5 questions with CarMax CITO Shamim Mohammad

Lessons learned from a career defined by disruption

Shamim Mohammad, chief information and technology officer, CarMax
CarMax

As CarMax’s executive vice president and chief information and technology officer, Shamim Mohammad has led his company through significant digital transformation in recent years. But his story isn’t just about transforming a company; it’s about disrupting an entire industry.

The recipient of MIT Sloan’s 2020 CIO Leadership Award and named a Forbes 2021 “CIO Next” Innovator, Shamim oversees digital innovations, all technologies and product engineering at CarMax, where his teams have also won awards for their leading-edge digital innovation work. They aren’t just supporting other functions of the organization; they’ve cultivating a kind of entrepreneurial spirit that permeates the entire business. And Shamim is continually looking ahead, anticipating the future and making sure the organization is prepared and willing to pivot when necessary.

When I spoke with Shamim for the CIO Whisperers podcast, he talked about how the company’s emphasis on customer-centricity has revolutionized the automotive industry. And that customer-focused approach relies on a strong foundation of data and technology. After the show, Shamim shared some of the lessons he’s learned in his career and delved a little deeper into his leadership philosophies and experiences. What follows is that off-air conversation, lightly edited for length and clarity.

Dan Roberts: You were at Blockbuster during their peak. What was that like?

Shamim Mohammad: I joined Blockbuster right after working for a startup company that I helped to build, so I’d seen what a can-do attitude and a focus on innovation and pace of change can do for a company. What I saw when I got to Blockbuster was, here’s a company that’s very successful, there are some wonderful people, but they’re not changing fast enough. Blockbuster became a market leader by disrupting an industry, but it did not disrupt itself again fast enough to remain a market leader. I was with Blockbuster only for three years. However, that experience was extremely valuable and influenced my future decisions.  

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