Amitabh Apte

Tom Allen
clock • 4 min read
Amitabh Apte

Part of the IT Leaders 100 - a list of the most influential IT leaders in the UK

Amitabh is a digital, data and technology leader with over 24 years of experience in delivering and managing technology-led business transformations. He has a track record of architecting, delivering and operating business-centric solutions across a range of industries, and has successfully built, high-performance teams across North America, Europe, Russia, Asia, and ANZ.

Amitabh is currently the Vice President, Global Chief Information Officer for the Pet Nutrition business division of Mars, where he leads the digitisation efforts for multiple teams, as well as overseeing channel growth and e-commerce foundations. Prior to this formal CIO role, Amitabh was instrumental in building the Mars Inc. Digital Foundations, Platforms and Digital services such as APIs, data lake, data services and legacy modernisation leveraging cloud.

Before joining Mars Amitabh has filled technology leadership roles in large, global organisations such as Reckitt Benckiser, Fujitsu, Lufthansa-Star Alliance, Deutsche Bank, Argos, SITA (Airlines), and Adidas.

How do you ensure diversity is taken into account in your IT recruitment?

I personally believe that, D&I should be truly embedded in everything we do in our organisations day-to-day. Recruitment focus is good but this also about development of internal talent, creating equal opportunities for all. Removing biases is a very powerful education and training course that we do in Mars, and I am very grateful because this shows the mirror on all of us to recognise, address and remove these biases. We are a better culture, better organisation, better society with inclusiveness.

This is where I have found a lot of strength, solace and philosophical foundations in my yoga practice. Yoga is about union, union of not just your mind and your body, but also union of self with surroundings, nature, and people around you.

Specifically, looking into recruitment processes, we have strong partnership with our HR department who are highly skilled, motivated and knowledgeable to recognise and address these biases. They help coach us but more importantly we as leaders, managers have educated ourselves and continue to invest in ensuring that D&I remains a cornerstone for the growth of our organisation.

Which technology are you currently most excited by?

We need to be careful not get excited by new tech trends as they get published every year. They are useful for future horizon scanning and PoT experiments but for my businesses, I prefer leveraging and building on modern but proven trends. Leading edge over bleeding edge for sure.

Me personally, and we at Mars across our tech teams and business divisions, are excited about the business outcomes, speed and innovation brought on by a combination of user centricity, data analytics and automation facilitated by AI and ML.

Very specifically, digital twin in the manufacturing set up, leveraging CRM / CDP for better understanding our customers and moving towards API-based integrations and cloud-based applications have brought tangible business outcomes for Mars.

Having said that, we are also experimenting with new upcoming trends in the Metaverse. For instance Hope Grows, the world's largest coral reef restoration programme, by Mars Pet Nutrition cat food brand SHEBA, has been accepted into an inaugural accelerator cohort with Angel Labs, which is a Web3 accelerator

What do you to unwind?

I am a yoga practitioner and also an instructor. I leverage yoga philosophy and processes for physical well-being as well as yogic breathing as a proven tool for mindfulness and meditation. I am also helping my organisation, colleagues, and community members in a personal capacity by conducting in-person and virtual sessions. 

If you were an animal (other than human), which animal would you be and why

I would definitely be a dog. Not just because we love dogs here in Mars Pet Nutrition, or for my love of the downward dog yoga posture 😊 but for the fact that the dog always seem to find a reason to be happy in simple things, always finds a way to live in the moment and give unconditional love for everyone around them irrespective of their situation, context, background and personal attributes.

What makes you laugh?

A good long ball or disc play session with the dog in the park. Always perks me up! 

How did you get into IT?

I was fortunate to have been surrounded by the generation-1 Software Outsourcing conversations, new business models and gen-1 tech start-ups in '90s India in my formative years. My love for programming started with PCB programming in electronics club during school summer holidays. IT back then was a window into the new, open, unexplored world as India was slowly going through market reforms and opening doors to Western businesses for investments. I progressed with formal Computer Science Bachelors and then Masters degrees built on the foundation of Statistics, Mathematics and Electronics. Before I knew it I was programming, Pascal, Cobol, C# before moving onto the world of Java, and never looked back. 

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