Clive Humby

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Clive Humby
Clive Robert Humby

(1955-02-03) 3 February 1955 (age 65)
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] [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.”[12]

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.[13] In 2013 they became investors in Purple Seven, a theatre and arts analytics company, to evaluate the cultural behaviour of 19 million UK consumers.[14]

In 2014, Humby was invited to join Starcount as Chief Data Scientist and the company acquired H&D Ventures in the process.[15] Starcount is a data and analytics consultancy focused on exploring and extracting data-based insights.

Leadership style[edit]

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 eg: 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". Retrieved 2019-04-30.
  2. ^ "EDWINA DUNN AND CLIVE HUMBY TO JOIN STARCOUNT | Harnham Recruitment post". Harnham. Retrieved 2019-04-30.
  3. ^ "Clive Humby". The University of Sheffield - Alumni. Retrieved 2019-04-30.
  4. ^ Times, The Sunday (2011-01-16). "We know what you put in your shopping basket". The Sunday Times. ISSN 0956-1382. Retrieved 2019-04-30.
  5. ^ "Understanding the customer through their data: an interview with Clive Humby | StatsLife". Retrieved 2019-04-30.
  6. ^ Smale, Will (2014-11-24). "The couple who changed the way we shop". Retrieved 2019-04-30.
  7. ^ Shuckburgh, Hannah (2015-02-14). "Married to the job: what it's like to work with your partner". Daily Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 2019-04-30.
  8. ^ "How Edwina Dunn and Clive Humby launched the Clubcard". MoneyWeek. 2015-12-21. Retrieved 2019-04-29.
  9. ^ "Dunnhumby Competitors, Revenue and Employees - Owler Company Profile". Owler. Retrieved 2019-04-30.
  10. ^ Arthur, Charles; editor, technology (2013-08-23). "Tech giants may be huge, but nothing matches big data". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2019-04-30.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  11. ^ Firican, By George; April 22, 2019. "How Data Is (And Isn't) Like Oil". Transforming Data with Intelligence. Retrieved 2019-04-30.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  12. ^ Haupt, Michael (2016-05-02). ""Data is the New Oil" — A Ludicrous Proposition". Medium. Retrieved 2019-04-30.
  13. ^ "Social media analytics firm Starcount acquires Tesco Clubcard creators' H&D Ventures business". The Drum. Retrieved 2019-04-30.
  14. ^ "Subscribe to read". Financial Times. Retrieved 2019-04-30. Cite uses generic title (help)
  15. ^ "EDWINA DUNN AND CLIVE HUMBY TO JOIN STARCOUNT | Harnham Recruitment post". Harnham. Retrieved 2019-04-30.
  16. ^ Club, The Supper. "AXA Growth Leaders Series - The Power of Two Edwina Dunn". Retrieved 2019-04-30.
  17. ^ "Sleeping with your business partner". Retrieved 2019-04-29.
  18. ^ "The Royal Academy Development Trust | Royal Academy of Arts". Retrieved 2019-04-30.
  19. ^ "Clive Humby - LetterOne". Retrieved 2019-04-30.
  20. ^ "Holland & Barrett sold for £1.8bn". 2017-06-26. Retrieved 2019-04-30.
  21. ^ Sheffield, University of. "Honorary Graduates recognised during summer graduation 2016 - News - Alumni - The University of Sheffield". Retrieved 2019-04-30.
  22. ^ "Previous Awards - The OR Society". Retrieved 2019-04-30.
  23. ^ "Clive Humby - Leading marketing analyst and specialist in customer retention". Retrieved 2019-04-30.
  24. ^ "Fellows & Patrons | Market Research Society". Market Research Society. Retrieved 2019-04-30.
  25. ^ "Scoring Points". Retrieved 2019-04-30.
  26. ^ Page, Kogan. "Scoring Points". Kogan Page. Retrieved 2019-04-30.