On the Move: First Data

Well after a bit of time in stealth I am finally able to announce that I have taken the position of Chief Technology Officer at First Data. 

After being asked to join the Turn-Around team at AOL and driving some amazing results over the past four years, it was time for a change.  I absolutely loved my time there and the people were amazing.  Success has a quality all on its own and it was an incredibly personally rewarding experience for me to be a part of something that unique.

The move to First Data is an incredibly exciting move for me for many different reasons but one of the key drivers for me is that I feel that this industry is ripe for change.  It’s a move for me from running and building large scale Internet products and infrastructure to the Financial Services Industry.  

For those of you who may be be unaware of who First Data is, or what they do, its probably easiest to think of it this way – one out of every two credit card or debit card transactions across the world touches our infrastructure at some point in the transaction process. From a transactional scale perspective its very similar to what I have been used to companies likes AOL, Microsoft, and Disney.  The difference being of course that these transactions are a little more important than checking your favorite sports scores, or getting your e-mail. 

My challenge of course is to drive automation. To build a platform that makes infrastructure a decisive and differentiating platform to launch products and services.  To create a learning infrastructure and software eco-system that gets smarter over time.   In large part how do you blend the agility of the Internet with the maturity and complexity of the Financial Services Industry.   Sure it’s a complex technical problem space, but it has some very interesting business and regulatory challenges as well.   In many respects dealing with Safe Harbor, Regulatory and tax has been part of my job for many years.  The challenge now is to take that automation to the next level.  

To that end I have to say that First Data is assembling an amazingly formidable team to drive this change.  I will be reporting to the President of First Data, Guy Chiarello.  Guy is a universally respected Technology leader in the Financial Services industry with top posts at Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan Chase.  Technology will be key to the success of the company and the leadership team is a unique blend of technology savvy leaders from across the world. 

The new adventure begins!

You can follow the link to the official press announcement.

Along with the initial pickup from the Wall Street Journal.


on taking the responsibilities of CTO of the Huffington Post Media Group. . .


Today I was asked to take over the responsibilities of Chief Technology Officer for the Huffington Post Media Group and I can tell I am extremely excited for this opportunity.  This new set of responsibilities will be in addition to my current role as Senior Vice President of Technology at AOL where I have responsibility for the Operations and Day to Day Delivery of all AOL products and services.  What is extremely interesting is that the Huffington Post is like no other platform or agency of its kind.  In fact, I am not sure there really is a ‘kind’ to apply. 

In observing and participating in the daily Operation of the Huffington Post since its integration into AOL and experiencing first hand how that organization functions from an editorial flow perspective it is singly unique to any other organization I have ever witnessed. 

First the integration between the Editorial, Design, and Technology components of the company are truly three equal and dependent legs in the overall delivery of the service. Unlike many media companies where Technology plays a secondary role, at the Huffington Post its an essential and core part of the overall product and delivery strategy.  Technology literally iterates on a daily basis.

In conversations with Arianna Huffington and Tim Armstrong, I have come to truly appreciate the longer term vision and expansion of this product and how important a role Technology will represent. My background of rapidly scaling out infrastructure and development capabilities will I hope lend some considerable capabilities to these goals for the future.

Some people familiar with this type of industry may think its nothing more than a simplified website with a custom CMS.  I can tell you that the back end systems, custom CMS, widget interfaces and overall flexibility that these systems operate on and develop to are part of the reason for the platforms overall success.   In a world where ‘Internet time’ generally means an aggressively accelerated rate of time, the Huffington Post Platform operates at a Faster than Internet time rate.   Its an incredible challenge and one I cant wait to sink my teeth into.