Simon Harbridge

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Simon Harbridge

Chief executive, Stone Group

What is your greatest career move to date?

Becoming chief executive of Stone Group was the greatest privilege that I have had in my career. But looking further back, the decision to move into the technology and IT sector was the best move I ever made - it's such a fascinating, fast-moving and ever-changing environment with the potential to impact our planet and every aspect of our lives in such a positive way.

What is top of your bucket list?

To play in the Masters. However unlikely that is to happen, I will be taking one step closer in May 2017 when I become one of the first amateurs to play on the newly refurbished course at Sawgrass, right after the Players Championship.

What has changed most since you started working in the channel?

We are now seeing the applications of big data, machine learning and the Internet of Things touching every aspect of our lives, from education to health and our homes. No longer is innovative technology just for big business and academia, it's front page news and it's in your home. This has to be one of the most exciting times to be in the technology industry.

How do you think Brexit is going to affect the channel?

Overall, in the long-term, it will be of benefit to the UK - a strong UK and economy can only benefit the channel. Our industry holds many proactive, clever and flexible people who will thrive as a result of a strong UK and increased relevance on the world stage.

What is your least favourite task during the working day?

Without a doubt, it has to be managing my inbox and the sheer number of irrelevant emails I receive daily - something I think we can all relate to.

If you were an animal, what would you be?

A tiger. My territory is vast but I have to have intimate knowledge of it all.

If you won the big one on EuroMillions, what would you do?

First I would buy Stone Group outright - I just couldn't give up the day job; it's too much fun. I would also increase support to my favourite charities, and spend a lot more time on the golf course.

What is your worst habit?

Trying to fit far too much into one day.

How has 2016 been for you?

It's been a year of different challenges. As a country we have faced some real uncertainties, and as a sector we have had to react as best as we can. Looking back on it now, it's been really encouraging to see how well the technology sector has coped and continued to innovate in the face of these challenges. At Stone, I have been humbled to witness the way in which everyone has pulled together to push the business forward.

If you didn't work in the IT channel, what would be your dream career?
I always wanted to be a professional cricketer, but given my age, that has now turned to golf. I just can't handle running around in the field any more.

What major issues will the channel face in 2017?

New, disruptive players will always emerge, especially in the channel and differentiating yourself in an ever-growing global market continues to be a real challenge. But you might need to ask me in six months' time what the biggest challenge will be - because no doubt it's something we have yet to hear about.

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