Payment Strategy Lead at Virgin Media O2
David Cox's career is a testament to the power of adaptability, perseverance, and a penchant for diving into new realms. Tracing his footsteps reveals a continuous thirst for knowledge, a knack for identifying opportunities, and a commitment to delivering excellence in all his ventures.
Cox's academic journey started in Somerset, England, where he left school equipped with 10 O levels. His next step led him to study four A levels - maths, economics, accountancy, and physics. Instead of taking the conventional university route, Cox's affinity for numbers nudged him towards the world of banking. He reminisces: "I always had an interest in [banking] with my mathematical skills."
His first tryst with payments was, amusingly, at the age of eight. Working at a corner store and receiving payments in the form of cakes, chocolates and fizzy drinks, little did he know that this would be the starting point of a vast and varied career. Later, as he delved into the banking sector, Cox immersed himself in the intricate workings of back-office processes, cashiering, foreign exchange and more, eventually leading multiple branches of NatWest.
Life took a turn when his twins were born in the early 2000s, pushing him to explore new career avenues. This exploration led him to run franchise Ben Sherman stores, providing him invaluable retail insights. His retail experience would later play a pivotal role when he joined Virgin Mobile in 2003. At Virgin Mobile, he swiftly climbed the ladder, with his roles evolving from managing call centre teams to overseeing customer finance teams and fraud prevention.
Cox's journey at Virgin was marked by growth, innovation and adaptability. Drawing from his earlier retail experiences, he played a pivotal role when Virgin Mobile sought to open its stores. And as the brand underwent multiple mergers, his role kept evolving, bringing him to his current position overseeing payments across all channels. "No one day is the same," Cox says, underscoring the dynamic nature of his role.
An interesting facet of Cox's character is his ability to draw lessons from varied experiences and apply them to new challenges. Reflecting on his time at Virgin Mobile during its nascent years, he fondly remembers how Richard Branson's belief that ‘happy employees equals happy customers’ fostered a vibrant and inviting work culture. "[Virgin] was an exciting business to join when it was such a new business," Cox reflects.
Challenges have been aplenty, especially in the rapidly evolving payments industry. But David's approach to navigating them is telling of his leadership style. He emphasises the importance of staying ahead of technology, ensuring consumer trust and making well-informed decisions. His mantra? Assess each solution, keep abreast of market changes, and always prioritise the customers' trust.
But what drives David Cox? A glance at his inspirations provides some insight. From fictional characters like Captain Kirk and Dr Who to real-life figures like Adele Williams, Cox draws inspiration from those who challenge the status quo and overcome adversity. The best advice he ever received resonates deeply with his journey - "Work hard and never give up." And indeed, Cox's trajectory is a shining example of this very ethos.
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“For me, we're so much more than a large technology company. There's a responsibility on us as a strategic partner to nations, and as a partner to governments.”