ICAEW.com works better with JavaScript enabled.

This is exclusive content

The swingman

From professional basketball to artificial intelligence, Nicola Morini Bianzino, chief client technology officer at EY, talks to Chris Evans about his unusual career trajectory

At the tender age of 15, Nicola Morini Bianzino became a professional basketball player in Italy. For the next 13 years, he would play in the country’s top division – Serie A – competing against quality opponents, including former National Basketball Association players. But despite competing against teams in major championships worldwide, Bianzino realised that he wasn’t ever going to make huge amounts of money. “I decided to study economics at the University of Florence while still playing,” he explains. “After graduating in 1997 I made the big decision a year later to completely change my career and applied for a job at Andersen Consulting.”

“In the space of just a few years, AI has become mainstream in conversations at board level,” enthuses Bianzino. “Now pretty much every company has AI solutions running somewhere in their business.” In banking we’ve seen UBS use Amazon’s digital assistant Alexa on customer service duty and Morgan Stanley depzloy an AI fraud detection team. In insurance, AI is being used to speed up claim settlements and is expected to lead to more on demand insurance products to suit customer needs.