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Brian first entered the world of business selling photocopiers for Xerox in Glasgow, before joining IBM. He was then hired by Michael Dell to run Dell’s operations in UK and Northern Europe. Brian continued to build his career in the digital and tech industries, first as the Managing Director for T-Mobile where he launched 3G in the UK before then moving to Amazon as UK CEO where he was responsible for building-up its UK operations. He is now President of CBI, and Lead NED on the Board of the Ministry of Defence.
Brian McBride has been one of Europe’s foremost digital business leaders for over a decade. After heading Amazon’s UK business, he served as Chairman of ASOS for six years. He is the President of CBI and serves as Chair of Trainline. Brian is also a Senior Adviser with Scottish Equity Partners, and Lazard’s Global Finance Advisory business, is on the Board of the BBC, Abrdn PLC (the former Standard Life Aberdeen), and is the Lead NED on the Board of the Ministry of Defence.
Prior to joining Asos and helping them grow exponentially from modest startup to leading player, Brian was CEO of amazon.co.uk for five years. During his time at the online retail giant their market grew hugely. They expanded from primarily focusing on books and entertainment to providing everything from groceries to sports equipment. He also oversaw the introduction of innovations like the Amazon Marketplace and Amazon Prime.
Brian has served on the boards of organisations from online electrical retailer AO.com to the BBC to Huawei’s advisory board. He was T-Mobile’s UK CEO and held global roles at IBM and Dell. He’s advised government and has worked in the US, Germany, China and Japan, making him a leading authority on technology, customers and disruption. He has consistently led businesses that have revolutionised how consumers buy and what they expect from retailers. In presentations he looks at how this revolution came about, the rise of mobile and social media in retail, and how to engage with and impress the new breed of customer (whoever and wherever they might be). Drawing on experiences from some of the world’s best-known online businesses he considers the common themes across sectors, the potential effects of AI and what the next big trends will be.
By looking at the disruptive forces that have brought us here, from IBM mainframes to smartphones, Brian looks at the lessons from how industries and companies have adapted (or not) to the threats and opportunities. Whilst strategy and agility are vital, Brian proposes that success is ultimately down to leadership. He also considers his personal experiences, comparing more traditional structures to the culture and behaviours of the new tech revolutionaries, from the role of leaders in disruptive startups to Amazon’s leadership principles.
Brian has maintained a range of roles in the technology sector with positions at investment company Kinnevik, and the cycling retailer Wiggle. Before Amazon, Brian’s career included stints at Xerox and IBM, Dell Computers and Lucent (which later became part of Nokia). He has been a Non Executive Director at AO.com, Celtic Football Club, at staffing company SThree, and at Computacenter. He’s also served as a member of the Government’s Digital Advisory Board, which steers the digital delivery of government and public services.
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Internet retail trends