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Wells Fargo Names New Chief Data Officer

Charles Thomas previously served in the same capacity at USAA.

Wells Fargo announced today it has appointed Charles Thomas to the role of chief data officer. Thomas most recently served as chief data and analytics officer at USAA, and prior to that ran their research and analytics team.

In this new role, Thomas will oversee the company’s data strategy, provide enterprise data governance, and determine ways to leverage data for improved risk management and customer experiences, the bank said. He will join the company in early March and will be based in San Francisco.

Thomas will report to Kevin Rhein, chief information officer and head of the Technology and Operations Group. The company’s Enterprise Data and Analytics team will report to Thomas.

Jim Smith, who helped to create the Enterprise Data and Analytics group and the Chief Data Officer role, will continue to lead the Digital Channels Group, the bank said.

[Related: Leveraging Data and Analytics to Circumvent Legacy Systems Challenges]

Bryan Yurcan is associate editor for Bank Systems and Technology. He has worked in various editorial capacities for newspapers and magazines for the past 8 years. After beginning his career as a municipal and courts reporter for daily newspapers in upstate New York, Bryan has ... View Full Bio

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IvySchmerken
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IvySchmerken,
User Rank: Author
2/28/2014 | 9:43:28 PM
re: Wells Fargo Names New Chief Data Officer
The larger banks tend to have the chief data and analytics officer function. I wonder if this trend will be adopted by the mid-size and smaller banks?
IvySchmerken
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IvySchmerken,
User Rank: Author
2/28/2014 | 9:42:26 PM
re: Wells Fargo Names New Chief Data Officer
Yes, the C-Suite list of roles is growing, and the Big Data analytics aspect is probably going to become part of everyone's job. It may start as a specialty now, but as you said, analysis of data is permeating every role. Even the SEC, a place that is mainly staffed by lawyers is tracking data to monitor trading and consider reforms based on facts, rather than anecdotal evidence.
Kelly22
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Kelly22,
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2/27/2014 | 5:29:55 PM
re: Wells Fargo Names New Chief Data Officer
Absolutely; as banks continue to retain and manage data, I think more will appoint people to take on these kinds of roles.
KBurger
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KBurger,
User Rank: Author
2/27/2014 | 4:56:52 PM
re: Wells Fargo Names New Chief Data Officer
This is an increasingly prominent role across financial services. Several insurance companies have Chief Scientists; as you say, chief data officer role is morphing to include analytics. Chief customer experience, customer insight and even chief innovation officer appointments are cropping up and obviously have a lot to do with application of BD/analytics. And of course there are other long-standing functions, such as CMO, CRO, Compliance Officer, that essentially are now data-based functions.
IvySchmerken
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IvySchmerken,
User Rank: Author
2/26/2014 | 2:55:30 AM
re: Wells Fargo Names New Chief Data Officer
This shows how important data and analytics is becoming to banks. I've heard of the chief data officer role but this has now evolved into the chief data and analytics officer.
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