Chief Data and Analytics Officer at BMO Financial Group
Sandip Sahota is a seasoned executive with a diverse educational background and a remarkable career trajectory that has seen him excel in various sectors—culminating in his current role as the SVP & Enterprise Chief Data and Analytics Officer (CDAO) at the BMO. Known for his ability to engage with anyone, Sahota's journey from his early education to his present role reflects his passion for creating value through data and analytics.
Sahota's educational journey was far from conventional. He spent his formative years travelling across Africa with his father, experiencing a mix of schools. This unique upbringing laid the foundation for his global perspective and adaptability. He eventually earned two undergraduate degrees in seemingly disparate fields—management information system and international political economy—which reflects his intellectual curiosity and willingness to explore diverse disciplines.
His educational pursuits were complemented by research work on foreign direct investment in Africa, allowing him to gain an understanding of complex global economic dynamics. This multidisciplinary approach later proved invaluable in his career.
An extensive career in enterprise data and analytics
Sahota's career can be divided into three distinct chapters. In the early phase, he worked in sales, trading equity and options, where his ability to question the status quo led him to explore technology's potential in new ways. This curiosity also led to his transition to Morgan Stanley in New York, where he spent 15 years and worked across various departments—all focused on extracting value from data and analytics.
In his current chapter, Sahota focuses on organisations with a digital agenda, seeking to make a significant impact on customer experiences through data and analytics. He held positions at CPP Investments and Bank of New York (BNY) Mellon Custodian Bank, but his most recent position at BMO, the oldest bank in Canada, is where his passion truly shines through.
Leadership with transparency and individuality in mind
Sahota's leadership style is characterised by his ability to engage with people from all walks of life. He believes in learning from everyone and is open to borrowing insights and knowledge from diverse sources. His further strength lies in handling difficult and ambiguous situations with directness and candour, enabling him to generate informed opinions and contribute effectively.
Sahota acknowledges that his current role as a Chief Data and Analytics Officer (CDAO) is not without its challenges. Across industries, the average tenure for a CDAO is just 18 months, a statistic that might intimidate many. However, Sahota's approach to resilience is rooted in learning from past experiences. He emphasises the importance of understanding the unique dynamics of an organisation's culture and operating model, two critical aspects that CDAOs must navigate successfully to create value through data and analytics.
He views his role as a continuous quest to create value for the organisation, much like any entrepreneur within the corporate landscape. Sahota's persistence, adaptability, and ability to have candid conversations about the challenges of the CDAO role have contributed to his ongoing success at BMO.
Sahota’s journey so far makes him a standout executive in the field of data and analytics and a truly valuable leader to BMO. His ability to engage with individuals, regardless of their background, and his commitment to learning from every experience have been instrumental in his accomplishments. As a leader at the BMO, Sahota continues to drive innovation and create value through data-driven insights, shaping the future of banking in North America.
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“For me, we're so much more than a large technology company. There's a responsibility on us as a strategic partner to nations, and as a partner to governments.”