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The 2015 Tech 50: Catherine Bessant

Bank of America Corp.’s global technology and operations executive climbs to the No. 2 spot on this year’s Tech 50 ranking.

Catherine Bessant
Chief Operations and Technology Officer
Bank of America Corp.

With 110,000 employees and contractors at her disposal in 34 countries, and a development budget last year of $3 billion, Catherine Bessant presides over one of the world’s biggest information technology organizations. It just happens to be within Bank of America Corp., the second-biggest U.S.-based banking company, with $2.1 trillion in assets. (Other vital statistics: 48 million consumer and business relationships, 4,800 retail offices, 15,900 ATMs, 31 million active online customers and 17 million mobile users — and those are just domestic numbers.) So big is Bessant’s platform that her decisions can send ripples throughout the IT world. A case in point is a software-defined infrastructure initiative, essentially the creation of a private cloud, on which Charlotte, North Carolina–based BofA plans to run 80 percent of its workload by 2018. “Our strategic partners would say our drive for software-defined infrastructure is causing them to rethink their own models for delivery,” says Bessant, global technology and operations executive since 2010. (Her title was renamed chief operations and technology officer, effective July 22.) “That form of innovation really is driving sector change, given our scale,” adds the 33-year BofA veteran, whose past positions include president of global corporate banking, chief marketing officer and president of consumer real estate and community development banking. The 55-year-old doesn’t just do IT: She chairs the bank’s clean-energy-promoting Environmental Program and in March was paired with a professional ballet dancer in “Dancing with the Stars of Charlotte,” which raised $255,000 for the local ballet and the Buddy Kemp Cancer Support Center, named for a BofA executive who died of cancer. Bessant describes the current tech environment as “moving at the speed of the consumer, not the speed of the enterprise. I need to convene the best and brightest talent to solve the challenge of enterprises working one way and the market demanding a different speed.”

See the full story, “The 2015 Tech 50: Racers to the Edge.”

The 2015 Tech 50

1. Jeffrey Sprecher
Intercontinental Exchange
2. Catherine Bessant
Bank of America Corp.
3. Phupinder Gill
CME Group
4. Lance Uggla
5. Robert Goldstein
6. Shawn Edwards &
Vlad Kliatchko
7. R. Martin Chavez
Goldman Sachs Group
8. Deborah Hopkins
Citi Ventures
9. Stephen Neff
Fidelity Investments
10. Adena Friedman
Nasdaq OMX Group
11. David Craig
Thomson Reuters
12. Daniel Coleman
KCG Holdings
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. Christopher Perretta
State Street Corp.
18. Antoine Shagoury
London Stock Exchange Group
19. Kevin Rhein
Wells Fargo & Co.
20. Neil Katz
D.E. Shaw & Co.
21. Lee Olesky
Tradeweb Markets
22. Richard McVey
MarketAxess Holdings
23. Seth Merrin
Liquidnet Holdings
24. Robert Alexander
Capital One Financial Corp.
25. Frank Bisignano
First Data Corp.
26. John Marcante
Vanguard Group
27. Joseph Squeri
28. Lou Eccleston
TMX Group
29. Claude Honegger
Credit Suisse
30. Chris Corrado
31. David Gledhill
DBS Bank
32. John Bates
Software AG
33. Michael Cooper
BT Radianz
34. Gary Scholten
Principal Financial Group
35. Sunil Hirani
trueEX Group
36. Hauke Stars
Deutsche BÖrse
37. Brian Conlon
First Derivatives
38. Jim Minnick
39. Lars Seier Christensen & Kim Fournais
40. Tyler Kim
41. Jim McGuire
Charles Schwab Corp.
42. Steven O'Hanlon
43. Sebastián Ceria
44. Yasuki Okai
NRI Holdings America
45. Stephane Dubois
46. Mazy Dar
47. Brian Sentance
Xenomorph Software
48. Mas Nakachi
49. John Lehner
BNY Mellon Technology Solutions Group
50. Jock Percy

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