May 17, 2020

Holland & Barrett appoints Starbucks' VP for Technology Mark Fabes as CIO

mark fabes
Callum Rivett
2 min
Health food retail chain Holland & Barrett has poached Starbucks' Vice President for Technology to fill their newly-created role of Chief Informatio...

Health food retail chain Holland & Barrett has poached Starbucks' Vice President for Technology to fill their newly-created role of Chief Information Officer.

Mark Fabes will be tasked with making Holland & Barrett experts at using data from its website and loyalty scheme to help drive customer, brand and business insights.

Fabes, who spent nearly two years at Starbucks, is the first major appointment made by Holland & Barrett since it was bought by Russian investment firm L1 Retail for £1.8bn in June.


Having been UK IT Director at McDonald's for nearly six years, Fabes has been an expert in the IT industry for the past 30 years.

A position as European IT Manager at Converse in 1990 kickstarted his career, enjoying seven fruitful years before moving on to Allders where he held the post of Head of IT.

In May 2005, Fabes joined Whitbread Group - owner of Costa Coffee, Premier Inn and Beefeater Grill - as Director of Business Support Systems, operating across supply chain, finance and HR.

Fabes was then responsible for Starbucks' strategy for 2,500 stores across 39 different countries in the EMEA region during his 22-month spell as VP of Technology.



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Jun 15, 2021

China Takes Additional Step to Control Big Tech’s Data

Elise Leise
3 min
The Chinese government wants big tech companies like Tencent and Tiktok to hand over their immense stores of user information ─ and they’ll force it by law

China’s new Data Security Law will take effect on September 1st, allowing the government major control over the collection, use, and transmission of data. Tech companies have grown exponentially in terms of market size and overall power, and the Chinese government has no interest in alternative power hubs—especially those that belong to private enterprise. 


With its Thursday legislation, companies will face extravagant fines if they export data outside of China without authorisation. The Chinese government claims that this will create a legal framework and help companies from taking advantage of citizens, but according to analyst Ryan Fedasiuk from Georgetown University’s Centre for Security and Emerging Technology, “China’s push for data yet another move to strengthen the role of the government and the party vis-à-vis tech companies.”


How Do Other Countries Approach Data Privacy? 


  • Europe: The EU Charter of Fundamental Rights assures EU citizens the right to data protection. The bloc’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), passed in May of 2018, put stringent restrictions on commercial data collection. 
  • Canada: 28 federal, provincial, and territorial laws govern consumer data privacy; DLA Piper ranks the country’s data protection legislation as heavy, in comparison to Russia (medium) and India (limited). 
  • The United States: As usual, the States doesn’t have a single comprehensive federal law for data privacy. Instead, its lawmakers have passed hundreds of local and state acts, many of which are seen by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)


China, in contrast, thinks data should be a national asset and has written data collection into its five-year plan. Although its new legislation will help curtail private access to consumer data, the government may be the final beneficiary. 


What Will China Do With the Data? 

According to advisors, consumer data can mitigate financial crises and viral outbreaks. It can protect the interest of national security—no surprise—and help the government with criminal surveillance. Right now, Chinese regulators have summoned 13 major tech firms, including Tencent,, Meituan, and ByteDance, to meet with China’s central bank. Communist Party Chief President Xi Jinping can shut down any companies found violating the new privacy laws, as well as hit them with a fine of up to 10 million yuan—US$1.6mn


How Will Laws Affect Foreign Firms? 

Now, foreign firms must store data on Chinese soil, a practice that many companies protest will infringe on their proprietary data. So far, Tesla will comply: in late May, the electric car manufacturer promised to build more Chinese factories and keep the resulting information within Chinese borders. In fact, businesses hoping to start China-based businesses—such as Citigroup and BlackRock—will have to comply with the “data-localisation laws”. 


The Chinese government has framed data as a critical source of intelligence for the party and central government. “You have the most sufficient data, then you can make the most objective and accurate analyses”, Mr Xi told Tencent’s founder, Mr Ma. “The...suggestions to the government in this regard are very valuable”. 


Greater digital control is coming, that’s for sure. Mr Xi has named big data as an essential part of China’s economy, right up there with land and labour. “Whoever controls data will have the initiative”. 

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