IT Life: The ‘Human-Centric’ CEO


Fujitsu UK and Ireland CEO tells TechWeek about his career in IT and his love of music

Michael Keegan is Fujitsu’s UK and Ireland CEO and has been with the Japanese manufacturer for eight years. But he’s not always been in tech with a background in finance and a penchant for music.

He’s worked on payment technology for MasterCard helping to make using a credit card safer, but he feels the healthcare industry is the sector that will be revolutionised by new innovations over the next decade. Just don’t mention Leo Apotheker.

From banking to technology

Michael Keegan Fujitsu UK CEO 2Tell us something about your IT career

I got into IT by mistake. I’m a banker by profession and I got lost one day during my banking career, wandered into the wrong room and now years later I’ve ended up here!

At my heart I’m a commercial animal, not a career IT professional. I started in banking then moved into a career at MasterCard where IT and banking intersected.

It’s been a pretty varied path to where I am now with work in banking, banking and technology, global companies, start-ups, the public sector and now a global IT company.

What tech were you involved with ten years ago?

Ten years ago I was working at MasterCard developing new smart card payment technology. It was at this time when magnetic stripe cards were the norm and fraud was going up and up.

I was involved in creating the operating systems for the different types of chip that made up the new smart cards. Developing the security protocols, OS, applications, how the chip interacted with the reader and how much data is held on the chip and on the servers they were talking to. This was about as completely different to the mag-stripe as you could get.

What I’m most proud of is working on MULTOS which is an OS allowing chip cards to carry different applications on one chip, in the same way that a smartphone running android allows more than one application to run. This had never been done before and now there are over 500 million MULTOS cards out there. We created, patented and launched that technology to market and years later this technology is in the hands of millions of people.

What tech do you expect to be involved with in ten years’ time?

I think technology will significantly change our healthcare system in the next ten years. With a population who are living longer the ability to monitor and prevent health problems remotely and accurately without visiting the Doctor will be a fascinating and significant step. Technology will completely revolutionise preventative healthcare and it will be fascinating to be involved in it during this revolution.

Who is your tech hero (and why)?

I don’t know his name, but the inventor of the electric guitar has to be my tech hero.

Who is your tech villain (and why)?

I think I would have to say Leo Apotheker. In just two years he took HP to the brink of disaster and nearly destroyed a great company.

Fujitsu growth

What’s your favourite technology ever made? And which do you use most?

I’m in love with my Samsung Health app that tracks the steps I have taken and how much I’ve run. I’m addicted to it.

What is your budget outlook? Flat? Growing?Fujitsu_LIFEBOOK_AH530_VFY_AH530MP502GB_Laptop_medium

Growing! The company has got itself to a really good place over the last three years and has a solid platform to achieve scale. Globally, we are a much more integrated company meaning we can deliver to our clients the same high level of service and expertise worldwide.

That, twinned with the upswing in the UK economy means we are seeing a more confident customer base. We’re really confident about our future.

Apart from your own, which company do you admire most, and why?

Capita. It has a consistent record of strong growth over many years with improved shareholder returns. That’s the type of track record every company should aim for.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

Lead guitarist in The Damned. I was really into punk when I was younger and I hung out with The Damned a fair bit back then and I see them from time to time even now.

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