A fireside chat with Alderman and Sheriff Professor Michael Mainelli

A fireside chat with Alderman and Sheriff Professor Michael Mainelli

Last week, Honorary Liveryman, Alderman and Sheriff Professor Michael Mainelli sat down with Immediate Past Master Lesley Wilson to take a look back at his remarkable career so far, the role the pandemic has played in impacting on his current role as Aldermanic Sheriff of London, and what the future holds for the City, the economy, the livery and marketing as a practice.

A background on Michael

In a career shaped by innovation, Michael is no stranger to digitisation. He played a crucial role in creating the first digitised maps of the globe early in his career, which proved to be an enormous commercial success with oil companies. Having later discovered his passion for finance, Michael co-founded Z/Yen in 1994, the City of London’s leading commercial think-tank and venture firm, to promote societal advance through better finance and technology.

Michael has since worked on projects such as quantum computing, the early development of blockchain, and financial innovations such as policy performance models. His talents also extend into writing, having authored over 60 journal articles, 230 commercial articles and four books. He has been involved in a range of charitable ventures, particularly with a focus on looking after the world’s seas.

Covid-19 and the City

Lesley Wilson asked for Michael’s thoughts on the marketing industry, which sparked discussion of the impact of the book Marketing Warfare by Al Ries and Jack Trout and the importance of company positioning in the marketing discipline. Michael spoke of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the implications this has had for financial centres and international air travel, discussing that the trend for fewer global business meetings had already begun pre-Covid, with business air travel in Scandinavia reducing by 8% in 2019, something which Michael expects to continue beyond the current pandemic and travel restrictions.

Given Michael’s role as Sheriff promoting the City of London, he discussed how the City is a hub for science and technology, with many universities and research institutes dotted around the centre. He shared that he believes London can become a more liveable city, explaining the concept of 15-minute cities where essential services should be within a 15-minute walking or cycling distance from home, while continuing to attract the brightest business minds.

Michael also expressed the potential he believes the UK has to become a trading nation, helping to facilitate trade between the USA, Europe and China. As a closing note, he wrapped up his presentation by covering the positive impact that can come from the City continuing to trade on a global level, presenting London as the ‘Global Coffeehouse’ of the future.


Following Michael’s insightful lecture, he fielded several questions from attendees, including the role of Canary Wharf in the London economy, the concept of creative clusters in the City, the role of taxation on technology developments in the UK, and the future of innovation across the nation.

Hear more from Alderman and Sheriff Professor Michael Mainelli by following the link to the full conversation on YouTube.