- Longtime technology leader of Bank of America, Cathy Bessant, will become the vice chair, global strategy based out of Paris, the company announced Friday. Bessant served as chief technology and operations officer at the financial institution for more than 12 years.
- The move comes alongside a companywide shakeup of senior leadership at Bank of America, with new heads of lines of business, the addition of five members and changes to a number of C-suite roles. With Bessant in a new role, Bank of America is splitting its technology and operations into two organizations.
- Aditya Bhasin will serve as chief technology and information officer. In his role, Bhasin will design and deliver enterprisewide technology solutions and oversee information security, technology infrastructure and global business services. Tom Scrivener will take over as chief operations executive.
Bessant led a culture of technology innovation and placed guardrails around AI, emphasizing independent testing and a stringent governance structure. She operated in an elevated technology role at Bank of America and her pivot to an outright strategy position is indicative of the business-savvy required of top CIOs.
CIOs have retained close ties to operations since the inception of the C-suite role in the 1980s. Some experts predicted the CIO would become a pipeline to serving as COO. A multidisciplinary role, CIOs weave technology into lines of business and a split of responsibilities, with expertise shifting toward technology, allow CIOs to focus on the next generation of enterprise tech.
Bessant was a force in business technology strategy, integral in the move to consolidate the financial services company's infrastructure footprint. The bank's search for a cloud provider culminated in a partnership with IBM, announced in 2019, to create a financial services-focused cloud offering. (A key figure in that partnership, the former Bank of America CTO Howard Boville, later joined IBM in a cloud leadership role.)
Bessant's technology successor, Bhasin, is a longtime employee of Bank of America, having joined the organization in 2004. Most recently he served as the CIO and head of technology for the line of business responsible for online and mobile banking apps and payments and commerce services.
While Bessant will remain a part of Bank of America, her responsibilities will shift to the company's European presence, where she will focus on global integrated strategy, governance and client and regulator engagement.