JPMorgan Poaches Google Exec For AI Innovation

JPMorgan Chase has hired a senior executive from Google as its new head of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning services.

According to a memo obtained exclusively by CNBC, Apoorv Saxena, Google's head of product management for cloud-based artificial intelligence, will be joining JPMorgan on Aug. 31. In addition to his role as head of AI, Saxena will also serve as head of asset and wealth management artificial intelligence technology. He will be based in Palo Alto, California.

As companies in various markets are racing to create the next generation of AI-powered services, a small group of proven AI experts are finding themselves in high demand, with some being offered salaries in the millions to join firms. And to prevent FinTech firms and tech giants from stealing away customers, banks are going outside the finance realm to hire managers in technologies from machine learning to blockchain. In fact, JPMorgan has revealed that around one-third of its recent senior hires are from outside the finance industry.

In May, for example, the bank hired Manuela Veloso, head of the machine learning department at Carnegie Mellon University, to lead its AI research endeavors.

“In this new role, Manuela will establish an AI research capability at JPMorgan, building on our reputation as Wall Street’s leading technology bank,” Sanoke Viswanathan, chief administrative officer for JPMorgan’s corporate and investment bank, wrote in a press release.

Her hiring illustrated the latest push for banks to invest in machine learning, according to Aite Group Research Director Julie Conroy.

“Data science resources are hard to come by, and the academic approach coincides very nicely with the practical approach,” Conroy said. “For instance, you wouldn’t want to bring in a Ph.D. in business strategy to be your new chief strategy officer … but you have seen some vendors started by former rocket scientists that are doing quite well.”



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