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The 2017 Tech 40: Lance Uggla
In "the world of large information sets," as Lance Uggla describes today's reality, many may aspire to the title "information powerhouse." IHS Markit's top executives laid claim to it in late 2015 when they began to explore the merger of equals that had created the London-based, $3.5 billion-in-revenues data and analytics enterprise. Uggla, then CEO of financial information services company Markit, joined Jerre Stead, his counterpart at diversified data publisher IHS, in announcing their merger agreement in March 2016. Thirteen months later, at an investor presentation in New York, Stead proclaimed the vision of the now-integrated "powerhouse combination" to be "the leading source for critical information, analytics, and insight that power growth, efficiency, and value for our customers." Markit, a valuation, transaction processing, and indexing provider that former TD Securities executive Uggla founded in 2003, had more than 3,000 institutional customers by the time it went public in 2014. The financial segment today accounts for roughly a third of total IHS Markit revenue, with transportation and energy each in the 25 percent range. The company has 14,000 employees and 50,000 customers; among the latter are 85 percent of the Fortune Global 500. Uggla cites "access to the C-suite in all our verticals including asset managers, energy, technology, and manufacturing" as a foundation for competitive advantage in providing insights, analytics, and expertise. But the 55-year-old president, who is due to succeed Stead as CEO at year-end, adds that IHS Markit can maintain its edge only by investing in new technologies and capabilities, fueled by more than $125 million in postmerger cost synergies. Uggla revealed some cutting-edge examples to the investor day audience: a high-performance, scenario-driven valuation capability for upstream energy companies; deep-learning sentiment analysis based on natural-language-processing algorithms; and automated index construction. "There is a technology angle in all the incremental investments that we will be putting to work in IHS globally," Uggla says. He notes that a key player in bringing data and analytics together is chief data officer Yaacov Mutnikas. Formerly of the Bank of England, hedge fund firm Bridgewater Associates, and risk management systems company Algorithmics, Mutnikas joined Markit in September 2015 as co-head of solutions.
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