Levi Strauss & Co. named Katia Walsh as its senior vice president and chief strategy and artificial intelligence officer, a post in which she will lead the company’s efforts to build enabling technologies for the brand in the areas of data analytics and AI, according to a Levi Strauss press release.
Walsh joins Levi Strauss from U.K. telecommunications conglomerate Vodafone, where she was chief data and analytics officer, overseeing technology efforts to enable “predictive, proactive, and personalized” experiences.
Effective April 29, Walsh will start her new role where she will report to CEO Chip Bergh. She also will be a member of the company’s global leadership team.
Walsh’s work at Levi Strauss will contribute to innovation incubation, new business models and strategic growth initiatives. Digital transformations are not unique to the retail sector, though companies in some industries confronted the challenges before the phrase became a buzz term.
Walsh’s title and mission reflect how much AI is becoming interwoven in a variety of different retailer and brand initiatives, from shopping personalization to customer service. AI and related technologies have become especially important in helping companies quickly analyze, understand and draw insights from massive amounts of data so that they can optimize store design, shopping experiences and customer engagement practices. The technology and data analytics are becoming tightly integrated concepts.
In recent years, the retail industry has seen more technology executive jobs created to take responsibility over digital and data initiatives, though Walsh’s new post at Levi Strauss may be among the first few to call out AI in a c-suite executive role.
In a statement about Levi Strauss Walsh said, "Strategic harnessing of data and machine learning will help position it for its next 165 years, and I look forward to contributing to its continued growth."