DATAx presents: New York's top 21 CDOs

With the role of CDO continuing to grow in stature in today's data-driven society, DATAx identifies some of the biggest names working in one of the world's leading data hubs, New York


The position of a chief data officer (CDO) is continuing to grow in importance in New York, especially since former mayor Michael Bloomberg signed the Open Data Law legislation in 2012. Many of the world's largest and most powerful businesses and brands based in the state have been a huge attraction for CDOs to exhibit their craft as data experts.

Below, we present a list of 21 influential and innovative CDOs working in New York – who are making a splash in sectors such as the music, politics and the media industry.

Kelly Jin, chief analytics officer and director of the Mayor’s Office of Data Analytics at the City of New York

In October 2018, Kelly Jin was named the chief analytics officer and director of the Mayor's Office of Data Analytics (MODA) at the City of New York. Her mission is to help City agencies apply strategic analytical thinking to data with the intention to drive equitable and efficient services to increase operational transparency.

MODA leads the implementation of the New York City's Open Data Law – "A Local Law to amend the administrative code of the city of New York, in relation to publishing open data". Jin supervises the open data law program which comprises of datasets from 98 cities.

Furthermore, Jin has worked in various job roles within the public and private sector, focused on efficiency-based and data-driven strategies and policies. In 2016, she worked at the White House as a policy advisor to the US chief technology officer Megan Smith under former President Barack Obama.

Inderpal Bhandari, global CDO at IBM

Inderpal Bhandari joined IBM as the global CDO in December 2015 and received the "CDO of the Year" in 2017 by the CDO Club – a community of C-suite digital and data leaders. Upon receiving the award, Bhandari said: "The coming era will be dominated by big data and cognition."

Earlier this year, Bhandari shared his thoughts on building a culture in an AI-powered world. He outlined his efforts to redefine IBM's data strategy based on the enterprise cognitive system (ECS), a part of a shift from programmatic to a probabilistic computing approach for business growth efforts. The new system, as outlined by Bhandari, adopts AI technology and analytics to generate data-driven results.

From 1990–97, Bhandari was a research staff member at IBM Watson. From 1997 to 2006, he was CEO and chairman at Virtual Gold, a data mining software and business consulting company. Prior to re-joining IBM as CDO, he was senior VP and CDO at Cambia Health Solutions from 2014–15.

Karthik Bala, executive vice president and CDO at Condé Nast

Karthik Bala was named executive vice president (EVP) and CDO at Condé Nast in January 2018 but has been with the company for three years, having joined as head of data strategy in 2015.

In addition to his role at Condé Nast, Bala is also a visiting professor at the Indian School of Business since 2013. Furthermore, Bala has vast experience in the tech sector, starting his career at IBM as an engineer in 1992 and was recently president of the Precision Health Data Institute at Everyday Health in New York.At Condé Nast, a 125-year-old publishing company Bala is focused on leveraging data derived from published content such as turning audience engagement into business revenue.

Sol Rashidi, EVP and CDO at Sony Music Entertainment

Sol Rashidi was named EVP and CDO at Sony Music Entertainment and is responsible for developing and advancing the company's global data strategy, as well as creating business intelligence and tech solutions.

Previously, Rashidi worked at Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines where she leveraged machine learning and AI technology to optimize customer experience.

At Sony Rashidi will integrate predictive tools and analytics for the artist and repertoire (A&R) division, marketing and commercial activities.

Gregory Menzenski, CDO at Cornell University

Gregory Menzenski joined Cornell University as PM from in 2005–12. In 2012 he was promoted Menzenski was a project manager and then in August 2014 he became CDO at the Office of Data Architecture and Analytics (ODAA) at the university.

In 2016, the university stated that with the appointment of the CDO, Menzenski is in charge of leading ODAA and will be responsible for developing ODAA to become a recognized leader for university data analytics.

Menzenski's started his career in 1981 as a product development engineer and project manager at NCR Corporation, a US-based IT company which was established in 1884 to create and sell the first mechanical cash register.

Devyani Sadh, CEO and CDO at Data Square

Devyani Sadh has been the CEO and CDO at Data Square, a marketing and advertising company since the company was founded in 1999. The company integrates advanced analytics and open source technology to drive ROI for businesses.

At Data Square, she leads programs that leverages new technologies for business development such as predictive analytics and marketing automation. Some of her clients that she has worked with includes IBM, JPMorgan Chase and Sony.

Furthermore, Sadh is a trainer for the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), a marketing and advertising firm and is also chair of the Data, Marketing and Analytics Council.

Megan Pagliuca, CDO at Hearts and Science

Megan Pagliuca joined Hearts and Science as CDO in 2017. At Hearts and Science, Pagliuca is responsible for the company's data management and marketing technology. Pagliuca also supervises strategies that are in place to optimize the company's customer engagement strategies.

Hearts and Sciences was founded in 2016 and is a programmatic agency – a platform for programmatic media buying for marketers. The agency offers clients media planning and buying and other services such as shopper marketing, marketing innovation strategies and content activation.

Before joining Hearts and Sciences, Pagliuca was the global CEO of Accuen, part of the Omnicom Media Group.

Pagliuca graduated in 2006 from Bond University, in Queensland, Australia, with a Master's Degree in E-commerce and a BA in Business Administration and Information Systems from the University of San Diego.

JoAnn Stonier, CDO at Mastercard

In February 2018, JoAnn Stonier was appointed CDO at Mastercard.

JoAnn Stonier has been at Mastercard for 10 years, previously holding the role as EVP chief information governance and privacy officer from July 2013 to April 2018.

In her current role, she is responsible for the curation, maintenance and management of the company’s data assets as Mastercard looks to deepen the value it can provide its merchant, banking and government customers and cardholders through its analytics capabilities.

Stonier is also an adjunct professor at Pratt Institute in New York within the Design Management Master's Program where she teaches business law, intellectual property law, business strategy and international business environment.

Christopher Mazzei, chief data and analytics officer and emerging technologies leader at EY

Christopher Mazzei was appointed to be the chief data & analytics officer & emerging technologies leader at EY in 2016. However, his career at EY started in 2000 as the senior manager at the Center for Strategic Transaction.

Within his new role, Mazzei leads a Center of Excellence (CoE) team­ – the team combines data and analytics into EY offerings. Furthermore, in his dual role at EY, Chris’s team also explores emerging technologies including AI, blockchain, and robotic process automation and looks at how they create business opportunities for EY, as well as how it may impact EY clients.

Mazzei co-authored a report, Becoming an analytics driven organization to create value, which discussed leveraging data for business intelligence, highlighted challenges and outlined ways to develop a successful data strategy.

Bob Ivins, CDO at NCC Media

Bob Ivins joined Comcast-owned media company NCC Media as its CDO in July 2018. Ivins previously worked at Slice Technologies, a Rakuten-owned market research business as its SVP GM. He previously served as the CDO at media agency Mindshare in 2013, where he provided data-driven results for marketing initiatives.

During 2008­­–13 Ivins worked at Comcast and led the development of Comcast's Audience Interconnect Database to support Comcast Spotlight's cross-platform ad offering.

Ivins has stated that at NCC he aims to pioneer the use of data to improve efficiency and effectiveness of television campaigns.

Jonathan Auerbach, SVP and chief strategy growth and data officer at PayPal

In 2015, Jonathan Auerbach became the SVP and chief strategy growth and data officer at PayPal. According to a statement published by eBay, PayPal's former parent company, Auerbach was hired to identify new opportunities to drive global growth with merchants and consumers. His focus, eBay stated, is on developing a global strategy that aligns with PayPal's vision to make the management and movement of money simple.

Auerbach was previously employed as CEO of Singtel's Group Digital Life, where he was in charge of a global portfolio of mobile video, digital advertising and analytics businesses.

Prior to his stint with Singtel, Auerbach spent 26 years as a management consultant with McKinsey & Company where he held a variety of executive roles across Asia and North America.

Sam Edelstein, CDO at the City of Syracuse

Sam Edelstein serves as the CDO at the City of Syracuse at the Mayor's office. His responsibilities include creating policies and processes around data governance and carrying out data audits for the city, as well as training and consulting with departments.

In addition to his role at the Mayor's office, Edelstein is an adjunct professor at Syracuse University. In 2017, he taught on the topic of applied data science and in 2018 he taught information visualization.

He holds a Master's Degree in Information Management from the iSchool at Syracuse University and a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Economics, Policy Studies and minor in Political Science.

According to Edelstein, he wrote the Syracuse's first Open Data Policy and launched its first Open Data Portal, DataCuse.

In a statement Edelstein said: "A lot of data and information is collected by different city departments. This data lives in many formats – disparate databases, spreadsheets on different servers, and sometimes on paper. Finding ways to digitize data and ensure staff know where to find the information they need is critical."

Besa Bauta, CDO at Mercy First

Besa Bauta is the CDO at MercyFirst, a social service agency based in New York, overseeing the department of Research, Evaluation, Analytics and Compliance for Health (REACH).

The department evaluates MercyFirst services ranging from health, mental health, refugee, foster care, residential, preventive, and managed care services.

Within the department Bauta also works to develop cross-departmental evaluation strategies including the implementation of business intelligence (BI) applications and analytics strategies. She also oversees the development of data governance measures to ensure positive business outcomes and compliance.

Bauta is additionally an adjunct assistant professor at New York University Silver School of Social Work. At the university some of the topics she covers includes social science theories, social work practice, research methods and program evaluation.

Jacklyn Osborne, global CDO at HSBC

Jacklyn Osborne joined HSBC in 2013 as its US CDO and is responsible for the design and execution and governance of a unified enterprise reference data strategy to guarantee accurate, timely and consistent reference data across the company. She acts as the intermediary between businesses and technology to ensure that data related client requirements are accurately executed.

Osborne holds a Master's Degree in Science, Engineering Management and Systems Engineering and a Bachelor of Business Administration from George Washington University.Before joining HSBC, Osborne has held various data-related roles within both public and private sectors. She worked at the UBS Investment Bank for eight years, in 2005-11 she was the outsourcing and offshoring governance lead and in 2011-13 she was the global head of client data change lead.

Christina Clark, CDO at GE Power

Christina Clark has been at GE since 2002 and was appointed CDO for GE Power in 2016. At GE Power, Clark provides GE employees access to data to help them excel at their respective job roles.

Clark as held various leadership positions within GE Capital including Enterprise Data Leader where she developed the first centralized data management function for the company. She started her career at GE in 2002 in the Financial Management Program (FMP) with GE Plastics.

Clark has a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Fairfield University in Connecticut.

Pavan Arora, CDO and director of Watson Content at IBM Watson

Pavan Arora is CDO at IBM Watson where he leverages machine learning and AI technology to collect data insight to deliver data-driven information for business intelligence.

Arora is also a founding partner at NextGen Venture Partners, an investment service headquartered in Washington DC.

At a TedX event in 2014 Arora said: "We are increasingly becoming a world where knowledge is obsolete". He added that value of knowledge is declining and the need to innovate to understand the knowledge is needed.

Arora started his career in 1996 at JPMorgan as a banking analyst and has also founded a digital transformation agency, Conversation Technology. Some of the clients that he worked with at Conversation Technology include The Library of Congress, McGraw Hill and The World Bank.

Alex Geis, CDO at Speak With Me

Alex Geis is CDO at Speak With Me, a computer software company. According to the company: "Speak With Me's cognitive and conversational AI platform allows for the highest dynamic range of communication between man and machine."

The company offers various services such as conversation management, context tracking, state tracking, memory, speech recognition, emotional understanding, emotional expressivity and voice biometrics.

At Speak With Me, Geis is in charge of server ops and data infrastructure. According to the company, Geis has "designed an extremely efficient data infrastructure to connect to 50+ apps (Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, Foursquare, Spotify, etc.) at very high speeds and low latency".

Sandra Cannon, associate vice provost for data governance and CDO at University of Rochester

Earlier this year, on March 2018, Sandra Cannon became the first CDO at the University of Rochester in New York and is also the associate provost for data governance at the university.

For the role, the university carried out a national search in the US led by a committee, chaired by Tom Barnett, CIO at the university's Medical Center.

Cannon started her career at the Federal Reserve Board, from 2008-14, she worked across the data management and research sectors.

In addition to her role at the University of Rochester, Cannon is also an adjunct professor at Helzberg School of Management at Rockhurst University in Missouri – teaching text and data mining courses.

Daniel Ferrante, co-founder and CDO and CSO at SFL Scientific

Daniel Ferrante is the co-founder of SFL Scientific and has been CDO since its formation in 2015.

According to Ferrante, his project at SFL spans energy, pharma, healthcare and business analytics. SFL is a consulting firm that adopts blockchain, machine learning and deep learning methods for business intelligence.

Daniel Ferrante started his career as a teaching assistant at the University of São Paulo where he assisted in the course of "Numerical Analysis". Ferrante then proceeded onto be a postdoctoral research associate at the Syracuse University in New York, before attaining a PhD in Physics from Brown University.

David Lee, CDO at Medidata

Medidata, is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) company that develops solutions for clinical trials. The SaaS company acquired David Lee in 2014 as its CDO to provide leadership of advanced analytics and big data.

"Since joining Medidata in 2014, David has grown the data science department by more than 500%," Medidata said, adding that he has "led the creation of several new data-driven solutions for sponsor and CRO clients that create operational and scientific efficiency in clinical trials".

The company outlined that because of Lee's innovations, Medidata's Data Science team has received various industry awards such as the 2017 Scrip Award and PM360 2017 Innovators. They have also published reports in Nature Reviews Drug Discovery and the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).

Lee was the recipient of the SAS Enterprise Excellence Award, an award that recognizes organizations that demonstrate the most effective uses of SAS software, in 2012.

Haftan Eckholdt, CDO and CSO at Understood

Haftan Eckholdt is CDO and CSO at Understood, a non-profit learning disability center in New York.

At Understood, Eckholdt works within a data science team comprised of data analytics, data engineering and data modelling experts. The organization develops programs, products and experiences for people with learning differences to complement existing programs for parents, teachers and employers.

Eckholdt's career began as a research fellow and assistant professor of psychiatry at New Jersey Medical School. He previously worked for Plated, a US-based American ingredient-and-recipe meal kit service, as chief data science officer.

He has also worked at Audible where he led a team of researchers to identify, implement and maintain predictive models to facilitate the acquisition of books and customers for businesses in more than six countries.

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