By Peter High, published on Forbes
When Anil Cheriyan joined SunTrust as Chief Information Officer six years ago, he inherited a siloed technology group. He got to work breaking down those silos, implementing a new operating model to drive alignment, cost transparency, and strategic investment decisions. He addressed SunTrust’s fragmented approach to digital by hiring business segment Chief Technology Officers, a Chief Data Officer, and an enterprise-level Chief Digital Officer, all of which reported to him as CIO. Cheriyan also oversaw SunTrust’s transition from an innovation strategy of ad hoc hackathons and collaborative office hours to a comprehensive framework that leveraged an agile way of working, a DevOps mindset, and new technologies like the cloud and AI.
His plans in retirement befit someone of his impressive background. Cheriyan will continue to advise start ups and fellow CIOs. This comes naturally to him as someone who spent more than two decades as a consultant with IBM and PWC.
Peter High: You recently retired as Chief Information Officer of SunTrust after a successful 6-year journey. What are you planning to do in retirement?
Anil Cheriyan: I do not have a detailed plan. I intend to take some time off and travel a little bit. I am on a few advisory boards of some smaller late stage growth startups. I also intend to pursue some public board opportunities. I do a little bit of consulting and advisory work through relationships that I have built in the past. I am not seeking a CIO type of job. I recently heard about the term portfolio career, and that is what I intend to do.
High: You mentioned you are doing some advising on the boards of some venture-backed organizations. Can you talk a bit about that experience? How have you gotten involved? Also, what value do these organizations derive from having a CIO advising them?
Cheriyan: During my career, I have built several relationships with Fintech venture capital funds, as well as general venture capital funds that are involved with late-stage startups. These are startups that are about $40 million to $50 million a year in revenue and growing. Their focus is typically to grow their revenue to $100 million plus. It is exciting and fun being part of these boards.
The career that I have had in consulting, as well as in driving IT for a financial services firm, enables me to help a lot of these startups in their revenue opportunities. What is the right messaging? Providing them with a CIO perspective. Helping them think through how best to attract and build the right talent, and so on. It has been fun, and it helps me network with influential people who are in similar positions as myself.
To read the full interview, please visit Forbes