14 Apr 2023

Harvard Business School Appoints Katia Walsh Chief Digital Officer


A picture of the new Chief Digital Officer of HBS, Katia Walsh
Photo courtesy Evgenia Eliseeva.

BOSTON – Harvard Business School (HBS) announced the appointment of Katia Walsh to the role of chief digital officer (CDO), effective April 10, 2023. As CDO, she will oversee the growth of a newly established technology function that builds and scales world-leading capabilities in digital products, data strategy and architecture, analytics, and Machine Learning engineering and AI. This new function will deliver common platforms to enable sophisticated digital experiences for innovation in educational and research software, in-class and online learning, community engagement, research, and publishing.

“HBS is embarking on our own digital innovations, harnessing data and artificial intelligence to transform in-person and online learning, community engagement, research, and publishing,” said HBS Dean Srikant Datar. Angela Crispi, HBS’s Executive Dean for Administration, noted, “Katia has a proven track record of working with large, global, complex organizations to build and scale their technology functions through strategy, innovation, and people development, creating new offerings and departments to deliver value to businesses and their consumers. That experience will serve her and HBS well, as we continue to advance our educational leadership and grow lifelong business learners around the world.”

Walsh comes to HBS from Levi Strauss & Co., where she served on the executive team as chief strategy and AI officer. In that position she built and led the company’s digital and emerging technology strategy, data, and AI function, an industry-first role. Walsh led numerous initiatives that pioneered data-driven decisions and outcomes throughout the business, built AI capabilities to deliver value across commercial operations and global functions, launched digital and emerging tech strategy, and empowered all associates to engage in digital transformation through machine learning bootcamps that taught coding to employees with no engineering or statistics experience.

Prior to Levi’s, Walsh was the chief big data and analytics officer for Vodafone Group, where she built the first data, and AI capability for the company globally. Similar to Levi’s, she launched new digital and data capabilities, created new digital products, and helped provide a predictive, proactive, and personalized experience for the company’s 500 million customers in 25 countries. At Vodafone, she launched employees’ digital upskilling, award-winning data privacy practices, and use of data and AI for research and social good, Before that, she was the head of data analytics and global strategic research at Prudential Financial and had various roles at Fidelity Investments and Forrester Research.

Walsh holds a Ph.D. with a specialization in quantitative methodology from the University of Missouri and master’s degrees from Indiana University and Sofia University in Bulgaria. She’s been named Global AI Ambassador 2023 and among Forbes Women Defining the 21st Century AI Movement and won a two-time Information Age Data Leader of the Year award, among other recognitions. Walsh serves on the boards of Securian Financial and the Global Legal Entity Identifier Foundation, as well as the Editorial Advisory Board of MIT Sloan Management Review.

She recently shared her thoughts on her new role in this Q&A.


Mark Cautela

About Harvard Business School

Founded in 1908 as part of Harvard University, Harvard Business School is located on a 40-acre campus in Boston. Its faculty of more than 250 offers full-time programs leading to the MBA and PhD degrees, as well as more than 175 Executive Education programs, and Harvard Business School Online, the School’s digital learning platform. For more than a century, faculty have drawn on their research, their experience in working with organizations worldwide, and their passion for teaching, to educate leaders who make a difference in the world. The School and its curriculum attract the boldest thinkers and the most collaborative learners who will go on to shape the practice of business and entrepreneurship around the globe.