Brit bank Lloyds carves out role for ex-Microsoft design guy Dan Makoski

Never mind the cuts and outsourcing – there's always room for a Chief Design Officer

UK banking giant Lloyds has hired former Microsoft design guru Dan Makoski and plonked him in the newly created role of Chief Design Officer.

The bank is keen on "designing great experiences for our customers," according to Lloyds' Zak Mian, group transformation director. Presumably this will involve a bit more than changing the font on the "Sorry we closed your branch" sign, which is becoming an increasingly familiar sight for customers. Perhaps a cheery Comic Sans?

Makoski served at Microsoft from 2003 and was part of the team that designed the original Surface tablet (later PixelSense). The device made for a great tech demo, although did little to trouble the market. He wisely left before the Surface name was slapped on Redmond's disastrous Windows RT-based tablet.

As well as having a design position at Motorola, he was also involved in Google's ill-fated Project Ara, a modular smartphone. Google axed the project in 2016.

Makoski's first day at Lloyds will be next week, although it is not clear what he will actually be working on, other than "human centric design".

Lloyds has been on a six-year "transformation" programme, which the bank claims has seen a significant increase in shareholder returns. The transformation has been so successful that the bank's online portals had to take multiple lie-downs last year to get over the excitement of it all.

Some 500 staff were also turned into IBM employees in September as Lloyds outsourced its IT – such are the magical properties of "transformation".

Lloyds has continued to throw money at its transformation, announcing that £3bn would be spent on, er, cutting more jobs and closing more branches amid the relentless drive to outsource IT and increase profits.

Makoski, a Silicon Valley veteran, professed delight in joining the 300-year-old UK banking institution, promising to use "design to empower true prosperity for people, households and businesses of all sizes and backgrounds".

Prosperity for all bar those who no longer have a role in the newly "digitised" bank, presumably. Those employees will, however, be overjoyed to learn that while there may be no place for them in Lloyds' brave new world, there remains scope to carve out a position for a "Chief Design Officer". ®

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