Chris Michael

Chris Michael

Chief Technology Officer Connect on LinkedInFollow on Twitter

Over 25 years’ experience building teams, platforms and products for global blue chip brands, across many sectors.

Managed multi-million pound budgets, saved tens of millions and generated hundreds of millions of benefit.

Agile evangelist, passionate about getting value from data, with a preference for public cloud and open source tech.

What I’m proud of

Building talent

People are the difference. Worked with, learnt from and mentored hundreds of digital specialists, leaders and entrepreneurs. I love it and I’m never going to stop.

Monetising Data

Built a cloud platform to power RB’s sales and marketing, with over 4,000 users and analysts. Created models to predict future sales with 90% accuracy, based on multiple data sets (sales, market, weather, search and social).

Growing revenue

Helped several global businesses generate >£100m incremental revenue. Pioneered MVT for Ladbrokes and BT – using real time data to improve UX and thereby sales.

Saving public money

Led digital programmes at MOJ which saved over £10m of tax payers’ money. Digitising paper/phone based processes and restructuring commercial deals to move work from large/expensive SIs to internal staff and SMEs.


Open Banking

An introduction to Open Banking and PSD2.

Building a Big Data platform

Internal capability plus great partners, Birst and Cervello.

ZigZag Connect

Award winning marketing tech to grow online sales via call centres.

Digital Optimisation

How it's key to mix data and science with creativity.


Open Banking: Interim Head of Technology (CTO)

Jan 2017 – present

Open Banking Limited was formed by the Competition and Markets Authority and the nine largest UK retail banks to transform the UK banking industry.

Leading a number of teams to design and build API standards for the UK Banking Industry. Chair of the UK cross-industry Open Banking Technical Working Group.


Reckitt Benckiser: Global Director, Digital Technology

May 2015 – Dec 2016

Transformation of RB’s Big Data and Digital platforms from dependence on external agencies/consultancies to internal capability and ownership.

  • Introduced structured PMO process and Agile methodology.
  • Setup 60px Big Data and Digital teams across UK, Amsterdam and Warsaw.
  • Built global Big Data cloud platform (in AWS, based on SAP Hana, Birst and RapidMiner) for reporting and predictive analytics, including BI reporting to drive >£100m incremental revenue pa and models to predict future sales with 80-90% accuracy.
  • Built eSales platform (based on SAP Hybris) as a product catalogue for all brands (e.g. Durex, Dettol, Scholl, Nurofen) and across 65+ markets globally, including direct to consumer sites for power brands (e.g.
UK Ministry of Justice: Deputy Director, Digital (Contract)

Aug 2014 – Apr 2015

Leading multiple teams of product managers, delivery managers, researchers, content designers, copywriters, developers and technical architects to help transform services in the UK justice system.

  • Business analysis and strategic planning.
  • Team leadership and mentoring.
  • Building and managing relationships with senior stakeholders across the Ministry, UK Government and technology vendors/partners.
  • Built platform to digitize over 1m prison visit bookings per annum:
  • Transformed delivery model for probation case management system from waterfall/outsourced to agile/collaborative, saving >£5m: see
Karmarama: CTO

Jan 2012 – Mar 2014

Technology leadership for a leading privately owned advertising and marketing agency.

  • Working with and leading new business and client service teams to win and grow agency revenue for digital marketing activity.
  • Management of multiple development teams to deliver outstanding digital solutions for our clients.
  • Integrating analytics and optimisation technology with strategy, creative, and user experience to deliver business changing ROI for these clients – with a specific focus on optimisation of Ecommerce, Content Management and eCRM channels.
  • Developing new, agile working practices to deliver responsive, device agnostic sites and email campaigns, faster and with smaller teams.
  • Training and mentoring clients and staff across all disciplines on new and emerging technologies.
  • Sourcing, developing and managing technology partners (including software vendors, systems integrators and hosting providers).
  • Advising clients on technology vendor selection and implementation.

Directly managed internal, third party and client development teams across global projects for clients, including:

  • BT: Developed and implemented technology to help generate several £m per month additional online sales (
  • B&Q: Created bespoke social media platform and CMS to manage user generated content.
  • Direct Wines: Designed and created the website interface, mobile and tablet apps to generate 25% uplift in online revenue (
  • GLH Hotels: Developed the digital strategy and responsive website interface for the Amba Hotel brand (
  • Ogone: Mobile responsive website for Ingenico’s global payment platform (
  • Fairtrade: Created integrated campaign and responsive website to drive petitions (
  • William Grant & Sons: Developed responsive website platform for Tullamore Dew brand (

Co-founder of a technical product division (ZigZag Tech). Turning smart digital solutions we developed for our agency clients into re-sellable products.

  • Responsible for technical strategy, product design and development.
  • Supporting the sales and marketing team to generate sales.
  • Leading the team of developers to build and support the products.
  • Designed and developed an award winning email platform to enable contact centre staff to send trackable emails to customers. Used by thousands of staff across several blue chip clients, including BT, Laithwaites, Plusnet and Sky. See
  • Designed and developed a real-time messaging platform to enable Honda dealers to easily send branded, trackable emails to customers, thereby generating significant increases in test drives, sales and service revenues. See
Crayon: Founding Partner

Jan 2006 – Dec 2011

Founded Crayon (with three other partners) from a management buyout of HHM in 2006. Responsible for technology, user experience, project management and finance.

  • Led pitches, working with new business and client services to win and grow digital clients, including Axa, British Gas, BT, De Beers, Deutsche Bank and Hiscox.
  • Founded the agency’s User Experience department, co-managed strategy and design teams and directly managed internal, third party and client development teams.
  • Designed and built the digital web platform to help grow BT into UK’s largest broadband provider, including pioneering the use of video to increase online sales.
  • Developed and managed the build of web platforms, digital advertising and eCRM programs for a wide range of clients, including 32Red, BT and Paradise Poker.
  • Built the agencies digital offering and reputation for technical excellence, growing digital revenue to over £5m pa and the business to 140 people.
  • Karmarama acquired the business in Dec 2011.
HHM: Technology Director

Sep 2001 – Dec 2005

Joined HHM (a Direct Marketing agency) as Technology Director in Sep 2001.

  • Setup the in house digital production department.
  • Designed and built in 15 languages, including building the CMS and managing the integration with Orbis (now OpenBet) – instrumental in helping launch Ladbrokes as the UK’s leading gaming site.
  • Designed, built and implemented a wide range of class leading websites for American Express, Axa, Best Western Hotels, Ladbrokes, Norwich Union, RBS and UKTV.


Laughs: Investor and Mentor

Apr 2014 – present

Advising and mentoring my 15 year old son on the setup of his business – a mobile app for comedy called Laughs (

Level 39: Mentor
Dec 2013 – present

Consultancy on technology roadmap, digital marketing and product launch strategy for a number of start-ups in retail and financial technology.


BEng Mechanical Engineering

Imperial College, London
Sep 1986 to Jun 1989

A Levels

Emanuel School, London
Sep 1984 to Jun 1986

O Levels

St James Independent School for Boys, London
Sep 1974 to Jun 1985


Chris did a great job for me creating digital capability from scratch. He designed and established RB Digital Centre in Poland, introduced agile methodology and significantly raised the technical capabilities across the RB team.

Darrell Stein

CIO, Reckitt Benckiser

Chris is a great digital transformation leader – he disrupts the status quo with his innovative thinking applying digital solutions and thinking across the enterprise with an ability to mobilise teams behind his strategy. He has an eye for talent building diverse and skilled teams that are successful and credible through his leadership and guidance.

Chris Woods

Global IT Director, Reckitt Benckiser

We started on the same day and grew up our part of the RB organisation together building something really strong. Chris helped me immensely by backing me completely and supporting me where needed. He would always fight my corner. Chris is always looking to improve things, is totally on top of business and commercial happenings and always finds the angle for what he is responsible. I doubt there would be an industry he couldn’t go into and have a massive impact on.

Stephen Lovell

Head of Digital Technology, Reckitt Benckiser

Chris played a key role in sponsoring the setup of an internal team with capabilities to deliver Data solutions at scale – which has significantly improved the quality and speed of delivery in the Data space, at an improved cost base – it was a pleasure working with Chris.

Wilmer Peres

IS Director, Big Data & Analytics, Reckitt Benckiser

Chris gets things done, with quality results, on time and in budget. He managed one of my team’s Exemplars and was responsible for setting up several digital projects of equal size that became part of MOJ Digital’s portfolio. These projects all had extremely demanding time constraints and Chris’s leadership, ruthless pragmatism and empathy for the users and their needs in trying circumstances, meant that we were able to meet all commitments to management while at the same time deliver beautiful services to people in need. I highly recommend him and would gladly work with him again.

Paul Shetler

CDO, UK Ministry of Justice

I had the pleasure of working with Chris during my time at MOJ in 2015. His depth of knowledge in technology and digital, combined with his ability to communicate and help teams towards a better future, is rare indeed. He’s able to strike that delicate balance between pragmatism and delivery – an important quality in transformation efforts.

Amy Wagner

Agile Coach and Product Manager, UK Ministry of Justice

Chris *knows* how to deliver massive business and end-user benefits alongside significant cost savings. I worked with Chris on the delivery of several critical products at MOJ. He is an absolute delight to work with. He even knows how to laugh through the thick of it. His super speedy ability to sift through clutter, prioritise end-user and business value in a meaningful way and get the actual product delivery moving – is truly inspirational.

Jessica Wittebort

Service & Product Design, UK Ministry of Justice

Chris is an energetic leader who fosters high performance teams by building trust and encouraging autonomous self organisation. He’s fearless in tackling blockers and has the soft skills needed to take stakeholders through challenging journeys.

Tony Duarte

Product Service Manager, UK Ministry of Justice

Chris is a true Digital and Technical Polymath who has a great track record in building and leading teams delivering progressive digital and tech solutions across a wide variety of sectors. However Chris’s passion, commitment and entrepreneurial flair and diverse business background mean that his skills and value go well beyond these areas and into marketing, business, insight and many more. A great partner to have on your side through thick and thin.

Richard French

Managing Director, Karmarama

Chris the very definition of ‘polymath’ – I know very few people with his drive, zest for success and comprehensive knowledge of digital and technology across such a huge spectrum of clients, topics and approaches. As a thinker, his strategic insight and leadership are instrumental in his success. He also brings together a rare set of skills and experiences that span some of the most challenging industries and in my time working for and with Chris I learnt a huge amount. From optimization, platforming, design thinking all the way through to service design, Chris sets the bar very high. He also has a social conscience that shows what a thoughtful mentor and leader he is to his teams and the people he hires. If you are presented with the opportunity to work with Chris – Grab it!

Pete Trainor

UX Director, Crayon

Chris is a great digital thinker and business partner to work with. Chris and his team at Karmarama are like an extension of our own team. He works with insight, passion and integrity on client projects as well giving a great amount of time and care to the partner relationship. I have worked closely with Chris over the last 4 years and am sure we will work together many times more in the future.

John Readman

Commercial Director, Search Laboratory

In the short time that I have known Chris, he has become an invaluable friend and adviser. His ability to keep pace with technology trends along with digital software and platforms at enterprise and startup level conveys his passion for ensuring that businesses and brands are using the most effective technology at the most effective price/pace to deliver business objectives which (they better have ready to articulate clearly). He has a keen strategic mind and is able to create and visualize business opportunities. I believe Chris has astutely combined his skills as an entrepreneur, marketeer, digital technologist and mentor to move his profession and career to the next level. Chris would be an asset to organisations looking for advise and technology consulting. Be ready for a set of well researched technology options along with carefully considered advice on market conditions and strategy.

Mithu Sengupta

eCommerce Director, glh. Hotels


  • Digital Strategy
  • Ecommerce
  • Digital Marketing
  • User Experience
  • Enterprise Architecture
  • IT Strategy
  • Data and Analytics
  • Mobile
  • Interaction Design
  • CRM/eCRM

A typical day






Playing with tech


Relaxing and sport


Helping my team


Stakeholder meetings


Email and admin

What I’m thinking now