Technovation with Peter High - 371 Interviews and Podcasts

Welcome to the Technovation with Peter High, a collection of exclusive interviews with Chief Information Officers and other IT industry thought leaders. Learn from the experts on how best to establish a truly World Class IT organization.

Cathy Bessant
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November 18, 2013: Cathy Bessant, Global Technology and Operations Executive of Bank of America

Among other topics, Cathy discusses the following issues with Metis Strategy:

  • How she manages multiple CIOs and senior IT executives that report to her
  • Her philosophy that reducing spending should not equate to under-spending, which curtails growth
  • The shifting away of focus on deeply technical and engineering backgrounds for IT executives at large corporations
  • The complementary roles of chief marketing officer and IT executives, given her career path through various divisions of BOA
  • How serving on boards of different types of organizations can be valuable training for executives to rise within their own organizations
  • Eye on trends: It is a hard time for the banking industry in general, and firms like BOA will continue to reduce risk, integrate acquisitions, and decrease operating costs through superior IT

Cathy Bessant’s Biography

Cathy Bessant is Global Technology and Operations executive at Bank of America and a member of the company’s executive management team.

Since 2010, Cathy has been responsible for delivering end-to-end technology and operating services across the company through a team of nearly 100,000 employees and contractors in 35 countries around the world. Global Technology and Operations provides the platforms and fulfillment services that sustain the company’s consumer banking, wealth management, commercial banking, treasury services, sales and trading, and investment banking businesses – as well as risk management, finance and other critical support functions. Cathy’s team also oversees the company’s business continuity and information security strategies and policies.

In addition, Cathy chairs Bank of America’s Environmental Program, a position she has held since 2011. She has held a number of senior leadership roles for the company. Most recently, she was president of Global Corporate Banking. Prior to that, she was president of Global Treasury Services and Global Product Solutions; chief marketing officer; president of Consumer Real Estate and Community Development Banking; National Small Business Segment executive; and president of Bank of America, Florida. She joined Bank of America as a corporate banker in Texas in 1982.

Cathy currently chairs the board of directors of Foundation For The Carolinas, one of the largest community foundations in the United States. She also is the lead director for Florida Blue, formerly Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida, and is a member of the board of trustees for the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

Named to American Banker’s “25 Most Powerful Women in Banking” list in 2013 for the third consecutive year, she was also honored as one of Computerworld’s “2013 Premier 100” IT leaders. Cathy was No. 4 on the 2013 Institutional Investor Tech 50 list of financial services leaders in technological achievement and innovation, and in 2011 was named “Best CIO” by Waters Technology at the American Financial Technology Awards.


The World Class IT principles in yellow were the focus of this interview