Chief Digital Officer
Katia Walsh, Ph.D., is Harvard Business School’s inaugural Chief Digital Officer and a member of the School’s executive leadership team. She helps global brands retain relevance and competitive advantage for the future through Digital, Data, AI, and emerging tech capabilities. With 20+ years of experience, she’s led Digital and Customer-Centric transformations across multiple industries and countries around the world.
In her HBS role, Katia is building a team of business-focused data scientists, machine learning engineers, product managers, and developers to advance the School’s digital transformation ambition. Together, they will deploy digital and emerging tech to achieve their strategic goals, solve high-value problems, and seize never-before-possible opportunities. For example, they will unify the rich digital and data assets across the School, unearth new value for HBS students, faculty, alumni, and community, and scale lifelong learning for leaders who make a difference in the world.
Before HBS, Katia served on the executive leadership team of Levi Strauss & Company as its first Chief Global Strategy and Artificial Intelligence Officer. In that role, she helped advance the iconic brand’s direct-to-consumer vision; pioneered personalization; optimized pricing; transformed merchandise planning and inventory management; and delivered hundreds of millions of dollars to its top and bottom line.
Prior to Levi Strauss & Company, Katia was the first Chief Global Big Data and AI Officer at Vodafone Group, responsible for providing a predictive, proactive, and personalized experience for its 500 million customers. She and her teams across 25 countries also contributed to the use of data and AI for research innovation and social good. Before that, she served as the first Head of Data Analytics at Prudential Financial where she co-founded the Chief Customer Office as part of the company’s digital transformation. Katia has also held leadership roles at Fidelity Investments, now considered the original FinTech company, and Forrester Research, Inc., where she helped businesses thrive on technology change. She’s also taught and conducted research on new communication technology and digital channels’ effectiveness at the University of Missouri and Texas State University, where she launched its Master’s program in communication.
Katia serves as a Director on the Board of Securian Financial, a North American diversified financial services firm and Fortune 500 company, and the not-for-profit Global Legal Entity Identifier Foundation in Switzerland. She has been recognized as a 2023 Swiss Cognitive Global AI Ambassador, 2022 Global Data Power and Top 50 Women of San Francisco, and received the 2021 global AI Mentorship Award by VentureBeat. She is passionate about responsible and ethical use of digital technology, data and AI, as well as encouraging diversity, upskilling the workforce, and mentoring youth. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Missouri-Columbia in Strategic Communication with a specialization in quantitative methodology.