He loves iced tea and The Wizard of Oz, but Mike Steinharter, vice president of IBM's Financial Services Sector, Region North, says the real challenge is finding ways to change the world

What newspaper do you read?
FT, The Times, WSJ Europe

What career did you want to have when you were a child?
Teaching

What was the worst business decision you have ever made?
It's all about people. My best and my worst decisions have been about people. I learn from both kinds

What do you like best about insurance?
Our future prospects....

What would you do tomorrow if you left the insurance industry?
Work elsewhere in financial services – it's where the action is

How do you relax if you do not play golf?
Play with my kids, read, jog, and exercise

What is the biggest insurance claim you have ever made?
I've been lucky – nothing major

Who do you most admire?
My wife – she's followed me around the world, works harder than I do, and doesn't get paid for it!
Do you have an unfulfilled ambition?
Of course... And always will have! At home and at work. That's what goals are all about...

On dress-down Friday, what do you wear?
Slacks with a shirt/jersey and a sportscoat (need the pockets to put my stuff in!)

How many people have you sacked?
Very few... It's better for people and for business if you can make people understand why it may be time to explore alternatives

What is your favourite quote?
Ask for forgiveness, not permission

What is your most over-used phrase?
Value proposition

What was your first job?
Systems engineer, working with a major insurer in New York City

Where did you grow up?
USA – New York, Boston, Philadelphia

What was your education?
US public schools, Dartmouth College, and then an MBA at NY University

What is your favourite film?
The Wizard of Oz... Timeless
What is your favourite book?
I don't know where to start!

What is your favourite tea?
Iced tea

What is your favourite joke?
I'm one of those poor souls who can never remember them 15 minutes after having heard them!

How often do you use public transport?
Every day I'm in London

Who do you vote for?
Whoever I think is the candidate with the energy, drive and ethics

Are you in favour of the Euro?
Yes

What keeps you awake at night?
Wondering whether I am being too complacent. Wondering whether my competition is getting ahead of me

What advice would you give someone starting in insurance today?
Be creative. Be aggressive. Look for opportunities to change the world, because the world is changing, mate, and you want to be a part of making it happen!