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Growing bp’s digital expertise: Mariza’s story

23 September 2021

Mariza Fotiou, VP, product ownership and design is on the hunt for great talent to come and join bp on our transformation journey

Mariza was working as HSBC’s Chief Operating Officer, Digital, when she first heard about the digital opportunities at bp, and she admits that hearing from an energy company came as a complete surprise. “My career had revolved around financial services and, quite frankly, I had no idea about the energy industry,” she says. 


But through finding out more about the company’s renewable energy projects she was inspired to take on a new role at bp: 


Although bp’s new net zero ambition had not yet been announced, the message was positive, and the direction of travel was clear – it was about moving towards green energy. The more I learnt, the more interesting bp became.

Mariza joined the company in February 2020 as a digital factory director, working within bp’s specialist digital product development team, to quickly and efficiently build new digital products. She describes how her transition from the finance industry was smooth:


Managing digital products for HSBC exposed me to the technical side of product development and meant I had the skills I needed and could apply them to any industry. And through my role as a COO I got a completely different perspective on all elements of a digital business.

Becoming a digital-first organisation 


Now working as VP, product ownership and design, Mariza’s role is twofold: 


Firstly, it’s about trying to grow our digital capabilities within product ownership and design, where we manage and develop digital products. Secondly, it’s about making sure that my teams are working efficiently and applying the same standards across the board.

Core to the teams’ work is its role in supporting bp’s ambition to reach net zero by 2050 or sooner. As Mariza explains,


In support of bp’s digital transformation we harness human-centric design, combined with advanced technology and data-driven solutions to develop a competitive digital advantage for bp, focused on net zero carbon operations.

She sees digital as a core enabler for bp providing the technological advances required to reduce emissions and improve the way that bp tracks carbon. “Digital is one of the most important skills that our organisation needs to really move the needle. Growing our digital muscle will help bp accelerate in every area, as well as help us meet our net zero target goals sooner,” she says. 


When thinking about the next generation of bp’s digital product owners, Mariza is on the hunt for external perspectives. “We need people who can get to the core of the problems we’re trying to solve”, she explains. “It’s such a large area and complex challenge, we’re always looking for great talent to come and join us on our transformation journey; from analytics and software development, to architecture, product ownership, design and business analysis.”


Empowering people through education 


Outside of work, Mariza is a passionate believer in the power of education to transform lives. During the pandemic, she returned to her native Greece for three months to set up a non-governmental organisation (NGO). CuriousIQ supports marginalised people including refugees, migrants, and young people, helping them to integrate into the work market through technical courses related to data analytics and software development. 


Despite the time constraints that come with running an NGO alongside a full-time career, Mariza feels this venture is particularly energising. “It gives me great satisfaction to know that the work we’re doing is positively affecting people’s lives and giving them a chance for a better future,” she says. “Knowing this gives me a lot of my energy back to keep going despite the challenges.”


As with her background in finance, the skills Mariza has acquired from her non-profit work are highly transferable and serve her well in her role at bp.


People development is something that bp is very focussed on and I’m extremely passionate about. I put this into practice on a daily basis by helping others build up their career in digital and more specifically product ownership capabilities.


Job opportunities at bp