After Hours: David Horton

Arabian Computer News delves below the corporate strategy to understand what really makes the region’s IT leaders tick

Tags: Banking and financeMashreq
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After Hours: David Horton David Horton, Chief Transformation Officer, Mashreq.
By Staff Writer Published  January 9, 2014

Arabian Computer News delves below the corporate strategy to understand what really makes the region’s IT leaders tick

Getting personal:
Nationality: British
Number of years in the industry: 20
Favourite food: Butter Chicken Curry
Holiday destination: Orlando, Florida
Music: Coldplay, Rihanna, Dance Hits.
Dream car: Lambourgini Murcielago
Gadget: Google Glass
Movie/book: Raider of the Lost Ark / Da Vinci Code
Piece of advice: I always liked the slogan that Roger Federer used: “It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice!”

How did you come to be in your current role?

I have a background in Technology and Information Security, and a passion for innovation and the positive impact it can have on people’s lives, particularly in the banking industry. After years working in Technology, I had the opportunity to take on a new role for my current boss, who is an astute banker and ex-Paypal executive. He is one of the few bankers who understands the impact of digital transformation and innovation, and we shared a similar vision of how Mashreq could evolve. The rest is history, and now Mashreq is making history with innovation launches that are disrupting the UAE banking sector.

What is your management philosophy?

Treat people with respect, but constantly give them challenges that will not only make them grow, but grow the success of everyone around them. A motivated team can achieve great things. Failure is acceptable, just learn from it, and make sure you don’t make the same mistake twice!

What was your first computer, and when did you first use it?

ZX80 in 1982 when I wrote my first program from a computer book. It was a Star Trek game that was truly awful, and just asked me what I wanted to do next? I cried after all the hours of writing the code.

What is your greatest achievement?

My greatest achievement is my four children — all boys.  They constantly amaze me with their adoption of new technology, and often remind me how silly and childish adults can be. Being someone who always try to look out of the box, I get a lot of my inspiration from the comments and idea’s my boys have.

What is your biggest mistake?

My biggest mistake is not taking bigger risks earlier in my career. I often had business ideas and innovation ideas that I just sat on and never really acted upon. If I could turn back the clocks, I would have liked to be doing the job I have now about ten years earlier.

What is your fondest memory of working in the Middle East IT industry?

I have many, but the one that stands out, is when Mashreq launched the first eCube digital branch in Dubai Internet City. There was a very big sense of accomplishment for the entire team involved in the project, and it was a proud moment for Mashreq (and for me) to be setting the benchmark for the banks in the region.

What technology do you think will have the biggest impact on the market in 2014?

Without doubt it will be the year of the Smartphone. Mobile technologies will transform the way people bank, pay for things, manage their personal finances, socialize with friends, watch video’s and even monitor their health. Smartphone penetration statistics will be a thing of the past, as by the end of 2014 I am sure that almost everyone will have one.

What’s the best way to deal with stress?

Two things. Number one is play with your kids, and remember what is important in life. The second is listen to the song “Sunscreen” by Baz Luhrmann.

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