Aji Bawo

Current Role: Head of Product - Product Lifecycle

Joined Tesco: 2002


17 years strong with Tesco Technology

Can you talk about your background and the role you do now?

I started off as a Graduate in Tesco, 17 years ago as a Software Engineer after completing a degree in Computer Science. During my time at Tesco I’ve been a Database Developer for Tesco Direct and Product Manager for our Online business, which led me down the path of Technology Change.  I’ve been Head of Product for Product Lifecycle now for around 2 years.  I work alongside the most fantastic team – we are responsible for capturing the product data of all of the products we sell, managing the systems for the development of our own brand products, and looking after the quality of the products we sell to customers. We do this across general merchandise and food, and we've just launched the products into Central Europe as well, so it’s a busy time!

What impact does your role have on the wider business?

The role is based around aligning all of the processes, policies and systems that we have globally across Tesco and to make sure that all of the information held is legally compliant – for example, making sure that our customers are seeing the correct allergen information on our products.  Along with other internal teams, we also we make sure that we are monitoring the factories where our food production happens and that everything that happens in production is ethical and the products picked for our stores are of the highest quality.

The tech I use from day to day includes working with Engineering teams across India and UK where we use artificial intelligence and machine learning automation to solve some really exciting customer problems. Currently we are looking at sustainability, packaging and how we can support Tesco’s net zero target. Not only is it really exciting work, but it’s great for the planet, too.

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"That saying of “work like you don’t have kids and raise a family like you don’t have a job” does not ring true for me. I can pick up my kids when I want to, and I can get my job done to a great standard. "

What are some of the things you love about working for Tesco Technology?

I have 4 wonderful children (sometimes :)) and I don’t know of any other company that is as flexible as Tesco.  I don’t have a work-life balance, I have a work-life blend.  It works for me, it works for my family and it works for Tesco.

That saying of “work like you don’t have kids and raise a family like you don’t have a job” does not ring true for me. I can pick up my kids when I want to, and I can get my job done to a great standard. This means I don't miss things like Christmas plays. I can be there for my children but I’m also there for my team, for those big deliverables for our customers and our business. The culture in Tesco Technology should be celebrated.  I don't see a lot of companies that encourage you to be authentic, do your job brilliantly and manage your home life brilliantly as well. That's one of the things I love about Tesco. That's one of the reasons I'm still here

There are statistics out there suggesting that a staggering 56% of women in technology are leaving their employers, mid-career.  This is a huge shame for the industry collectively. We know that balancing a tech career and care - giving is extremely challenging, but the inclusivity at Tesco is one of a kind and I can truly have the best of both worlds.

How do you keep your learning up to date?

I am an academic at heart, so I do a lot of reading, mostly using Audible so can do it on the go. But Tesco offer a lot of free resources and courses that support this. I have just graduated from a 12- month executive leadership course that has been supported by Tesco. I feel at home here, but not too comfortable that I am not learning and evolving, it’s that sweet spot.

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