CISO, Woolworths Group
Pieter van der Merwe is the Chief Information Security officer at Woolworths Group, responsible for all cyber security activities associated within the Group, which includes iconic Australian brands such as Woolworths Supermarkets, Countdown Supermarkets (NZ), Big W, BWS, ALH,Cellarmasters, Langton’s and Dan Murphys. Based on revenue, Woolworths is one of the world’s largest retailers with over 3,000 stores and more than 200,000 employees across Australia and New Zealand.
Pieter has over 20 years experience in information security spanning a number of geographies and industries. Pieter started his early career as a graduate security administrator in the banking sector, played with some firewalls and encryption for a while and then tried his hand at consulting for 10 years. Pieter returned to the industry in 2015, lured by the illusion of being a CISO, only to find that he now sleeps like a baby – awake and crying for no apparent reason every 3 to 4 hours.
Pieter prides himself in taking a practical approach to information security, and is constantly searching for ways to derive the most value out of the current investments in security processes and technologies, and for getting the basics of security right. This philosophy has enabled Pieter to successfully lead the deployment of a number of security practices and projects throughout his career.