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The Privacy Advisor | Kothari blazing a new path as CPO at Johnson Controls Related reading: Volunteer Spotlight: A conversation with Sachin Kothari



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For privacy professionals, success oftentimes depends on longevity. The longer you work for an organization and build up a strong privacy framework, the easier it is to successfully amend the previously established standards when changes are necessary.

Sachin Kothari, CIPP/US, came to understand that dependency over the last 18 years at AT&T. However, working on privacy isn’t always about comfort and ease, which is why Kothari is excited for the challenge ahead as he takes over as global chief privacy officer for Johnson Controls.

“JCI is a complex global company that has a number of key businesses,” Kothari said. “My mandate is twofold: continue maturing JCI’s internal and external privacy governance structure while increasing its focus on privacy that resonates with customers and enables the business.”

Sachin Kothari

JCI develops products and solutions that are driven by artificial intelligence and work toward creating a safe, comfortable and sustainable world. As CPO, Kothari will take charge of all facets of JCI’s privacy program, which includes advising senior management, including C-suite executives and business-segment leaders globally, on laws and regulations governing privacy and stored data.

It’s a unique change of pace for Kothari, who said he essentially gets to “go back to where he started” 18 years ago with AT&T. While the key objectives from former job to new job will go largely unchanged, he is moving to a more progressive role given JCI’s focus on artificial intelligence. 

“This new role builds on my previous experience and gives me the opportunity to expand in areas that I feel passionate about,” Kothari said. “My plan is to bring the same efficiency and enablement into JCI, as well.”

The role at JCI checks all the boxes Kothari has in mind when considering a new opportunity. The idea of working in emerging technology was attractive enough, but the challenge of understanding and operationalizing the expectations of programs for new tech, including cross-border transfers, really sold him on the gig. 

“I aim to further integrate privacy principles into our business-to-business platforms and enable our privacy framework to be flexible enough to adequately react to regulatory requirements and market demand,” Kothari said. “Good privacy practices enhance business outcomes. I want to help be a business enabler, while also advocating for privacy and reinforcing the ethics that JCI has already infused across platforms.”

Kothari’s enthusiasm for the new venture comes despite knowing there will undoubtedly be peaks and valleys. However, he has come to learn that addressing privacy issues is not something he has to face alone. While JCI is likely to give Kothari the resources he needs to succeed, he also has the luxury of a broad network of fellow privacy professionals to fall back on.

“Doing privacy right involves the participation and collaboration of many stakeholders and allies. I have found success partnering and sharing ideas with colleagues within my internal organizational network,” Kothari said. “But my external network is equally as valuable. Whether it’s folks within the IAPP or fellow CPOs, it’s great to have so much expertise at my disposal. It allows me to take on these broader challenges with more ease and support.”

Photo by Ian Stauffer on Unsplash

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