Harriet Green

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Harriet Green
Born (1961-12-12) 12 December 1961 (age 56)
Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England
ResidenceSummertown, Oxford
EducationWestwood's Grammar School
Alma materKing's College London
Years active1985–present
Salary£2.86 million (total Thomas Cook remuneration, 2013)[1]
TitleChairman & CEO IBM Asia Pacific
Previously general manager, IBM business divisions – the Internet of Things, Customer Engagement and Education Business
Previously CEO, Thomas Cook Group (2012–2014)
CEO, Premier Farnell (2006–2012)
Board member ofBAE Systems
Spouse(s)Graham Clarkson

Harriet Green OBE (born 12 December 1961) is a British businesswoman, who is chairman and CEO of IBM Asia Pacific, and previously led three IBM business divisions: the Internet of things, customer engagement and education businesses.

She was CEO of the Thomas Cook Group from July 2012 to November 2014.[2]

Early life[edit]

Harriet Green was born on 12 December 1961 in Cheltenham, England to Dermot Green and Nerys Allen.[3] She grew up in Shipton, Gloucestershire, east of Cheltenham, in the Cotswolds. She was educated at Westwood's Grammar School in Northleach.[4]

She studied medieval history at King's College London, graduating with a bachelor's degree in 1983.[5][6] She then studied Business Psychology at the London School of Economics,[5] graduating in 1985.[3]


Green spent her early career in the electronic components industry, working in Europe, the United States and Asia. She was managing director of Macro Group, and then appointed president of the Asia/Pacific sector of Arrow Electronics from 2002 to 2006. She was chief executive officer of Premier Farnell, a global electronics distribution business, from 2006 until 2012.[3]

She became CEO of Thomas Cook Group on 30 July 2012, succeeding Manny Fontenla-Novoa who was CEO from 2003. She obtained this position by cold calling chairman Frank Meysman.[7] During her time as CEO, Green helped grow Thomas Cook Group's market worth from £148m to more than £2bn and helped increase the company's share price 829pc.[8][9]

In November 2014, it was announced that Green was leaving with immediate effect, and that Peter Fankhauser, the COO would take over as CEO.[1][10] Following the announcement of Green's departure, the company's share value dropped by more than £350m.[8] Despite the deaths of Christianne and Robert Shepherd occurring in 2006 before she was appointed, Green announced in June 2015 that she was donating a third of her £5.7m Thomas Cook bonus, £1.9m, to a charity chosen by the parents of two children who died while on holiday. The Group was highly criticised by the coroner in the 2015 inquest – which ruled the pair were unlawfully killed from carbon monoxide poisoning in Corfu in 2006 – for its treatment of the family, which included the period of Green's tenure.[11]

IBM appointed Green as the head of the IBM Watson Internet of Things business unit in December 2015.[12][13] The company is based in Armonk, NY.[14] As the general manager of Watson Customer Engagement, Watson Internet of Things and Education at IBM, Green is responsible for driving growth.[citation needed]

Green is a non-executive director of BAE Systems.[15]

In 2016, Green won the Women in Technology Institute award and was inducted into the Women in Technology Hall of Fame.[16]

In 2017, Fast Company named Green one of the 100 Most Creative People in Business for her work alerting businesses to the potential of IBM Watson.[17]

Personal life[edit]

She lives in Summertown, Oxford.[18] She married Graham Clarkson in 2004 in Oxfordshire,[19] and the couple have two adult children.[18]

Green received an OBE in the 2010 Birthday Honours. She is a devotee of hatha yoga and reads several books a week, claiming that indulging in literature delivers an escape and relaxation away from business. Green has previously claimed that she only sleeps for around four hours a day. In February 2013, she was assessed as one of the 100 most powerful women in the United Kingdom by Woman's Hour on BBC Radio 4.[20]


  1. ^ a b Farrell, Sean (26 November 2014). "Thomas Cook shares crash amid shock departure of Harriet Green". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 November 2014.
  2. ^ "Harriet Green OBE". BBC Radio 4.
  3. ^ a b c "GREEN, Harriet". Who's Who 2015. A & C Black. October 2014. Retrieved 12 December 2014.
  4. ^ "Thomas Cook CEO Harriet Green from Cheltenham named Business Woman of the Year". Gloucester News Centre. 13 May 2014. Retrieved 12 December 2014.
  5. ^ a b "Harriet Green | Thomas Cook". Retrieved 2018-01-22.
  6. ^ "Blonde who cold-called Thomas Cook boss to land top job leaves after 2 years... with £8m (wiping £360m off firm's value)". Mail Online. Retrieved 2018-01-22.
  7. ^ Armitstead, Louise (25 June 2013). "Thomas Cook boss Harriet Green got job by cold-calling chairman". The Telegraph. Retrieved 30 July 2013.
  8. ^ a b "Executive interview: Harriet Green, IBM's internet of things chief". Computer Weekly. Retrieved 23 January 2017.
  9. ^ "More than £350m wiped off Thomas Cook after chief Harriet Green steps down". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 23 January 2017.
  10. ^ "Thomas Cook chief resigns saying her work 'is complete'". BBC. Retrieved 26 November 2014.
  11. ^ "Ex-Thomas Cook boss confirms bonus donation over Corfu deaths – BBC News". BBC. Retrieved 4 February 2016.
  12. ^ "New IBM Watson Chief David Kenny Talks His Plans For 'AI As A Service' And The Weather Company Sale". Forbes. Retrieved 4 February 2016.
  13. ^ "Ex-Thomas Cook boss Harriet Green received £6.3m in 2015 despite only working two months". The Daily Telegraph. 15 January 2016. Retrieved 4 February 2016.
  14. ^ Ghosh, Debojyoti. "Everyone in IBM understands their part in a cognitive future: Harriet Green". Forbes India. Forbes India. Retrieved 19 July 2016.
  15. ^ "IBM News room - Harriet Green - General Manager, Watson Internet of Things, Customer Engagement & Education, IBM - United States". www-03.ibm.com. 3 March 2017. Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  16. ^ Kohli, Diya (2018-03-09). "How to be an alpha woman in technology". LiveMint. Retrieved 2018-03-26.
  17. ^ "Harriet Green, Most Creative People 2017 | Fast Company". Fast Company. Retrieved 2018-03-26.
  18. ^ a b "Thomas Cook's Harriet Green: 'Sleep is overrated'". Retrieved 2018-01-19.
  19. ^ Barkas, Eric (8 August 2006). "Sitting comfortably in the boss's chair". Yorkshire Post. Retrieved 30 July 2013.
  20. ^ "BBC Radio 4 – Woman's Hour – The Power List 2013". BBC. 1 January 1970. Retrieved 4 February 2016.

External links[edit]

Business positions
Preceded by
Sam Weihagen
Chief Executive of Thomas Cook Group
July 2012 – November 2014
Succeeded by
Peter Fankhauser