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Clive Humby

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Clive Humby
Clive Robert Humby

(1955-02-03) 3 February 1955 (age 69)
Leicester, England
EducationWyggeston Grammar School, Sheffield University
Known forCo-founder of dunnhumby

Clive Robert Humby OBE (born 3 February 1955) is a British mathematician and entrepreneur in the field of data science and customer-centric business strategies.[1] Since 2014, he has been Chief Data Scientist of the consumer insights company, Starcount.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Humby was born in Leicester. He attended Sheffield University from 1972 to 1975, graduating with a B.Sc. in Applied Mathematics & Computer Science.[3]


Humby joined American data analysis specialists CACI in 1976.[4]

He worked on a project that used data from the 1970 census to plan locations for U.S. Army recruitment offices following the abolition of the draft.[5] He returned to CACI’s UK office in 1977 and contributed to the development of the ACORN classification system.[citation needed]

In 1989, Humby left CACI to become joint founder and Chief Data Officer of global consumer insights business, dunnhumby, with his wife and long-term business partner, Edwina Dunn.[6] The company applied science and technology to customer data, to help businesses understand consumer trends and behaviours.[7] From their relationship with Tesco, they launched the Clubcard in 1995 - the first mass customisation loyalty programme in the world.[8] Dunnhumby has offices in 25 countries employing 1500 people.[9]

In 2006, Humby coined the phrase “Data is the new oil”.[10] Michael Palmer expanded on Humby's quote by saying, like oil, data is “valuable, but if unrefined it cannot really be used.[11][12] [Oil] has to be changed into gas, plastic, chemicals, etc to create a valuable entity that drives profitable activity; so, data must be broken down and analysed for it to have value.”[13]

Humby and Dunn sold their stake in dunnhumby to Tesco in 2011. In 2012, they set up H&D Ventures, a business and data science team exploring the possibilities of telecoms and financial services data.[14] In 2013 they became investors in Purple Seven, a theatre and arts analytics company, to evaluate the cultural behaviour of 19 million UK consumers.[15]

In 2014, Humby was invited to join Starcount as Chief Data Scientist and the company acquired H&D Ventures in the process.[2] Starcount is a data and analytics consultancy focused on exploring and extracting data-based insights.

Humby espouses "The Power of Two" leadership principle. This teaches that the most effective way to operate is by pairing two people with complementary skills, e.g., analysts and marketers. It is a model he and Dunn instigated at dunnhumby, and which he continues to advocate to this day.[16]

Personal life[edit]

He married Edwina Dunn in 1982. They have two children.[17]

Humby is a trustee of the Royal Academy, as well as chairman of the Friends of the Royal Academy.[18]

Board directorships and honours[edit]

He was awarded an OBE for services to Data and UK Business in the 2019 Birthday Honours.

He is on the retail advisory board of LetterOne, an international investment business.[19] He is also a board director of Holland & Barrett.[20]

Humby holds honorary doctorates in engineering from the University of Sheffield, and in Business Administration from Kingston University London.[21] He is an Honorary Companion of the Operational Research Society.[22] He holds Honorary Fellowships of the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications, the Institute of Direct & Digital Marketing, and the Market Research Society of which he is also Patron.[23][24]


Humby, along with Terry Hunt and Tim Phillips co-authored the book entitled Scoring Points.[25] Published in 2008 by Kogan Page Limited, Scoring Points explains how Tesco Clubcard was conceived, launched and developed.[26]


  1. ^ "MT Britain's Top 100 Entrepreneurs 2007". www.managementtoday.co.uk. Retrieved 30 April 2019.
  2. ^ a b "Edwina Dunn and Clive Humby to Join Starcount". Harnham. Retrieved 30 April 2019.
  3. ^ "Clive Humby". The University of Sheffield - Alumni. Retrieved 30 April 2019.
  4. ^ "We know what you put in your shopping basket". The Sunday Times. 16 January 2011. ISSN 0956-1382. Retrieved 30 April 2019.
  5. ^ "Understanding the customer through their data: an interview with Clive Humby | StatsLife". www.statslife.org.uk. Retrieved 30 April 2019.
  6. ^ Smale, Will (24 November 2014). "The couple who changed the way we shop". Retrieved 30 April 2019.
  7. ^ Shuckburgh, Hannah (14 February 2015). "Married to the job: what it's like to work with your partner". Daily Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 30 April 2019.
  8. ^ "How Edwina Dunn and Clive Humby launched the Clubcard". MoneyWeek. 21 December 2015. Retrieved 29 April 2019.
  9. ^ "Dunnhumby Competitors, Revenue and Employees - Owler Company Profile". Owler. Retrieved 30 April 2019.
  10. ^ Arthur, Charles (23 August 2013). "Tech giants may be huge, but nothing matches big data". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 30 April 2019.
  11. ^ Palmer, Michael. "Data is the New Oil". ANA Marketing Maestros. Retrieved 16 May 2021.
  12. ^ Firican, George (22 April 2019). "How Data Is (And Isn't) Like Oil". Transforming Data with Intelligence. Retrieved 30 April 2019.
  13. ^ Haupt, Michael (2 May 2016). ""Data is the New Oil" — A Ludicrous Proposition". Medium. Retrieved 30 April 2019.
  14. ^ "Social media analytics firm Starcount acquires Tesco Clubcard creators' H&D Ventures business". The Drum. Retrieved 30 April 2019.
  15. ^ Graham, Natalie (30 August 2013). "Edwina Dunn: Clubcard founder's points to success". Financial Times. Retrieved 30 April 2019.
  16. ^ "AXA Growth Leaders Series - The Power of Two Edwina Dunn". www.thesupperclub.com. Retrieved 30 April 2019.
  17. ^ "Sleeping with your business partner". www.managementtoday.co.uk. Retrieved 29 April 2019.
  18. ^ "The Royal Academy Development Trust | Royal Academy of Arts". www.royalacademy.org.uk. Retrieved 30 April 2019.
  19. ^ "Clive Humby - LetterOne". www.letterone.com. Retrieved 30 April 2019.
  20. ^ "Holland & Barrett sold for £1.8bn". 26 June 2017. Retrieved 30 April 2019.
  21. ^ Sheffield, University of. "Honorary Graduates recognised during summer graduation 2016 - News - Alumni - The University of Sheffield". www.sheffield.ac.uk. Retrieved 30 April 2019.
  22. ^ "Previous Awards - The OR Society". www.theorsociety.com. Retrieved 30 April 2019.
  23. ^ "Clive Humby - Leading marketing analyst and specialist in customer retention". www.performingartistes.co.uk. Retrieved 30 April 2019.
  24. ^ "Fellows & Patrons | Market Research Society". Market Research Society. Retrieved 30 April 2019.
  25. ^ "Scoring Points". www.goodreads.com. Retrieved 30 April 2019.
  26. ^ "Scoring Points". Kogan Page. Retrieved 30 April 2019.