Source: Steve Husk, FRS Global
Steve Husk of FRS Global takes the Finextra Q&A
Name: Steve Husk
Date and place of birth: Southampton, 14/11/54
Career path: Sungard, Iris Financial Engineering, Infinity Financial Technology, Oracle, Sybase and Comshare
Current posts: CEO, FRS Global
Q: What was your first job?
A: I joined Comshare as a trainee sales executive back in 1979. Comshare was a fantastic company to work for although I didn’t realise it at the time. It was a time of change; Thatcher had just been elected, the City was about to have its Big Bang and Comshare sold time on mainframes. I was fresh out of an MBA in the States, but I was very green.
Q: Who is or was your mentor?
A: Roger Lang was my mentor. He was CEO and chairman at Infinity. Roger’s approach to business was to try to understand the personalities. He is patient when things get stressful and thinks in a clear and decisive manner.
Q: Which business leaders do you most admire?
A: I think it would be Carly Fiorina who also wrote Tough Choices. A couple of years back I was also fortunate enough to see Rudi Giuliani, Lou Gerstener, Jim Collins and Bill Clinton speak. I have to say Clinton stood out as a very special leader and is a fantastic speaker. He received a standing ovation for a two hour presentation he gave without notes.
Q: If you weren’t in your current job, which company would you most like to lead?
A: I really enjoy my present role and cannot think of anywhere else I would rather be at this time.
Q: Do you read books on management theory? If, so which has influenced you the most?
A: I regularly dip into books on management theory. The best of the bunch though is Crossing the Chasm by Geoffery A. Moore. I was with both Oracle and Sybase in their early development and this book is a really practical discussion about the issues you will encounter in start-ups.
Q: Which competitors do you benchmark your company’s performance against?
A: At FRS we set our own goals. We have a very active board of investors - Carlyle and Kennet Partners. At board meetings, we always have lively discussions about what we could do better and sometimes this involves looking at how other companies have done. We rarely focus on one company or competitor but instead look at what best practices we can use from around the market.
Q: What has been your best experience in business?
A: FRS is a great experience and I am really enjoying leading a company to help it to grow. I also really enjoyed working at Infinity. We built a company that became a leader in its field. Its product was used by just about every major international bank in the world. We then floated the company on Nasdaq and eventually sold it to SunGard. It was a fantastic experience. I met some great people.
Q: What was your biggest mistake in business?
A: I’ve made lots of mistakes but is this the biggest mistake I have made today? The important thing is to learn from them.
Q: What keeps you awake at night?
A: Worrying about my kids. FRS is a dream to manage compared to what they can get up to.
Q: How do you relax?
A: I read and I jog. I also watch Southampton Football Club but after the last couple of seasons I cannot say this is very relaxing.
Q: What was the last gadget you bought?
A: A small little charger for my Blackberry that allows me to charge it from the PC. The benefit is you don’t have to lug heavy AC/DC chargers with you.
Q: Favourite Web site
A: I have 4 web sites I visit regularly on the tabs of Internet Explorer: FRS, Southampton Football Club, Google and the BBC.
Q: Desert island disc/book
A: Best book (I most recently read) Salmon Fishing in the Yemen by Paul Torday. Most recent Disc Call me Irresponsible by Michael Buble.