he was accustomed to changing jobs every two years, at Temenos he stayed, persuaded by the then chief executive David Arnott. He has no regrets and is as motivated as ever to make Temenos as good as it can be. “I want us to deliver world-class software. Software runs the world,” he says.

“I want us to deliver world-class software. Software runs the world.”

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