Michael Dobbs-Higginson

Variously descended from a pirate captain, a Lord Mayor of London and a governor of North Carolina with a 400,000-acre estate, Michael Dobbs-Higginson was born on a farm with no electricity in the British colony of Southern Rhodesia in 1941.

Having studied medicine in Dublin, worked as a newspaper photographer, department store glove salesman and logger in Canada and taught surfing in Hawaii, he enrolled in one of the oldest Buddhist monasteries in Japan and was ordained a lay monk in his early twenties. He also became a black-belt in the samurai sword-fighting discipline kendo.

He sailed across the Atlantic in a two-man, seven-metre sloop before the invention of GPS, armed with only a sextant and a book of navigational equations. He then moved back to Japan where he set up several businesses before being chased out of the country by unscrupulous CIA operatives.

He subsequently became an investment banker, rising to become chairman of Merrill Lynch Asia Pacific. He persuaded various Asian countries to access the international bond markets and to open their own stock markets to foreign investors. He also served as a financial adviser to the Liberian government and the African Development Bank.

He has initiated various start-up business ventures (successfully and unsuccessfully) and is currently chairman and shareholder of three companies: developing electric vehicles, industrial electric drones and a B2B e-commerce platform for Africa.

With his French wife Marie-Thérèse he has three grown-up children. He lives in Singapore, London and France.