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JPMorgan's new ex-fintech CTO suggests payments is more important than AI

JPMorgan has a new incoming CTO in the form of ex-PayPal CTO Shri Shivananda. Opting for an executive from fintech (albeit a more incumbent name in the sector) is an interesting move, but how much of that fintech DNA will Shivananda be able to carry over to the bank?

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Shivananda is one of many PayPal alums at JPMorgan. We've spotted at least 320 people working at the bank who've previously worked for the payments firm. At least 34 of these are managing directors (MDs), so there's a strong PayPal contingent among JPMorgan's leadership core. Goldman Sachs, for reference, has a CTO from Verizon and a CIO from AWS; we can only see 167 alums of either firm at the bank, and just five MDs.

The fellow JPMorgan MDs who've come from PayPal recently include head of data delivery, Sudhir Rao who joined in November. The longest serving ex-PayPal MD at JPMorgan is head of payments architecture Jack Gibson, who joined as an executive director in 2016 and made MD in 2022.

What makes ex-PayPal talent so popular? When Goldman Sachs appointed ex-AWS alum Marco Argenti as CIO in 2019, it made sense as Goldman was engrossed in a mass cloud migration, and was using AWS across the bank. JPMorgan appointing Shivananda may, then, suggest that the bank's payments offerings are of paramount importance right now. The majority of JPMorgan's PayPal MDs either work in payments, or its consumer digibank offering, Chase, which the bank is investing heavily into.

The hot topic in tech among JPMorgan execs, however, is AI. Reviews on jobs forum Blind suggest PayPal's work in that space isn't exactly industry-leading. One says its efforts in machine learning are "just a show... when you dig deep, they have hardly had any impact." One machine learning engineer calls management "terrible" and another says there is "no innovation." The bank has, however, recently hired Manoj Sindhwani from Amazon to be CIO for data and AI.

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AUTHORAlex McMurray Reporter

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