Mike Foster was previously the CEO and Executive Director of Fujitsu Australia and New Zealand (FANZ). In line with restructuring of Fujitsu’s global organization he was appointed as Head of the Oceania Region in April 2014 reporting directly to the Global President. He had been instrumental in driving the company’s business strategy at the enterprise level and to develop Fujitsu’s presence as a Tier 1 Technology Services Integrator with over 5,000 people in Australia and New Zealand.
Mike’s career to date spans over 25 years in the ICT industry in Australia and North America. Prior to Fujitsu, he spent nine years in senior executive positions at Telstra, including Managing Director, Business Sales, and more recently as the Chief Executive Officer, KAZ Group. Before joining Telstra, he was Managing Director, EMC, Australia/New Zealand and Managing Director, NCR Australia.
Mike’s qualifications include a Bachelor of Education from Victoria University, a Master of Strategic Marketing from Charles Sturt University, qualifications in Conducting Business Negotiations, Company Mergers and Acquisitions from Harvard University, and a qualification in Sustaining High Performance from Babson Graduate College in Boston, USA. He is an accomplished public speaker, having actively participated in public speaking at events in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, Beijing and South Korea on various topics including Internet Banking, Electronic Commerce, Electronic Funds Transfer, Relationship Banking, Smart Card Technologies, Electronic Security and Home Banking.
Starting out in his career, Mike was recommended to take a job in an industry that was growing. That industry was the IT sector, and what an impact he’s had.
Coming through the ranks at NCR Corporation and EMC, the foundation of Mike’s career was spent understanding the intricacies of the dynamic sector. He continued to upskill himself through formal and informal learning as well as a variety of roles that demanded different aspects to his operational decision-making and strategic thinking.
His career has taken him from emerging startup to big corporate, working on a variety of cross-functional projects. As he progressed, he describes that he felt motivated and engaged in being involved in the ‘recipe’ of running a company - at the forefront of the core growth levers of the business. He shares an insightful story about the process of joining Telstra – a strong lesson for the listener in staying true for what one seeks in a career.
His time at Fujitsu was one of opportunity. Initially thinking it was a 6-month stint, it ended up being 11 years of pushing a business development agenda and organising the operating model to be both robust but targeted in their approach toward customers.
Growing up, Mike shares that he was never recognised as or saw himself as a leader. Through his desire to continually learn and have the vision to take opportunities that were presented to him – he made himself one. This largely stems from the importance and value he places on one word: time. He describes that respecting the time you have, and the time that you have with others, is key to one’s personal and professional development.
He also speaks about his experience of the importance of saying no, and what it means for the clarity and message that emanates throughout an organisation.
Mike details his thoughts about the impact that Coronavirus has, and will have, on our world and describes the pandemic as an environment that has caused a shift, rather than the shift itself. He also shares his perspectives on the fundamental ways in which it will change the way we view efficiency and collaboration.