Mike Harris speaker

Mike Harris

Founding CEO of Egg and Firstdirect, and Co-founder of Monument Partners

Mike Harris was the creator of Firstdirect, the world’s first 24/7 telephone bank – which launched in 1989. Firstdirect is famous for delivering consistently outstanding customer service, regularly ranking number 1 in surveys covering all industries.

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Mike Harris's videos

What Mike Harris's clients say

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Languages: 

  • English
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Mike Harris's 2022 biography

Mike Harris’ background

In 1998 Mike launched Egg, one of the world’s first internet banks and for many years the largest, which he took from concept to a £1bn public company within 3 years.

In between Firstdirect and Egg – he was Chief Executive of Mercury Communications (which was responsible for ending BT’s monopoly in the highly regulated telecoms sector) and was Chairman of mobile phone company One to One (during its launch of the worlds first digital GSM network).

Mike was a regular speaker on strategy, leadership and innovation at the mid career MBA course at MIT from 1996 to 2008 and was Chairman of the Innovation Board at Royal Bank of Scotland from 2005 until March 2009, where he supervised the establishment of a group wide innovation programme. During this time he was also a founding investor and Chairman of digital identity company Garlik until its sale to Experian in late 2011.

In 2007 Mike wrote a book on innovation and entrepreneurship called Find Your Lightbulb. In 2009 he co-founded Find Your Lightbulb Ltd which developed a structured mentoring programme, called IconicShift, based on the ideas in the book. Businesses which have been on the IconicShift programme include companies involved in FinTech, pharmaceuticals, veterinary health, consumer health care, food, fashion, micro-finance, law, business training, secondary education, publishing, investment advice & management and architecture & design.

In 2012 Mike co-founded Monument Partners, a boutique advisory firm, now focused on investment opportunities in the global FinTech space.

Mike grew up in Dudley, West Midlands. His grandfather created a business in 1920, called Fred Corbett’s Garages Ltd which grew to become “Dudley’s Leading Motor Agent” and still operates today on the same premises. Mike spent his early life living in the extended family which occupied several houses on the site of the business. It was a perfect education in the art of creating and growing a business based on exceptional customer service.

Having no desire to be involved in the family business, however, Mike studied Chemistry at University College London. Intrigued by the growing influence of computing power on lead research, chemistry research, Mike got his first job a software company called Computer Analysts and Programmers. Midland Bank recruited him from there and he stayed until 1986, ending up as Head Of Systems and Programming, responsible for 500 professional staff.

Describing this as the most boring job he could imagine he left to join a small technology company called Space-Time Systems which was just concluding a Series C investment round. The company got a rapid exit through a trade sale and Mike filled in some spare time with a number of consultancy assignments.

During one such assignment he was able to pitch the idea of Firstdirect to Midland Bank where it was enthusiastically backed by Chairman Sir Kit McMahon.

Mike Harris's 2022 talks & topics

Building an Innovation Habit

With examples from his own companies and many others Harris illustrates how almost any company can power up growth by an approach to business model, proposition, product and service innovation based around systematic customer insight and segmentation.

Identity and Privacy in the Digital Age - The Shocking Truth

Based on his experiences at Garlik and supported by work undertaken at Privacy International and by leading criminologists, Harris explains how a surprising amount of personal and sensitive information is easily available on the internet to anyone who wants to check us out or steal our identities.

Precautions most people take such as buying a shredder or installing firewalls and virus checkers are valuable in their own right but don’t help with this problem. With case studies ranging from financial fraud and people being turned down for jobs, to people being arrested for offences committed by someone who had stolen their identity Harris illustrates the problem and explains the practical steps and legal remedies available to us.

On the Leading Edge: technology and Business

Adapting to Change

Leading Breakthrough Strategies

Almost all start ups are constantly faced with producing results that are beyond the predictable. The lessons learned from successful start-ups can be applied to any organisation seeking to reinvent itself and produce breakthrough results.

Harris is uniquely qualified to speak on this topic: given five successful start-ups, his Leadership of organisational reinvention at Mercury Communications and his advisory roles to public sector bodies and the Royal Bank of Scotland.

Innovating on the Edge of Reason

A personal story of Harris’s experiences of building innovative new businesses and services. Peopled by a fascinating cast of characters including Princes, Prime Ministers and Shakespearean actors, and containing numerous sanity challenging episodes this is a light hearted exploration of how to stay on track and keep the innovations rolling through whilst all around you seem determined to distract you.

At its heart this presentation contains a serious message about the place a leader has to stand to make innovation happen.

Customer Engagement 2.0

Implementing Innovation

The Challenge of New technology

New technology is constantly challenging many industries to reinvent their approach to dealing with customers. From the demand for multi-channel strategies in Financial Services to the threats posed by the apparently converging strategies of the Internet giants (Google, Yahoo, EBay, Amazon) around a Search/Find/Obtain model nothing stands still for long.

With his experience of adopting new technologies to transform industries and his current role at Garlik, on the leading edge of deployment of new internet technologies based on the semantic web model (with Tim Berners-Lee on his advisory board), Harris can give a wide perspective on current challenges and ways of dealing with them.

High Performance Leadership

Business Success

Corporation Leadership

Mike Harris's 2022 speaking fees

Mike travels from:
  • United Kingdom

Specific fees fall within the ranges shown. These are presented as a guide only and are subject to change without notice.

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