jamesteohart - stock.adobe.com

Former Workday co-CEO takes similar role at Eightfold AI

Ex-Workday co-CEO Chano Fernandez joins Eightfold AI as co-CEO in January, coinciding with Carl Eschenbach becoming Workday's sole CEO. Eightfold has raised about $400M.

Chano Fernandez, the former co-CEO of Workday, has found a new job as the co-CEO of Eightfold AI, beginning in January. Fernandez's new role at Eightfold could raise eyebrows about what this might mean for Workday.

Last December, Workday replaced Fernandez with Carl Eschenbach -- a partner at Sequoia Capital and a former VMware executive.

Eightfold AI, based in Santa Clara, Calif., and founded in 2016, has raised about $400 million. The U.S. Department of Defense, Chevron, BNY Mellon, Vodafone, Starbucks and New York state are among the organizations that use its talent acquisition technology. Eightfold refers to its platform as a talent intelligence platform.

According to independent industry analyst Josh Bersin, the company has 200-plus large customers. It has emerged as "the leader in AI-based talent intelligence and [is] quickly moving into all areas of talent management."

Eightfold AI has some areas of overlap with Workday.

"[Eightfold AI doesn't] compete directly with Workday, but they do compete with Workday's recruitment and talent management tools, so they are actually able to partner with Workday and complement Workday's solutions," Bersin said.

Similar to many high-tech companies over the last 18 months, Eightfold's growth hasn't been smooth going. The organization had a layoff in March, according to affected employees on LinkedIn.

Management changes

In a statement, Eightfold CEO and co-founder Ashutosh Garg said, "There is no better person in the world than Chano, who led HR's transition into the cloud, to drive HR's next transformation with AI."

Chano Fernandez, former co-CEO, WorkdayChano Fernandez

Fernandez, appointed co-CEO at Workday in 2020, previously held sales leadership roles at the company. He will step into his new role at Eightfold at about the same time Eschenbach becomes the sole CEO of Workday.

"I am convinced Eightfold is uniquely positioned to deliver a personalized experience to help lead the AI transition for HR and that is why I am so excited to join this team," Fernandez said in a statement.

Once Eschenbach becomes the sole CEO, Aneel Bhusri, co-founder of Workday and still co-CEO, will continue to have a significant role at the organization as its full-time executive chair and chair of its board of directors.

Eightfold's appointment of Fernandez follows some other recent executive additions. It hired Darren Burton, former chief people officer at KPMG, for a similar role, and Ankur Bhatt, former CTO at SAP SuccessFactors, as vice president of engineering.

Patrick Thibodeau covers HCM and ERP technologies for TechTarget Editorial. He's worked for more than two decades as an enterprise IT reporter.

Dig Deeper on Talent management

Business Analytics
Content Management
and ESG