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Why Goldman Sachs' EMEA tech chief starts every day with a code review

Lara O'Reilly
Executive Producer

Jo Hannaford, Goldman Sachs EMEA head of tech and global head of quality assurance engineering, starts each typical working day with a code review.

Speaking on Yahoo Finance UK’s Global Change Agents with Lianna Brinded show, Hannaford explained she goes into the bank’s repository of three billion lines of code, picks out a piece, and calls the developer to talk to them about it.

“I do that because it sends a message that we really care about that, but also because it makes me happy,” Hannaford said. (You can watch the full Jo Hannaford interview here.)

“If you think about programming and data as being your first-class asset in any company, managing thousands of programmers, you really need to be able to understand what they are doing day-to-day,” she said.

Jo Hannaford, head of EMEA technology at Goldman Sachs. Photo: Yahoo Finance UK

Much like picking up a novel and immediately determining who the author is by their writing style, Hannaford said she could usually identify the person behind certain lines of code.

“I can pretty much, on certain pieces of code, know who wrote them: I actually know the characteristics,” she said.

Hannaford, whose career at Goldman Sachs spans 22 years, said she has worked out why she comes to work.

“Putting remuneration aside for a moment — I don’t want to dismiss that — but I come to work because I really enjoy computing,” Hannaford said. “I think it’s really important to work out what makes you happy.”

Global Change Agents with Lianna Brinded is a new premium video series from Yahoo Finance UK. The show explores the stories of some of the most inspirational women across business, tech, and academia. Catch up on all the latest episodes here.