Former TD Ameritrade CIO Vijay Sankaran is to return to Ford “to hasten development and application of technology, software and data, with objectives to modernize the company and provide customers with constantly evolving, world-class services and experiences”, according to a statement on Monday (2 November).
Sankaran, 47, will join the automaker on 16 November as chief software and information officer, reporting to president and CEO Jim Farley. Sankaran was at TD Ameritrade for seven years, the last four as chief information officer.
“We’re going to use technology and software, including how we learn from and act on data, to unleash a whole new world for our customers and our company,” said Farley. “Vijay’s team together with Hau Thai-Tang and the people responsible for our industrial platform will help us carry out our plan to transform Ford and develop and deliver must have products and services.”
Thai-Tang is Ford’s chief product platform and operations officer.
At TD Ameritrade, Sankaran and his team ran the financial trading company’s own digital revolution which included introducing new client facing mobile applications, infusing capabilities enabled by artificial intelligence to deliver client personalisation and self service, and scaling its trading platform fivefold to accommodate the stock trading boom spawned by the coronavirus pandemic.
Sankaran was also the architect of TD Ameritrade’s agile software engineering approach that doubled software delivery throughput and built from scratch a digital innovation centre in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
At Ford, Sankaran will be asked to improve existing operations and help create and deliver new reasons for customers to choose and stay with the brand – in the process generating additional revenue streams for the company. He will head the global technology and software platform group, accountable for software and information technology capabilities that streamline operations and “raise and sustain trust with current and existing customers”.
“Inventive companies use software, data and AI to reimagine and deliver highly differentiated product quality, operating efficiency and customer services,” Sankaran said. “Brand loyalty and growth are turbocharged in organisations that are rich with and driven by data.”
“We’re investing in our plan to modernise Ford and aren’t going to cede leadership to anyone,” Farley said. “Technology, software and industrial excellence are as critical to our long term success as the advanced vehicles that those competencies will help us develop.”
Sankaran was previously with the automaker for 12 years until 2013. His final role was chief technology officer.