Bob Lord

Senior Vice President, Cognitive Applications, Blockchain and Ecosystems, IBM

Bob Lord is one of the world’s leading authorities on emerging technologies and open platforms to transform how businesses engage with customers. 

Bob is Senior Vice President, Cognitive Applications, Blockchain, and Ecosystems at IBM, where he is responsible for infusing emerging and open technologies across the business. He oversees IBM’s market-leading blockchain business and drives the company’s key partner ecosystems across developers, global systems integrators and independent software vendors, which help clients accelerate their journey to the cloud and gain competitive advantage.

He was appointed in 2016 by IBM's ninth CEO Ginni Rometty as the company’s first Chief Digital Officer with a mission to change how IBM innovation is delivered and consumed by the world’s leading organizations.

Bob rebuilt IBM’s digital platforms on Red Hat OpenShift to make it more efficient for clients and partners to innovate and deploy solutions at scale. He focuses on breaking down silos, establishing agile practices and instilling a startup mentality throughout the 108-year-old company while transforming how IBM engages with clients. 

At the center of this work is a commitment to the developers and data scientists of the open source community. Bob oversees IBM’s leadership and participation in dozens of open source communities, contribution and donation of open source code, and overall industry advocacy.

In 2018 Bob launched Call for Code, a major initiative to give developers and data scientists access to IBM tools and technologies as a means to solve global, societal challenges. In collaboration with the United Nations Human Rights and The Linux Foundation, IBM helps the world’s 24 million developers use these technologies to address society’s most pressing concerns: the growing threat of climate change and mitigating the spread of COVID-19. Since launch, over 300,000 developers and problem solvers from over 168 nations built solutions for an immediate and lasting impact in society.

In collaboration with leading relief organizations, the winning solutions are further developed through IBM Code and Response, a four-year initiative to build, fortify, test and deploy open technology to serve communities in need of critical aid.

Prior to IBM, Bob served as President of AOL, leading the company through its evolution into a leading, global advertising platform. He also served as CEO of Razorfish, a pioneering digital transformation consultancy helping companies like Cisco, Condé Nast, Ford, Mercedes-Benz and Pfizer redefine their brands for the digital age. He captured his experiences at Razorfish in the book he co-authored, Converge: Transforming Businesses at the Intersection of Marketing and Technology.

Bob’s experience and passion made him an active member of the TED community, board member for Aqua Finance, a Blackstone Company, and former board member for Williams-Sonoma and Screen Vision Media.

He began his career as an engineer, graduating from Syracuse University with a BS in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research, before graduating with an MBA from Harvard University. 

He shares his passion for discovery with his wife and three children, and competitively participates in a number of outdoor activities and sports.