Former IBM Senior Vice President Robert Picciano Joins CognitiveScale as CEO

CognitiveScale Inc., a company-backed artificial intelligence startup, today announced the arrival of Robert Picciano, former senior vice president of IBM Corp., as CEO.

Picciano led IBM’s Cognitive Systems business unit until his departure from the company in 2020. The Cognitive Systems unit is responsible, among other product lines, for the Power Systems family of data center servers. The servers are based on IBM-designed central processing units, which include optimizations for running AI models.

Picciano is credited with leading the Cognitive Systems unit to eight quarters of growth during his tenure at the helm. The executive also played a key role in the delivery of the Summit and Sierra supercomputers that IBM had developed for the US Department of Energy. The two systems, which are both based on the company’s Power Systems servers, rank among the fastest supercomputers in the world.

CognitiveScale announced today that the co-founder and current CEO Akshay Sabhikhi will assume the role of Chief Operating Officer.

The startup also announced a number of other changes to its management team. Mike McQuaid joins as Director of Revenue after serving as sSenior Vice President of Global Sales at Hitachi Vantara Corp., a leading supplier of data center storage equipment and business software. McQuaid will be responsible for directing the sales and go-to-market activities of CognitiveScale.

Jointly, CognitiveScale has appointed Vice President of Engineering Gopal Krishnan as the new Senior Vice President of Engineering and Delivery. Besides, Bart Peluso joins as vice president of product marketing. Peluso previously led product marketing at Blue Prism Ltd., a publicly traded provider of robotic process automation software.

“The addition of such respected, successful and innovative leaders is great for the entire CognitiveScale community,” CognitiveScale Executive Chairman Manoj Saxena said in a statement.

CognitiveScale provides a software platform, Cortex, that makes it easier for businesses to build and deploy AI models. The first component of the platform is a tool called Cortex Fabric which, according to the startup, enables AI software to be developed at up to 70% lower cost than alternative technologies. The tool is complemented by Cortex Certifai, an AI explainability product that promises to provide organizations with insight into how their neural networks generate decisions.

CognitiveScale also offers a range of prepackaged machine learning applications for industry verticals. They are intended for companies in sectors such as healthcare, banking, insurance and retail. CognitiveScale customers include Dell Technologies Inc., Morgan Stanley, Wells Fargo & Co. and other large companies.

Since its launch, CognitiveScale has raised $ 40 million in funding, according to Crunchbase. The startup’s backers include, among other big names, Intel Capital, IBM Corp. and the M12 venture capital arm of Microsoft Corp.

Photo: SiliconANGLE

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