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.
Mike Harris's videos
What Mike Harris's clients say
"We wanted someone with a unique point of view, a wealth of practical experience and an ability to connect with the audience. Mike delivered all three brilliantly."
"Makes you think outside your comfort zone."
"Mike Harris is both Inspiring and challenging."
"Mike Harris helped us to set the scene of the conference and brought a great contribution to the event. His double hat (start up & board membership in big companies innovation committee) makes him a very good speaker about innovation."
"Mike is one of the most intelligent, sensitive and diligent innovators and original thinkers I have the privilege and good fortune of knowing. Where we have participated in roundtables together, I was awestruck by the attention to detail, depth and breadth of analysis and thinking Mike displayed in regard to complex banking challenges ranging from eBusiness and eCommerce product development, identity management through to marketing and sales across the demographic strata. We share a common love for Bob Dylan! All round an excellent person."
"Inspiring words on customer insight, leadership, innovation and culture and directly relevant whether you are starting a new business or transforming an existing organisation. My leadership team are still talking about it."
"Mike inspires you to open your mind - and be prepared to think the unthinkable."
"Excellent! Mike Harris always delivers valuable insights into today's key business issues."
"I thought the presentation was outstanding, inspiring our delegates and clearly communicating the key messages around market change and how to address it that I have been impressing upon our customers and my team for the past 12 months."
"Just want to say thank you for a fantastic session yesterday. The O2 guys found it very, very inspiring and are having a Mike Harris feedback slot at their mega work shop today."
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
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
Mike Harris's 2022 speaking fees
- 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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