Katia Walsh

Chief Strategy and Artificial Intelligence Officer, Levi Strauss & Co.


Dr Katia Walsh has 25 years of experience at the intersection digital, data and AI, helping global brands achieve strategic goals, drive customer centricity and thrive on technology-driven change. At Levi Strauss & Co, she leads strategy and AI, accelerating the company’s digital transformation. She focuses on setting and executing digital strategy, infusing it with data and AI to deliver business value.
Before Levi’s, Dr Walsh was the first Chief Global Data and AI Officer at Vodafone Group. There, she led teams for 25 operating countries as part of the company’s digital transformation. In addition to delivering billions in revenue, she contributed to the use of data and AI for research and social good.
Dr Walsh has also held leadership roles at Prudential Financial, where she launched data analytics as part of its digital transformation, Fidelity Investments, where she pioneered a data-driven customer experience, and Forrester Research, where she helped grow digital native businesses into the household names of today’s technology industry.
She has a PhD in new communication technology and quantitative methodology from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Getting to know...

You’re passionate about the evolution of the CDO role. What has been your own career journey with this evolution?

I’ve served, not once, but three times now, in the first-ever CDO role for global brands in different industries. Every time, I’ve built from scratch the teams, processes, data, platforms and, most importantly, business applications of digital, data, and AI. I am proud of the value this capability brings to a company to enhance the customer experience.

The work – and the change it requires – is never easy. But it is also exhilarating to drive and see its positive impact on the company, its ability to deepen customer loyalty, transform its culture and reach its potential. I’ve learned a lot and look forward to sharing these learnings with our community, while continuing to learn more.

There is a growing consensus that not all data roles should require knowledge in coding. What are your thoughts on this?

One of the attractions of this space for me is that it is changing so fast and, with that, providing opportunities for diverse peoples, backgrounds and skillsets. The applications of digital, data and AI are even more impactful when they incorporate diversity of talent, data and tools. That diversity is also the cornerstone of ethical and socially responsible use of data and AI. We owe it to society to encourage that diversity now and for the future.