Founder of First Direct, Mercury and Egg
Executive Chairman of Garlick online identity protection
“My approach – to liberate energy, creativity, innovation and commitment – was a reaction against traditional large organisations, where the fundamental principle seemed to be a nose-to-the-grindstone culture where people are invited to trade in their quality of life for career advancement.” – Mike Harris, 2010
Mike Harris has been involved in a series of hugely successful start-ups. He was founder CEO of telephone banking service Firstdirect (1989) telecoms firm Mercury Communications (1991) and internet bank Egg (1998). Egg went from a start-up to a billion pound public company in two years when it floated on the LSE in July 2000 at a value of £1.3bn.
After Egg Mike became Executive Chairman of Garlik, which he set up in 2005 to develop and distribute its Datapatrol online identity defence software. It allows web users to protect their identities and sensitive financial information from the growing threat of Cyber Crime. By mid-2008 Garlik had raised funding of £10m and was sold to Experian in December 2011. Mike now works with early stage high growth companies through his IconicShift mentoring programme.
Mike’s hallmark is bringing new technology to bear on traditional sectors with rapid and startling results. He challenges accepted beliefs, focusing on what the customer wants and looking for new ways to provide it. Mike is the author of Find Your Lightbulb: How to Make Millions from Apparently Impossible Ideas (Capstone, 2008), in which he laid out the many lessons he has learned over the years on how to build a successful, innovative business with a strong brand and effective corporate culture.
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