Data Experts To Watch In 2022


We put a spotlight on data professionals who are revolutionising and creating a positive impact through their role, business and the industry globally.

Aeyad Sabagh, Head of Customer Data Governance, Etisalat

Aeyad SabaghAeyad_Sabagh is the Head of Customer Data Governance at Etisalat, having 17 years experience in the UAE and the wider region in marketing, sales and consulting. Sabagh is a project manager, and a business leader for his organisation. Etisalat UAE in collaboration with Huawei recently started the 5G Edge Box initiative, to harness digital vision and deploy 5G services to its customers across all segments.

Ahmad El Sayed, Chief Data Scientist, IBM

AhmadAhmad_El_SayeD El Sayed is a data science Leader at IBM UAE,  author and keynote speaker, with extensive research and consulting experience in data science and  AI applied for different industries, including banking, communication, government and energy. El Sayed has helped leading banks in Europe, MEA and APAC to apply AI to combat financial crimes, including money laundering, -terrorist financing and fraud. He is PhD in Computer Science, with a specialisation in Machine Learning and Information Retrieval. He has delivered keynotes at major AI conferences and roundtables in the ME region including Forbes Middle East, Smart Data Summit, AI Everything, IBM Driven by Data, GCC Statistical Forum. He also enjoys contributing to the academic sector, delivering seminars at universities in the region, including MBZUAI, RIT, AUB, LAU.

Baghdad Gherras, Director Data Science and AI, Zand

Baghdad GherrasBaghdad_Gherras is a digital data strategist who serves as Director Data Science and AI for Zand, aiding to build cutting edge financial services applications for the organisation. Passionate about the Future of Finance)  Gherras started his career in traditional finance ) as a corporate analyst at Credit Agricole and HSBC. He was also a part of the French Ministry of Foreign Trade (Business France) as an economic analyst. Continuously exploring the fascinating world of decentralised Finance (DeFi) and blockchain, Gherras is one of the 15 global Algorand Champions with a focus on building a vibrant community of technical and non-technical blockchain experts.

Bill Groves, Senior VP, Chief Data and Analytics Officer, Walmart

Bill GrovesBill Groves leads Walmart’s data analytics and insights enabling the company’s digital journey through data-driven decisions and automation. Under his leadership, his team sets enterprise data and analytic standards and establishes foundational data capabilities and tools to leverage across all business domains. Groves has more than 20 years of experience in building and managing analytics. Before Walmart, he led Honeywell’s efforts to transition to a data-driven company. He also held leadership roles at Solera, Dun & Bradstreet, comScore and FICO, and has served on the boards of Buro de Credito and BizEquity. Groves has a bachelor’s degree in Economics and an MBA from the University of Delaware.

Cassie Kozyrkov, Chief Decision (Data) Scientist, Google

Cassie KozyrkovCassie_Kozyrkov’s mission is to democratise decision intelligence and safe, reliable AI. She brings a unique combination of deep technical expertise, analytics management experience, and leading organisational change. Kozyrkov has guided more than 100 projects and designed Google’s analytics program, personally training over 20,000 Googlers in statistics, decision-making and machine learning. She is an expert in data science, decision science, public speaking, leadership, strategy and process architecture. Before joining Google, Kozyrkov was an independent data science consultant for over a decade. She has also contributed to North Carolina State University as a statistics instructor. She holds a PhD degree in Psychology and Neuroscience from Duke University.

Deepesh Jain, Director Of Data Science, Visa

Deepesh JainDeepesh_Jain has more than 12 years of experience in analytics (risk and marketing), spanning across banking & financial services and telecommunications domains for the US and UAE markets. He designed, developed and implemented analytical solutions to business problems by developing risk (acquisitions, behavioural, fraud and collections) and marketing (propensity and churn) models. A hands-on expert in machine learning, data mining, predictive modelling and strategy development, Jain holds a post-graduate degree in Industrial Engineering & Operations Research from the Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai.

Elias Baltassis, Partner & Director, Data & Analytics, BCG

Elias_BaltassisElias Baltassis has more than 20 years of experience in quantitative and data-driven topics. Baltassis specialises in artificial intelligence and data and analytics at Boston Consulting Group. He is a core member of the technology advantage practice and of BCG’s GAMMA team that focuses on analytics and data science. He leads the analytics and AI projects across many industries and functions and regularly works in areas such as data strategy, data governance, and data regulation. He works with clients in several European countries, the Middle East and the US. He has published numerous articles on these topics and is a regular speaker at leading AI industry events and conferences. He is also a lecturer at INSEAD. Prior to joining BCG, he was a founding member and managing director of Opera Solutions, a pure-player in data and analytics.

Fawad Memon, Director of Analytics and Insights, The Coca-Cola Company

Fawad MenonFawad_Memon is based out of Dubai, UAE and works as a Director of Analytics and Insights (Decision Science & Data Strategy) for The Coca Cola Company. He is a senior in-house consultant with over 13 years of experience in MENA and has demonstrated thought-leadership for innovative ideas and solutions to drive business growth and competitive edge. His strong ability to convert business problems into solutions using analytics, strategic and problem-solving skills makes him a highly-skilled asset for his organisation. A few of his specialities include advertising, business case concept development, consulting and market planning.

Gil Gur Arie, Chief Global Data, Insights and Analytics Officer, Ford Motor

Gil Gur ArieGil_Gur_Arie leads Ford Motor’s team through the digital revolution by developing big-data, connected vehicle data and AI strategies. He capitalises on the enterprise’s data sources and advanced analytics talent to enhance operational fitness, develop connected vehicle business opportunities and steer better decision making throughout the company. Gur Arie has over two decades of experience in data science, research and development, cyber and intelligent technologies management. He was appointed as Data Science representative, establishing the profession of Data Engineer within the IDF. Gur Arie received his Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering from the Israel Institute of Technology and his MBA from Tel Aviv University.

Greg Lavender, Senior VP, CTO and General Manager, Intel

Greg LavenderGreg_Lavender drives Intel’s future technical innovation and research programs. He is defining a singular AI software stack to support Intel’s range of business and hardware offerings. Before joining Intel, Lavender worked with VMware as a senior vice president and CTO. He has over 35 years of experience in software and hardware product engineering and advanced research and development. Before VMware, Lavender was managing director and CTO for cloud architecture and technology engineering at Citigroup, where he led the global transformation of Citi IT to adopt modern mobile technology, cloud IaaS and PaaS, big data advanced analytics, among other things. In addition to his UGA degree, Lavender holds a Master of Science and PhD in computer science from Virginia Tech.

Iwao Fusillo, Chief Data & Analytics Officer, General Motors

Iwao FusilloIwao Fusillo is a seasoned data executive with experience in leading large scale transformations that make data a significant source of long-term competitive advantage. As a chief data and analytics officer, Fusillo heads the company’s analytics and data science programs to optimise data implementation and use.  Fusillo’s history in varied industries and fields gives him an understanding of data management’s ability to elevate an organisation. Before joining General Motors, he worked with brands like National Football League, American Express Company, Chemical Bank by JP Morgan Chase. He holds a degree in Bachelor of Science and is an MBA graduate specialising in finance and international business from Columbia Business School.

Joseph George, Head Of Information Systems and Technology, National Bank of Fujairah

Joseph GeorgeJoseph_George is an IT executive with more than 21 years of experience with expertise in digital transformation, customer experience, process reengineering and vendor management for the National Bank of Fujairah. He is also a technology expert in robotics and AI, with proven capabilities in reducing operational and transaction costs using technology. He has a  Doctorate (PhD) in Software Project Management, Diploma in Cyber Law, Diploma in Digital Strategies for Business – Leading Next-Generation Enterprise from Columbia Business School.

John Kahan, Vice President and Chief Data Analytics Officer, Microsoft

John KahanJohn_Kahan is a data-driven leader with over 36 years in data science and technology transformation experience across Microsoft and IBM. In his current role, he infuses data science and AI to address some of the world’s most significant challenges, such as promoting sustainable use of the planet’s resources, strengthening humanitarian assistance and advancing health. Since joining Microsoft in 2003, Kahan has managed several data and analytics teams whose work has influenced the evolution of Microsoft products and services, including Bing, MSN, Windows and gaming, AI and research, and education. Kahan is also the founder and president of the Aaron Matthew SIDS Research Foundation of Seattle Children’s Hospital and has served on boards for for-profit and not-for-profit enterprises. He holds an MBA degree from New York University.

Khaled Abou Samak, Head of Data Science, Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Khaled AbouKhaled_Abou_Samak is an expert in t data science, AI and machine learning, data governance, and data analytics, with over 20 years of corporate experience in solving real-world business problems by translating them into AI and data science problems. Abou Samak builds AI, digital strategies and develops roadmaps to create a competitive advantage based on machine learning solutions. He also aids the Abu Dhabi Chamber to transform its management practices in digital business domains and improving their business performance by utilising data. He excels in data governance strategies, data architecture and policies,  ensuring data is managed as an asset across the organisation.

Kyle Malady, Executive VP, CTO, Verizon

Kyle MaladyKyle_Malady is an executive vice president, global networks and chief technology officer at Verizon and oversees the Global Network & Technology (GN&T) organisation. Malady leads more than 45,000 dedicated employees at Verizon. He is responsible for leading 5G network and a vast IP network serving global customers in over 145 countries, making up the Intelligent Edge Network. He has served in various roles, including operations, planning, technology, engineering and finance. In these roles, he had an opportunity to shape Verizon’s network architecture and technical aspirations. Most recently, Malady was head of the Core Engineering and Operations organisation within GN&T. He holds an MBA degree from New York University.

Linus Brüchner, Chief Data Officer, AXA

Linus BrüchnerLinus_Brüchner works as a Chief Data Officer at AXA and is part of the data science team in the engineering and technical departments. Following his passion for modern solutions based on data and digital tech, Brüchnerhas delivered value for companies in Europe, the US, Africa, and the Middle East. At AXA, he is responsible for defining and delivering the data strategy for all business units and building a data team and analytical ecosystem (on AWS) from scratch, working on increased data availability/democratisation and advanced machine learning algorithms as a  part of the business process flow. He graduated from ESCP Europe in 2011 and is currently based in Dubai, UAE. His prior work experience also includes working at Microsoft and Cubiks as an analyst.

Mohamed AlMadhaani, Advisor of Technology & Policies, Abu Dhabi Digital Authority

Mohamed Abdullah AlmadhaniMohamed_AlMadhaani works in the intersection of business, technology and advanced analytics turning strategic government data into knowledge that solves complex problems and drives policy decisions. With over a decade of experience in the technology world, he is a big data and data science subject matter expert (SME) for the ADDA, and also a member of numerous governmental committees related to applied technologies, data governance, and decision management automation.

Nancy Flores, Executive VP, Chief Information and Technology Officer, McKesson

Nancy FloresNancy_Flores is responsible for the company’s technology initiatives, including software, infrastructure, application development tools and processes, operations, and cybersecurity. She also guides the overall direction for the company’s healthcare technology products and data and analytics. The Greater Milwaukee Women’s Fund recognised Flores as a 2019 Futurist Leader for her strong commitment to diversity and inclusion. PreviouslyMcKesson, Flores served as a CIO at Johnson Controls (JCI) and spent 22 years at Abbott in several leadership roles, including chief information officer. Flores earned a Master’s degree in Mathematics from the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado.

Ram Kumar, Chief Data And Analytics Officer, Cigna

Ram KumarRam_Kumar is the Chief Data and Analytics Officer of Cigna, responsible for driving data and analytics strategy and its execution for over 30 countries covering the Americas, EMEA, and the Asia Pacific. He has a strong basic and applied R&D background in AI and machine learning and was actively involved in this field between 1986 and 2005, and has worked closely with some of the pioneers in this field. Kumar has published over 150 articles and is a regular keynote speaker in conferences globally, and is a  recipient of several global IT and Data awards. Before Cigna, he was the CEO of Quantium India where he was responsible for the overall management and operations of the organisation.

Dr Werner Vogels, VP & CTO,

Dr Werner VogelsWerner_Vogels is in charge of driving technology innovation and has broad internal and external responsibilities. He believes in democratising business creation, simplifying operation and driving innovation by providing a low cost, scalable and reliable infrastructure that can be acquired on-demand. Also, supporting large enterprises break free from the lock-in of traditional enterprise hardware and software vendors. Before joining Amazon, Vogels worked as a researcher at Cornell University. He holds a PhD from the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam.

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