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The 2016 Tech 50: Robert Alexander

The CIO of Capital One Financial Corp. moves up one spot to No. 23.

Robert Alexander
Chief Information Officer
Capital One Financial Corp.

The Amazon Web Services re:Invent conference and the South by Southwest pop culture fest aren’t on traditional bankers’ schedules. But the banker label doesn’t fit Robert Alexander, who was a physics undergrad at (and later earned an MBA from) Harvard University and served as a U.S. Air Force officer. He views Capital One Financial Corp., which he joined in 1998 from Bain & Co. and where he has been chief information officer since 2007, as something other than an ordinary bank. “Few realize that underpinning our credit card and banking services is a technology company,” Alexander blogged last October, recounting his keynote speaking gig at the AWS event. “At Capital One, it isn’t enough to have a slightly better IT shop than other banks. We have to be a great technology company” — which means a heavy reliance on engineering talent, participation in open-source communities and adoption of DevOps (development and operations) and other systems-innovation methodologies. “There’s a lot of power in the application of technology to disrupt and reinvent how banking is done,” the 51-year-old tells Institutional Investor. In March, at SXSW in Austin, Texas, $314 billion-in-assets Capital One became the first bank to announce that its customers could access financial information and even pay bills via Amazon voice-enabled devices such as Echo and Fire TV. The company’s Wallet app, formerly known as Capital One Mobile 5 and the first to incorporate Android tap-to-pay, offers real-time transaction information as well as fraud alerts. At SXSW the bank also announced Capital One DevExhange, an application programming interface platform that allows third parties to innovate on top of Capital One–developed technology. Last year McLean, Virginia–based Capital One contributed to the open-source world Hygieia, a dashboard for managing DevOps teams and tools. Looking ahead, Alexander sees a “convergence of the availability of more and more data with the ability to process data in real time. Many banks will find this hard to do.” The answer lies in “machine learning, which allows you to more intelligently get insights from that data that you’re processing in real time,” he adds. “That is a real game changer for banking.”

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The 2016 Tech 50
1. Catherine
Bank of America Corp.
2. Jeffrey Sprecher
Intercontinental Exchange
3. Lance Uggla
4. Phupinder Gill
CME Group
5. Shawn Edwards and Vlad Kliatchko
6. R. Martin Chavez
Goldman Sachs Group
7. Robert Goldstein
8. Adena Friedman
9. Deborah Hopkins
Citi Ventures
10. Daniel Coleman
KCG Holdings
11. Stephen Neff
Fidelity Investments
12. David Craig
Thomson Reuters
13. Michael Spencer
14. Michael Bodson
Depository Trust & Clearing Corp.
15. Charles Li
Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing
16. Chris Concannon
BATS Global Markets
17. Blythe Masters
Digital Asset Holdings
18. David Rutter
19. Neil Katz
D.E. Shaw & Co.
20. Lee Olesky
Tradeweb Markets
21. Richard McVey
MarketAxess Holdings
22. Seth Merrin
Liquidnet Holdings
23. Robert Alexander
Capital One Financial Corp.
24. Brad Katsuyama
IEX Group
25. Antoine Shagoury
State Street Corp.
26. David Gledhill
DBS Bank
27. Lou Eccleston
TMX Group
28. Andreas Preuss
Deutsche BÖrse
29. Dan Schulman
PayPal Holdings
30. Scott Dillon
Wells Fargo & Co.
31. Mike Chinn
S&P Global Market Intelligence
32. Craig Donohue
Options Clearing Corp.
33. Gary Norcross
Fidelity National Information Services
34. Steven O'Hanlon
35. Sebastián Ceria
36. Michael Cooper
BT Radianz
37. Tyler Kim
38. Neal Pawar
AQR Capital Management
39. David Harding
Winton Capital Management
40. Chris Corrado
London Stock Exchange Group
41. Brian Conlon
First Derivatives
42. Jim Minnick
43. Stephane Dubois
44. Mazy Dar
45. Yasuki Okai
NRI Holdings America
46. Kim Fournais
Saxo Bank
47. Jock Percy
48. Robert Schifellite
Broadridge Financial Solutions
49. Brian Sentance
Xenomorph Software
50. Pieter van der Does

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