Arvest Bank today announced growth strategist Laura Merling has joined to lead Arvest’s multi-year transformation strategy, which includes adopting a next generation banking platform and enhancing capabilities in digital payments and services. Merling joins from Google Cloud, where as Chief Transformation Officer and managing director, she partnered with customers’ C-suites to achieve business outcomes leveraging Google Cloud and the broader Alphabet portfolio.

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“Our industry and its practices are evolving and we need to adapt to meet the future needs of our customers,” said Arvest president and CEO Kevin Sabin. “Laura has built her reputation identifying and forecasting unique market positions. Her operational experience at companies as diverse as Ford and AT&T, along with her technology background at Google Cloud, provides the foundation for her pragmatic approach to delivering on growth initiatives. We’re fortunate to have her leading transformation, technology and bank operations as we embark on a significant period of evolution and growth.”

“I have spent my career helping companies deliver on transformation objectives leveraging technology across all areas of a business with an end goal of disrupting existing business models, improving customer experience and creating operational efficiency,” Merling said. “The financial services industry is at an intriguing inflection point. Arvest has embraced the change and is at a point where a programmatic approach to delivering business outcomes can make a significant impact on the journey to creating the next generation of community banking; I’m excited to be a part of it.”

As a former startup software executive turned Fortune 100 industry executive, Merling has a unique background at the convergence of business and technology. She’s particularly known for developing and successfully implementing a replicable framework for transformation based around the five pillars that large corporations need to achieve success: a multi-year business vision, customer understanding, technology alignment, metrics and measurement, and governance.

“Transformation, if done correctly, requires alignment across your entire business, including investment dollars, priorities, measurement and metrics, and a path to execution,” Merling said.

Merling has more than two decades of experience across aerospace (United Technologies Aerospace, now Collins Aerospace), automotive (Ford), telecommunications (AT&T) and the software industry, leading teams to drive transformation and innovation. She’s also served as an executive advisor with Slalom Consulting, as well as McKinsey, providing strategic guidance and interim executive advisory services across transportation, energy, retail and financial services industries. The first 15 years of Merling’s experience was in the heart of Silicon Valley, where she worked at a range of software companies and startups, most notably Sybase in the database and middleware market segment and Mashery, a cloud-based API management platform.

Merling studied business administration at Oakland University and graduated from the Advanced Management Program at INSEAD in Fontainebleau, France. She serves as a board member and risk and audit committee member of B2B travel platform CarTrawler, an advisor to digital manufacturing platform Authentise and a mentor for women seeking leadership opportunities through Athena Alliance.