Kyndryl honors its first Fellows and newest Distinguished Engineers by spotlighting their winning ways

Digital technologies have been essential to helping solve some of humanity’s most complex challenges in areas from healthcare to climate change, logistics to manufacturing and more. But it’s experts and thought leaders who have been the driving forces behind digital innovations and solutions, and the insights and strategies to apply them effectively.

Kyndryl recently announced its 2024 class of Fellows and Distinguished Engineers in recognition of their contributions to helping solve industrywide challenges and enabling customer innovation and success. Together, they represent the values and expertise that Kyndryl offers to help customers transform their businesses and communities.

Kyndryl Fellows are at the pinnacle of their profession and have demonstrated outstanding, sustained leadership and deep technical expertise across a range of technologies. These thought leaders and hands-on technologists are making a significant global impact for Kyndryl and its customers.

“Our first class of Fellows defines the highest technology and services strategy to be developed and delivered by Kyndryl,” said Antoine Shagoury, Chief Technology Officer at Kyndryl. “They truly embody the attributes of The Kyndryl Way, whether it is being restless about building technical expertise or devoted to their teams’ and customers’ success.”

Kyndryl’s Distinguished Engineers have made significant contributions to accelerate innovation, influence critical design and advance technology solutions globally. They reflect the company’s dedication to investing in the skills and capabilities that address customers’ most pressing business transformation needs.

“Our new class of Distinguished Engineers is at the heart of our progression from transformation to growth and innovation,” said Shagoury. “These individuals are phenomenal examples of how we’re innovating and driving our business forward.”

Kyndryl Chairman and CEO Martin Schroeter (left) and Chief Technology Officer Antoine Shagoury (right) with Kyndryl's 2024 Class of Distinguished Engineers
Kyndryl Chairman and CEO Martin Schroeter (right) with Kyndryl's 2024 Class of Fellows

Here, the seven honorees, who join a distinguished group within Kyndryl, share their secret sauce for innovation at work and beyond.

John Davis | Vice President, Infrastructure/Cloud Architecture | Fellow

John has been a prime visionary and Lead Architect behind Kyndryl Bridge AIOps delivered through Kyndryl Bridge. He has been a leader in the transition to an integrated analytics and insights-led service delivery model. His overall body of work as a technical leader has been central to how Kyndryl delivers services to its customers. Kyndryl Bridge is the industry’s first open-integration technology services platform and seamlessly integrates AI, operational data and Kyndryl expertise to provide customers with a new way to operate their systems and deliver improved business outcomes. Kyndryl Bridge is estimated to have already helped early adopters avoid more than $1 billion in annual costs, including $670 million in annualized cost avoidance by preventing thousands of incidents before they occur and $370 million in annualized cost avoidance by reducing required maintenance windows.

Prioritize honest conversations with customers

I’ve successfully resolved numerous situations for customers, often involving significant transformation or implementation challenges. I’ve always found it best to establish a robust customer relationship early on, by engaging in candid discussions to cut through to the reality of situations quickly. It is paramount to prioritize transparent communication before we get in deep to resolve a challenge.

Focus on tangible results

Amid the constant barrage of distractions that we all face, what matters most is creating tangible outputs. These could include documents, presentations, code, business cases, designs or architectures. Choosing between being hands-on and leading others is its own challenge, but I believe leading by example is important to building a successful technical career.

Sreekrishnan Venkateswaran | CTO, Kyndryl India | Fellow

Krishnan is the Country CTO of Kyndryl India and the lead for Kyndryl’s global Cloud Center of Excellence (CoE). With a strong focus on innovation, Krishnan spearheads the adoption of advanced technologies including generative artificial intelligence (AI), cloud-native approaches and contemporary application architectures into Kyndryl's solutions. This has helped propel some of Kyndryl's biggest customers on their transformative journeys. Over the past decade, Krishnan and his team have been instrumental in developing cloud strategies and designing sophisticated and pioneering solutions for Kyndryl's customers. Kyndryl consistently leads the industry in setting standards of excellence, driving innovation and delivering value to customers throughout their digital evolution.

Balance progress with purpose

I work in a market that presents a unique set of challenges. These complexities call for creative problem-solving and innovative thinking — especially when addressing unique design needs alongside affordability constraints. My team and I are deeply engaged in building technology that directly impacts the lives of citizens, making transformative strides across various sectors such as fintech, edtech, aviation and telecom. I am a strong advocate of technology for public good.

Focus on hands-on innovation

To remain relevant in a fast-paced world, it is crucial to listen to the market and to innovate continuously. I believe that staying hands-on is crucial for innovation, regardless of one’s role in the organization. This puts you up close to real problems and helps sharpen skills. Embracing this immersive approach fosters a culture where innovation thrives on practical insights.

Beth Layton | Vice President, Business Strategy Consulting | Distinguished Engineer

Beth is one of the leaders of the Kyndryl Consult business and was instrumental in building the company’s Cloud Advisory practice. She has served as a trusted consultant for hundreds of Kyndryl customers, solving critical business issues and transforming their complex IT estates. Kyndryl Consult helps enterprises accelerate their digital modernization and transformation journeys. Across industries, customers are turning to Kyndryl Consult to develop and implement IT automation to enhance business application performance, strengthen IT estate management and integrate emerging technologies such as AI. Kyndryl Consult has experienced double-digit growth since the second quarter of the 2023 fiscal year.

Find a mentor that’s right for you

One of the many reasons I love working at Kyndryl is the caliber of our people. I am surrounded by smart professionals who want the company to succeed and are always willing to help. I can always find an expert when I need one. I have also been fortunate to have great mentors throughout my career and have thrived the most working with empathetic people and those who have shared my lived experiences. It is definitely worth being proactive to seek mentorship from someone you relate to and admire.

Role model inclusive behaviors

When I started my technology career in the late 1980s, women often didn’t have their own restrooms on the same floor. But the dynamics of this industry have changed for the better — especially over the last 20 years. Even sectors like banking that were historically male-dominated are paving the way for women to contribute and grow. Women still are underrepresented in consulting, but I hope I can demonstrate to the next generation that it is a viable career path. I have also been fortunate to have a strong male ally in my husband who has supported me in following my passion.

Sander Plug | Vice President, Advanced Delivery | Distinguished Engineer

Sander has been a driving force behind the success of Kyndryl Bridge Integrated AIOps service. He architected key actionable insights that are helping evolve the way Kyndryl Delivery manages its customers globally. He is an expert in observability, automation and analytics domains, often working with customers to co-create global solutions that use AI, automation and Agile methodologies. When he’s not working, Sander loves learning Mandarin Chinese and trying new recipes for his family.

Keep your curiosity alive

I visited a local hospital during one of my overseas travels, and ended up asking the staff so many questions about hospital operations that they assumed I was a doctor. Staying curious is integral to who I am, and it keeps me thirsty to learn more about areas, including those that are not directly related to work.

Open your mind to new cultures

As an avid traveler, for both leisure and work, I am fascinated by different cultures. And as a European, my culture may be fascinating to someone else. But when we open our worlds to each other and collaborate, the result is innovation. It is for this very reason that I take my wife and two sons on work trips abroad whenever possible.

Ravi Saraswathi | Technical Lead, Cloud & ADAI Practice, Kyndryl U.S. | Distinguished Engineer

Ravi specializes in creating cloud-native solutions that address the business and technical challenges faced by many of Kyndryl’s largest customers. He is an expert in Microsoft Azure, AWS and Google Cloud technologies and an accomplished author. Kyndryl is committed to innovating and co-creating with alliances that matter most to customers across all technology stacks. Kyndryl’s partnerships with the cloud hyperscalers — AWS, Google Cloud and Microsoft — are the foundation of the company’s global alliance ecosystem. And in response to growing demand for generative AI expertise and services, Kyndryl has established new and expanded generative AI partnerships with the hyperscalers and other technology alliance partners. By working with the hyperscalers, Kyndryl can help businesses effectively implement and scale crucial technologies, manage datasets, and ensure key capabilities such as data observability, trustworthiness, regulatory compliance, rapid recovery from cyber events and robust data security.

Be the human force behind skilling

Technologies are evolving at a rapid pace, so we owe it to the tech community to share our knowledge widely and train aspiring technologists in relevant skills. I find it rewarding to give talks, write blogs and develop training materials for the benefit of anyone who’s looking to learn about cloud and AI.

Plan for success

As much as we like to believe that all innovation is spontaneous, it actually takes the right mindset and meticulous planning. I like to set distinct boundaries between work and personal life, as well as factor in plenty of time for mindfulness and well-being breaks. Maintaining this level of balance requires me to organize my schedule and prepare for activities well in advance.

Patrick Stanard | Vice President, Mainframe Architect, Kyndryl U.S. | Distinguished Engineer

Patrick is one of Kyndryl’s most revered mainframe architect leaders and spearheads Kyndryl’s mainframe architecture strategy. He is also a code developer, university professor and published technical author. He is passionate about helping Kyndryl’s customers optimize their IT infrastructures by taking advantage of the latest technology on the mainframe. Kyndryl is committed to meeting its customers where they are in their mainframe modernization journey and enable them to take a holistic, end-to-end approach to determine the right platform for each workload. Patrick helps customers transform their applications on the mainframe and integrate with hyperscalers to move workloads off the platform as needed or modernize on the platform. Patrick’s current focus is the Design Authority Lead for the Japan Core Platform Transformation Project. This is one of Kyndryl’s largest mainframe migration and optimization efforts.

Be a junkyard dog

Junkyard dogs are scrappy and tough. Even in challenging circumstances, they find innovative ways to power through. By adopting this resilient mentality, we can go far both in our personal and professional lives.

Don’t let age define your life experiences

As an ardent ice hockey player, I have stayed active and fit my whole life. And in recent times, I’ve even taken pride in being the oldest player on a team of 20-year-olds. Competing with them pushes me to stay on top of my game while being inspired by their fresh perspectives.

Fumihiko Yamashita | Vice President, Mainframe Modernization, Kyndryl Japan | Distinguished Engineer

Fumihiko is known for both applications integration and systems infrastructure, and is an accomplished mainframe modernization expert. As a proponent of the ‘right workload on the right platform’ strategy, he has helped customers achieve greater business agility and cost optimization — whether that entails mainframe modernization, migrating workloads to a hybrid cloud environment, or moving workloads off the mainframe. As a trained player, Fumihiko sharpens his strategic thinking through Shogi (also known as Japanese chess).

Leave the tech community richer than you found it

Tech communities evolve and thrive when we share our skills. I contribute by supporting and encouraging 50 professionals and guiding over 800 certified experts in their efforts to advance cloud technologies. As someone who enjoys working with young people, I’ve also found it rewarding to participate in a global grade 9-14 initiative that inspires historically underserved young people to pursue fulfilling careers in STEM.

Be a true partner to your customers

Customers around the world demand high levels of service. After all, Kyndryl operates the ‘hearts and lungs’ of our customers’ critical IT infrastructures. Interestingly, my longstanding passion for Shogi has helped me develop some of my best strategic insights into our customers’ challenges. True partnership is built on our commitment to shared value — our willingness to help our customers chart the best possible pathways to future success.

For more on Kyndryl’s distinguished technologists, check out our 2022 and 2023 honorees.