In Episode 12, “Aspirational Ambition”, Gregory Robinson is delighted to talk with Mike Smith OBE. Mike Smith has had a distinguished career in the banking sector and shares the lessons he has learned whilst climbing his way up the executive ladder.

Mike discusses his early career working at HSBC where an invitation to play a game of rugby led to him getting a job at the Hong Kong branch of HSBC. Initially uninformed about banking Mike rallied and went on to lead a team of 200, at the age of 22.

Mike also recalls his time working in Argentina where he took it upon himself to investigate corruption which led to an attempt on his life whilst driving home. Understandably an event like this would send most people packing but as a testament to his character, Mike decided to stay in Argentina, saying that “It’s a question of if I was ready to give in, and I was not ready to give in”.

Mike also discusses how a shared vision of the opportunity to expand into Asia led him to become the Chief Executive Officer of ANZ. He highlights the intricacies of what it was like to be the Head of a multinational bank and highlights the difficulties in opening up ANZ to the Asian market. Ever the contrarian, Mike pushed ahead with his belief in expansion into Asia.

Greg and Mike also deliberate on the current economic conditions that the world today faces. Issues such as Brexit, China and President Trump come to light as well as how society as a whole is changing today, especially the dramatic increase in the influence of social media, with Mike stating that “we pander to issues which create noise on social media”.

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