The Financial Technology Report is pleased to announce its second annual awards for The Top 25 Financial Technology CTOs. These accomplished individuals have developed deep technological capabilities over many years leading to their role as one of the most critical executives of their organization. They serve as a backbone ensuring all systems operate effectively on a continuous basis.
The awardees of 2020 were selected based on close review of hundreds of nominations submitted by financial technology colleagues, peers and industry professionals. Each candidate was further evaluated based on their professional experience and accomplishments as well as the caliber of their current organizations.
We congratulate each of the following accomplished individuals who make up this year's Top 25 Financial Technology CTOs awards list.
1. Sri Shivananda, Paypal
Sri Shivananda is the Chief Technology Officer of Paypal and he is a strong believer that “successful leaders get good advice from everywhere.” He draws his inspiration from family and friends, leaders and colleagues, and mentors and authors. As an avid ‘reader’ of audio books – which he listens to at double-speed – he regards authors as important sources of insight. “It’s people I never meet but I get the opportunity to have a conversation [with] through their literature,” he said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal.
Shivananda received his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University in 1995 and a master’s degree from Ohio University in 1998. He started as a programmer at Ford Motor Company in 1999 and occupied various positions before making eBay his career home in 2002. From there, he ascended through the ranks before taking the vice president role at PayPal. Within the year, he was promoted to CTO and Vice President of Global Platform & Infrastructure.
2. Chee Mun Foong, MoneyLion
Chee Mun Foong is a co-founder and CTO of five-year-old fintech Moneylion – a mobile banking platform that offers lending, financial advising and investment services to customers. Originally based in New York, the firm was formed by tech specialists and investors who designed a unique system to evaluate variables and produce user recommendations and calculate risk. Foong personally led the team that created a scalable, high frequency loan underwriting system capable of analyzing thousands of data points of each applicant using analytics and machine learning algorithms.
Prior to his work at Moneylion, Foong was one of the founding members for Simulex, a research firm that focused on predicting human behavior through the use of artificial intelligence and advanced analytics. He has consulted with a number of Fortune 500 companies and several branches of the US Department of Defense on projects during his tenure, ranging from big data calculation and analysis to programming social science data into mathematical and algorithmic models.
3. Mike Reust, Betterment
Betterment is redefining the way people make investments and Mike Reust is there to make sure they have the right people and the right systems to make that happen. As Chief Technology Officer, he is in charge of a world-class engineering team that is dedicated to driving the tech engine behind Betterment’s success. Since joining them in 2013, Reust’s rise has been quick with yearly promotions progressing him to the position of General Manager and CTO by 2018.
During his tenure as engineering director, Reust was put in charge of revamping Betterment’s hiring process. He spoke about the importance of incorporating diversity and inclusion into the company’s hiring practices in a very real way: “There was a group of engineers who got together to talk regularly about diversity, and I sat down with them to talk about what we could do better. One of the more revealing questions I asked them was, ‘what could we have better communicated during the interview process that would’ve made your decision to join Betterment a no brainer?’”
Before Betterment, Reust worked as a software engineer for GE Infrastructure, Quantitive Risk Management, ZocDoc and eTapestry. He attended Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor of science in software engineering and economics.
4. Shivaas Gulati, Remitly
As an entrepreneur and an engineer, Shivaas Gulati has a passion for finding new answers to old problems. Fortunately for the many people who send money to loved ones around the world, he sees the problem with the high fees, unfavourable exchange rates, long wait times and few guarantees of safe delivery associated with cross-border money transfers.
Armed with an MS in information technology from Carnegie Mellon University and experience building digital platforms for businesses ranging from social change to travel booking, Gulati was ready to tackle the challenge of moving money. Together with co-founders Matt Oppenheimer and Josh Hug, Gulati launched Remitly – a mobile payments service that gives customers the ability to internationally transmit money to other users in the Philippines, India or the United States. As CTO, he played a key role in building the global payments infrastructure and backend systems that makes Remitly’s services possible for their customers.
5. Ken Nagel, Umpqua Bank
Since 2017, Ken Nagel has served as Chief Technology Officer and an Executive Vice President at Umpqua Bank, a community bank serving Portland, Oregon, and the greater Pacific Northwest for over 50 years. Nagel and his team, the company’s Technology Advancement Group are responsible for advancing and innovating the financial organization’s IT infrastructure, digital platforms, and payment processes. In his role, he directly oversees a department of over 350 engineers, architects, while also running the enterprise program management office. Under Nagel, the organization has deployed state-of-the-art proprietary mobile payments app, Umpqua Pay, as well as technology advancements in business banking.
Nagel, who holds an Executive MBA from Pepperdine University, began his career with Southern California Edison managing the Advanced Desktop Technologies department where his team developed the i-Net application. Later, Nagel also managed technology development for San Francisco’s Union Bank and Farmers & Merchants Bank of Long Beach, before joining Umpqua in 2016. He is also an avid supporter of youth empowerment and serves on the Board of Directors of the Portland non-profit Self Enhancement, Inc.
6. Edward Kim, Gusto
Edward Kim’s first office was a Palo Alto walk-in closet he rented for $300. Kim and co-founders Josh Reeves and Tomor London started Gusto with the brave and noble goal of making payroll, benefits and HR less painful for smaller businesses. From those most humble beginnings, Gusto grew into a thriving company that serves over 60,000 businesses and employs 600 people – a hundred of which are engineers.
Kim’s first love is coding and much of his work in the early days involved designing and building the systems that make Gusto a market leader. As the company grew, so did the demands of being a people manager and Kim dedicated himself to become the best leader he could for his team.
Kim is Stanford-educated and armed with his newly-minted master of science in electrical engineering, began his career with a telecommunications company before moving on to Volkswagen of America Electronics Research Lab. In 2008, he founded Picwing – an online photo-sharing app – that was eventually acquired by PicPlum three years later.
7. Michael Manos, Fiserv
As Global Chief Technology Officer for payment processing giant Fiserv, Michael Manos literally runs the tech world. The company provides financial solutions powered by technology for thousands of financial institutions and millions of business of all sizes. The company is supported by approximately 44,000 employees worldwide and operates in more than 100 countries. Michael joined Fiserv through the company's acquisition of First Data, where he was previously Global CTO. First Data served more than 14 million merchants spanning the globe processing $2.2 trillion in card transactions domestically ever year, which made them the biggest player in the payment industry. There, he oversaw delivery of credit and debit card issuing, payment processing, transaction tokenization, and point of sale security platforms across 119 countries.
Before joining First Data, Manos served as CTO for AOL Services. He also held other senior leadership positions with large well-known corporate enterprises such as Nokia, Microsoft and Walt Disney Internet Group. He earned a bachelor’s in computer science form the Illinois Institute of Technology.
8. Norman Sasono, DANA Indonesia
Norman Sasono is the CTO at DANA Indonesia, one of the premier digital payment platforms in the country. Serving more than 40 million customers, DANA’s e-Wallet became a payment option in the Apple Pay system in 2020, a notable milestone in the organization’s efforts to provide a solid and inclusive digital financial infrastructure for the fourth-most populous nation in the world. As CTO, Sasono leads his technology team, which builds and operates DANA’s digital and mobile payment platforms, including Indonesia’s third most popular e-Wallet.
As a motivated leader, Sasono is driven to create impact, solve problems, and inspire his associates to do the same. After achieving degrees in Computer Science at IPB and in Physics at ITS, he spent several years as a Senior Tech Evangelist at Microsoft, developing Indonesia’s technological ecosystem. Sasono has also been active with his own startups, co-founding LoyaltiExpress, a web-based customer incentive platform, and Bizzy, a B2B e-commerce marketplace. He has served as the head of DANA’s technology department since 2019.
9. David King, Flywire
As Chief Technology Officer of Flywire, David King is leading the charge for all the company’s technology platforms and teams as they transform international payment solutions for the better. As both an experienced executive and a serial entrepreneur, King believes strongly in the “intersection of business and technology,” a philosophy that has led him to great professional success. Along with John Talaga, King co-founded OnPlan Holdings in 2014, and five years later, the company merged with Flywire, adopting its medical and educational payment platforms. Since then, King has led his company’s further development of innovative payment solutions for healthcare, education, and travel industries worldwide. King’s career began in 1997 when he co-founded infiNET Solutions, a pioneer in SaaS dedicated to higher education billing systems. When infiNET was acquired by Nelnet in 2006, David took on the role of president of their higher education division. He also brings his passion for technology to his advisory board roles at Wine Country Online and Insite Software.
10. Kush Saxena, Mastercard
When Kush Saxena leads, others want to follow. He is Mastercard’s CTO and oversees the credit giant’s tech-focused teams and operations, mergers and acquisitions and company-wide digital transformation. While he is a tech-first, results-oriented professional with several years’ experience leading teams and a proven track-record of success, it’s his philosophy that “doing well while doing good” that sets him apart from the competition.
He received his master’s in management science from Stanford University and before his time with Mastercard, he worked for industry giants FICO, McKinsey & Company and H&R Block. He also cofounded an organization called Democracy Connect – a Wikipedia like platform that connects dispersed Indian populations with senior policy leaders to drive better informed policy decisions.
11. Iftah Gideoni, Forter
Israeli-born Iftah Gideoni is the Chief Technical Officer and General Manager for Forter, a provider of fraud prevention software for ecommerce-based businesses. Gideoni oversees the inner workings of Forter’s security platform and ensures the company is doing everything they technologically can to stay ahead of criminals.
Gideoni attended Tel Aviv University and graduated with a bachelor of science in physics before moving on to the University of British Columbia to obtain his master’s in physics. He noted that one of the ways he earned money for school was by cleaning bulk freighter ships docked at port. Gideoni has a diverse technical background with experience as a chief data officer and vice president of research & development with MyThings – an advertising company that specialized in personalized retargeting campaigns. He also worked for the Australian national research agency, CSIRO, where he led a portfolio of research projects.
12. Stiven Muccioli, Ventis
In 2016 Stiven Muccioli founded Ventis, a web-based e-commerce marketplace focused on selling fine, authentic Italian goods around the world. Today, Stiven serves as the Chief Marketing and Technology Officer, leading a team of 40 in designing the company’s technological architecture, while simultaneously developing marketing strategies.
Ventis’ dedicated payment ecosystem is a paragon in e-commerce; with payment solutions like Ventis Pay, Ventis Business, and Ventis Card, online consumers can easily shop for Italian fashion items, food and wine, and even travel services, from anywhere. With Italian financial organization ICCREA Group as its primary investor, Ventis has served over 5 million customers and boasts nearly 2.2 million registered users, aggregating over 1200 small businesses through the platform in the process. Muccioli is also an angel investor for European startups such as Golee and KNIIT Milan, and he is a member of The Founders Institute, the world’s largest pre-seed startup accelerator.
13. Arjun Dugal, Capital One
As one of the largest financial institutions in America, Capital One would naturally be very selective about who they chose for their senior leadership. A recent addition to their C-suite team is Arjun Dugal who currently serves as the chief technology officer for Capital One’s financial services division.
The Indian-born tech professional received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Pune University and a master’s in management and operations from Harvard University. From there, he spent a large part of his IT career working in the consumer-facing retail space with Fortune 500 companies including Staples and Macy’s. Dugal gives his time to charitable causes and holds a board position with Girls Inc. – a non-profit that empowers girls – as well as co-founded an organization called Dream a Dream – an agency dedicated to supporting at-risk children.
14. Guido Sacchi, Global Payments
Dr. Guido Sacchi has been Global Payments' Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer since 2012. He is an experienced IT professional who balances the importance of thinking strategically with delivering results on a strict timetable. As CIO, his responsibilities include IT strategies, worldwide technology infrastructure and operations management, application development and support, information security, customer experience, project portfolio management, platform integration and worldwide product.
Prior to joining Global Payments, Sacchi held the position of managing director with Slalom Consulting where he headed up the firm’s Digital Commerce Practice. He also served as CEO for online payments company, Moneta, and as CIO & SVP of corporate strategies for CompuCredit, a direct marketer of credit card and other fee-based credit products. Sacchi received a PhD in engineering from Politecnico di Milano.
15. Eric Chan, Bill.com
Eric Chan has been with Bill.com since the beginning. He was first hired as a principal engineer twelve years ago – just five months after the company’s founder, Rene Lecerte, launched his web-based workflow and payment processing business from Palo Alto, California. As the company grew, so did Chan’s role; he took on new responsibilities as a software architect in 2008 before moving into current position as CTO in 2012.
In his own words, Chan sees that Bill.com as a SaaS company goes beyond offering an online space for customers to park their data. “We don’t just live online – we impact traditional business by integrating your systems and banks, connecting your vendors, customers and employees to you by bridging the digital and analog world.”
Prior to Bill.com, Chan spent seven years as a senior member of Salesforce’s technical staff and fourteen years in leadership roles with XPrep Learning Solutions. He received his bachelor’s in computer science from the University of California, Berkeley.
16. Jacob Dai, Airwallex
Jacob Dai is a self-proclaimed serial entrepreneur who specializes in cyber-security, neurotechnology, machine learning and big data. He received both his bachelor’s and master’s of engineering (software) from the University of Melbourne and started his career as a team leader with e-payment platform provider, Grasp This, before leaving to start a series of tech businesses that ranged from language translation applications to automatic image processing systems.
In 2015, Dai and co-founder Jack Zhang launched Airwallex, a global payments platform that allows users to collect currency, exchange funds and move money across borders with minimal fuss. As the Chief Technology Officer, Dai is responsible for deciding the direction of the firm’s technology.
17. Robert Law, DailyPay
Rob Law is the Chief Technology Officer for DailyPay, a company he co-founded with Jason Lee in 2015. Based in New York City, DailyPay’s signature platform Payex is an on-demand earned income software that gives employees and contractors access to their wages before the company’s payday. The platform gives employees the opportunity to save money in advance, while employers are empowered to provide off-cycle payments and financial incentives, while easily integrating with existing HR systems. In his company’s short history, DailyPay has grown to serve over 500,000 users with annual revenue of over $50 million.
The company’s resident technophile, Law was also the founding engineer of ReferralExchange, a real estate communication network for brokers and agents. In 2008, he received a BA in Computer Science and Anthropology from the University of Chicago, after which he worked as a software engineer for Flywheel Networks and LendingHome. Along with his partner Lee, Rob Law serves on DailyPay’s management committee.
18. Oliver Dolan, Qred
At first glance of his personal website, one might expect Oliver Dolan to be a semi-professional golfer. Instead, golf-hobbyist Dolan is the CTO/CIO of the Scandanavian business finance lender, Qred. Based in Stockholm, Sweden, Qred offers fast and fair microfinancing for small businesses in Sweden, Denmark, Finland, and the Netherlands. The company prides itself on offering a modern, digital lending solution free of expensive branch networks, and it’s prime objective is fostering the growth of small businesses. Oliver leads his IT and development teams as they create premium products and deliver dynamic software systems.
Armed with a bachelor’s degree in Computer Engineering Systems, Dolan first blazed a trail working in the UK as a software engineer for Northrop Grumman Corp. and Cobham Mission Systems. After senior tech positions with CSG International and Worldfavor, he joined Qred in 2020. An entrepreneur himself, Oliver has also founded VetGeo, a cloud-based veterinary management service, and Equly, a mental health resource platform.
19. Anders Wasen, Qvalia
Anders Wasen is the CTO of Qvalia, Sweden’s leading platform for improving and automating financial processes. Based in Stockholm, Qvalia offers free e-invoicing, automated B2B payment processing, and expert transaction analysis. As Qvalia’s primary software architect, Wasen has been instrumental in the development of the company’s financial automation platform, which is used by over 650 organizations in Northern Europe. Powered by Wasen’s tech development team, Qvalia has reached a post-money valuation nearing $500 million USD.
Wasen brings over twenty years of information technology experience to the company, which he has dutifully served since 2015. After achieving a bachelor’s degree in IT from Åland Technical Institute, Wasen landed as an architect/engineer for Nordic IT service company Enfo, where he worked closely with IBM WebSphere DataPower SOA appliances. Simultaneously in 2006, Wasen was hired as a B2B architect and IT consultant for Sony Ericsson, implementing new standards and deployment architecture for the tech giant. In 2020, Wasen was named an IBM Champion in the category of cloud integration, an award he has won consistently during his career.
20. Ryan Graciano, Credit Karma
It was the idea that people should be able to access their credit and financial data for free that led Ryan Graciano and his other two co-founders to launch Credit Karma in 2007. As Chief Technology Officer, he designed the system and wrote the code that powers his company’s mission to disrupt the consumer finance market. Since the beginning, Graciano has been there to ensure that his company’s technological resources scaled with the demand that came with its rapid growth into a multi-billion fintech powerhouse that currently boasts 50 million members. Before becoming a technology entrepreneur, Graciano graduated from Georgia Institute of Technology in 2004 with a bachelor’s in computer science and worked at a small tech firm that was eventually acquired by IBM.
21. Brian Brinkley, QRails
Brian Brinkley is the CTO for QRails, offering innovative payment platforms for payroll providers, financial institutions, insurance companies, and other fintech service organizations throughout North America and Europe. Brinkley is also CEO of Red Dog Networks, providing consulting services and leading omnichannel technology and digital payment solutions to QRails and other specialized payment and loyalty processors. With over 30 years of experience in financial technology, Brian is credited with innovating cloud-based Digital Incentive Management Systems, which are currently employed by banks, retailers, airlines, and manufacturers around the world.
Prior to joining QRails, Brinkley was the founder and CTO of Zave Networks, a digital incentive platform provider acquired in 2011 by Google. After the acquisition, he led the integration of Zave’s technology into Google Wallet and oversaw international deployment of the product. Earlier in his career, Brinkley served as a senior architect/consultant for IBM and MCI, as well as CTO for Sprint PCS, and also taught business courses at The University of Texas at San Antonio.
22. David Singleton, Stripe
Belfast native David Singleton believes that where ever commerce goes, Stripe will never be far behind. As one of the fastest growing fintech companies in Silicon Valley, Stripe’s need for leaders that understand both software and start-up dynamics meant a search for top talent in a very competitive market. In 2017, they successfully courted Singleton to lead up engineering at the San Francisco-based headquarters. He understands that users should drive product developments and that is exactly what he asks his developers to do when doing their jobs.
Singleton is a seasoned leader in the tech industry. After graduating from the University of Cambridge with a degree in computer science, he did a brief three-year stint as a senior technical consultant with Symbian before joining Google in 2006. There, he worked on integrating voice search into their apps, led up development for Google Fit, and most recently, led the Android Wear team out of the internet giant’s London offices. Known as their “smartwatch king”, he challenged himself and his team to develop better solutions and made his mark on the wearable-tech industry.
“When you innovate, you really have to take risks; it’s important you try things you otherwise would not have in order to discover the ones that might have a lasting impact,” Singleton said in a 2018 interview.
23. Anshul Vikram Pandey, Accern
Anshul Vikram Pandey is the Co-Founder and CTO of Accern, an AI company in the financial services domain, where he leads all the AI technology and innovation efforts. He holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science from New York University, and a B.E. degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from BITS Pilani, India. He has published several award winning research papers at top computer science conferences and his research is widely covered in books and popular media such as Reuters, NewScientist, Wired etc. He also actively collaborates and helps human rights organizations, investigative journalism agencies, not-for-profit social organizations, and United Nations for better data-driven decisions. He is also an advisor for Rutgers University’s big data program. He has won several awards in statistics, data science and entrepreneurship, and was listed in Forbes 30 under 30, 2018.
24. Vladyslav Yatsenko, Revolut
Vladyslav Yatsenko may not be the public face of UK-based fintech Revolut but that hasn’t stopped him from trying to upend the European financial system. Launched in 2015 by Yatsenko and co-founder Nikolay Storonsky, the two former bank employees believed they could eliminate fees involved with foreign exchange transactions. The strategy? Bring as much of the payments processing infrastructure in-house as possible and cut out all the financial middleman. As CTO, Yatsenko has led the design efforts for Revolut’s award-winning tech platform that is bringing a next-generation banking experience to people around the world.
Yatsenko received a master’s degree in computer science from a Ukraine-based university and has spent the majority of his career developing financial systems for the banking industry.
25. Matt Tuzzolo, Blockchain
For the last five years, Matt Tuzzolo has been working hard to make tech-startup Blockchain the go-to mobile app for bitcoin users. They want to make digital currency something that can be integrated seamlessly into everyday life and with very few options available to make that happen – it’s an ambitious undertaking. Fortunately for them, Tuzzolo was an early adopter and remembers pulling out his iPhone to pay with bitcoin back in 2013.
Blockchain was founded in 2011 to drive development of digital applications for the storage, spending and trading of cryptocurrency. The company started out with a virtual consumer wallet and has since expanded their offerings to include a cryptocurrency exchange market, a hardware-based ‘lockbox’ to secure a bitcoin stash and an api for software developers. As chief technical officer, Tuzzolo’s job is to ensure his team of engineers keeps Blockchain’s services running smoothly and look to the future for how they harness technology to expand into new areas. Prior to his work with the bitcoin service provider, he held positions with Virb and digital news platform Regulars that he founded in 2008.