Ford has selected a new senior leader 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.
Vijay Sankaran, 47, will join the company Nov. 16 as chief software and information officer, reporting to Ford President and CEO Jim Farley. Sankaran was previously 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 led the financial trading company’s own digital revolution. That included introducing new client-facing mobile applications, infusing capabilities enabled by artificial intelligence to deliver client personalization 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 leading-edge agile software engineering approach that doubled software delivery throughput and built from scratch a digital innovation center in Ann Arbor, Mich.
At Ford, Sankaran will be asked to improve existing operations and help create and deliver new reasons for customers to choose and stay with Ford – in the process generating additional revenue streams for the company. He will lead Ford’s 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 organizations that are rich with and driven by data.”
“We’re investing in our plan to modernize 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.”
For Sankaran, the assignment is a return to Ford. He was with the automaker for 12 years until 2013, in his final role as Ford IT’s chief technology officer.