Matt Pullen is CyrusOne’s Executive Vice President and Managing Director for Europe. He is responsible for driving the growth of CyrusOne's European portfolio, and, with his team, he is delivering data centre excellence to its global client network.
What is CyrusOne, and what has it achieved since its foundation?
CyrusOne is a leading global data centre developer and operator, specialising in delivering state-of-the-art digital infrastructure solutions.
We have come a long way since our beginnings in 2001 – we now have more than 50 high-performance mission-critical facilities worldwide ensuring the continued operation of digital infrastructure for nearly 1,000 customers, including approximately 200 Fortune 1000 companies.
What led you to the data centre industry?
I went to Reigate Grammar School – Keir Starmer was a few years above me, and David Walliams was a few years below me! – and then for university, I went to Cass Business School and studied Property Valuation and Management.
Following my degree in real estate, I joined the real-estate services company CBRE (then known as Richard Ellis) and worked to qualify as a chartered surveyor.
While working on the AT&T account, I was sent on training programmes in the US, where I learnt the basics of telecommunications. This proved very handy when the telco boom occurred in the late ‘90s!
I became a go-to subject matter expert and, over time, formed my own data centre team. We were busy helping the real estate side of the telecoms network deployment – landing stations, building small data centres and establishing points of presence – which gradually grew, to bigger data centres, colocation staff facilities and more.
It was that exposure to the telco boom that helped me discover my passion for data centres and allowed me to build on my experience in the enterprise data centre market, to get to where I am today. I still find the foundation of what I learned back then useful today, particularly with the industry undergoing its hyperscale phase of development.
How does CyrusOne, and you personally, work towards greater sustainability?
Having worked in the data centre industry for most of my career, it is clear that now is a pivotal time for taking action.
CyrusOne is a founding member of the European Data Centre Association’s Board of Climate Neutral Data Centre Pact Europe (CNDCP) and one of over 70+ companies and associations in Europe committed to taking the necessary steps to make data centres climate neutral by 2030. As such, being appointed to the Pact was an immensely proud moment for me – and CyrusOne as a whole.
In this role, I work alongside my fellow directors to set the direction for the CNDCP, work closely with the European Commission, liaise with work groups representing each of the four pillars of the Pact (energy efficiency, clean energy, water and circular economy) and oversee decision-making.
Through sustainable design, the implementation of renewable resources, operational excellence and more, we are working tirelessly to make progress towards our pledge.
During your time at CyrusOne, what has been your biggest lesson?
In Europe, we have a limited number of customers who are the largest companies on the planet. You cannot interface with those customers without having a mature, suitably sized organisation.
The lesson I have learned is that you have to grow your team in line with the growth of the business and not behind it.
What motivates you in your career?
Seeing people succeed. A large proportion of the capacity demand in our industry is driven by a small number of customers. Those are some of the largest clients and most demanding companies in the world.
As such, it is very motivating to see my organisation deliver for, and be trusted by, our customers. It means I have hired the right people, put them in the right roles and kept them focused and highly motivated.