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Former Vice President and General Manager of Yahoo!'s US Commerce.


Tony Surtees is an entrepreneur and investor in new technology-based businesses. He worked at Citibank and Westpac. With businesses both traditional and digital, operational and management, he has served as VP and CEO in finance, media, information technology, and marketing. As an active member of public and private boards, he is experienced in businesses that are undergoing disruption, rapid change, growth, and changes in business models.

Tony served as Vice President and General Manager of Yahoo!'s Commerce Group (which included Yahoo! Finance the world’s leading personal finance site) at their California headquarters, responsible for 14 business units generating over US$2.5B in sales.

Current Work

He is currently the co-founder of Laava.ID an innovative cybersecurity technology that holds three international patents which provides greater transparency to people about their product choices, personal credentials and identities.

He is on the Board of the Menzies Foundation and Chairman of the Entrepreneurs’ Programme Committee for the Federal Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources.

This year, Tony Surtees was appointed by the Federal Minister of Industry to serve as Chair of the Entrepreneurs Programme Committee for a second term. Using a commercial lens, he leads a team of independent experts to evaluate grants for commercialization. Over 620 Australian businesses from sectors including in Fintech have been recipients of Accelerating Commercialisation grants and is an active member of the Artificial Intelligence (AI) Action Plan Programs Committee for the Catalysing AI Opportunity Fund for the Department of Industry.

He was CEO of iPrime, the digital arm for the Prime Television Group in Australia developing technology and content for media businesses.

Tony cofounded Zeetings a cloud-based interactive presentation platform which was acquired by Canva and is the technology powering Canva’s presentation platform. The ‘Canva for Presentations’ platform has been used in over 700 million presentations since April 2021 and currently services over 60 million presentations per month.

As a director of both private and public companies, mentor to start-ups, and past NSW State President of the Australian Marketing Institute, Tony was recognized as one of Australia's Top Ten Digital Entrepreneurs.

He earned a Bachelor of Commerce from UNSW and a Master of Science from Stanford’s Graduate School of Business and is President of the Stanford Australia Association and Board member of Stanford Australia Foundation. In this position Tony has helped champion the establishment of the CSIRO/Stanford Australia Foundation scholarship for ‘ON’ programme winners.

Talking Points

Thrive in Disruption: Strategies to help you and your team meet disruption head on and win

The processes and business model that make businesses good at the existing business actually make them bad at competing in times of disruption. CEO’s, Boards and executives can really do damage to their business is if they just try to protect the legacy model.

By the time it’s obvious that your company needs to change often it’s too late. What that means is, the time to act is way faster than before. We have to act earlier. We have to be more deliberate. Technology has obliterated the 5 year plan of your business for any more than a year or two out. Companies are realizing that they don’t have the luxury of time to innovate; they need to look at partnerships or acquisitions much sooner than they would have done earlier.

In this presentation, Tony explains your options, how to preserve your existing business and develop new
options to meet a disrupting market. He shows how the 'innovator’s task' is ensure the disruptive business model (which often doesn’t make sense) can be taken seriously enough within the company without putting at risk the needs of present customers.

Tony explains how CEO’s can balance the agenda between protecting the existing business while creating different ways to experiment and change without too much risk.

His experience working on the ground in the United States, Asia, Europe and Australia provides a highly relevant perspective to audiences facing questions of competition and market disruption. He explains how large companies can partner effectively with small ones without over-investing. His presentations are packed with illuminating anecdotes, telling statistics, surprising paradoxes.

HIGHLIGHTS - Tony explains:
• Google’s 8 innovation principles
• How to turn things around in 6-12 month cycles
• The 9 ways to change from legacy to digital
• Strategic investment and partnership options
• Identifying great investment propositions

The Great Reset

For some organizations, near-term survival is the only agenda item. Others are peering through the fog of uncertainty, thinking about how to position themselves once the crisis has passed and things return to normal. The question is, ‘What will normal look like for me and my business?’

According to Microsoft CEO years of digital transformation have been compressed into weeks.
This time, right now, is what we can describe as “The Great Reset”. This is our opportunity to accelerate our businesses in the direction of transformation and growth in surprising new ways. the last few months have had the effect of obliterating the traditional resistance to change across many industries.

Who this is for:
Founders, entrepreneurs, small business owners, teams going through disruption or transformation, managers of all kind looking to find new ways of supporting their newly remote teams.

Key Takeaways:
- COVID has created winners and losers
- Traditional resistance to change brought about by digitisation has collapsed
- COVID is a great accelerator to existing forces and trends.
- As Covid-19 impacts every aspect of work and life globally, Microsoft has seen two years' worth of digital transformation in just two months.
- Entrepreneurs and business leaders can pivot to take advantage of this massive acceleration
- Boards and business leaders need to adapt to changes in customer demand
Tony Surtees is one of the most brilliant Australian marketers on the scene today. Strike that. He’s one of the most brilliant marketers period. His work on the net has demonstrated that he understands permission marketing at the highest levels! Seth Godin

I have been on a few panels in my time and it was a absolute relief to be sitting there with someone as seasoned as you running the show. Was a great experience seeing the Zeetings software being used for the program. Love the feedback loop from audience - I am sure this really keeps audiences on their toes even if the presenter has some dry content.

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