Bill Harrison: A man in a hurry
Bill Harrison is not the most orthodox chief executive you will come across in the City. The new boss at BZW speaks with a strong Birmingham accent and refers to telephoning people as "giving them a bell".
Harrison, 48, is part of a new breed of fortysomethings in charge at BZW a departure from the over-50s hierarchy that prevailed before. The new head of equities, Steve Harker, whose department employs 1,700 of BZW's total headcount of 7,500, also fits this mould. "What you see is what you get with Harrison and [Barclays' chief executive Martin] Taylor," says Harker who doesn't have any problems with that approach.
Harrison is bold. His first few days in his new position were a blitzkrieg: he started on Tuesday, fired acting chief executive Donald Brydon on Wednesday, and restructured the management committee on Thursday. Not one to conform to convention, he "upsized" the latter to 10 people from eight and included, for the first time, the head of human resources. Only four existing members are left from the previous management committee.
Energetic and bustling, Harrison's management style, he says, is characterized by a player-coach approach. He supports the struggling English football club, Birmingham City.
He is not a banker's banker. He spent the early part of his career working in the no-nonsense oil industry, first for BNOC, then Tricentrol, finally joining j Henry Schroder Wagg in 1983.