Why I Joined Appen as CEO

An Open Letter from Appen’s New CEO, Armughan Ahmad

Dear Friends: 

Today, I start as the new CEO and President of Appen. I’m excited to join this amazing company and enable our team members and customers to build a trusted and innovative AI applications that deliver new and exciting experiences. 

Advances in artificial intelligence (AI) are giving rise to AI powered solutions that can see, hear, learn, and reason, creating new opportunities to improve education and healthcare, address poverty, and achieve a more sustainable future. 

Appen touches many parts of our lives that are powered by AI. Over the last few weeks, it’s been great to meet so many people at Appen and learn how Appen powers our daily lives. When you get on a plane, Appen powers the technology that estimates your flight time on an Airbus flight. When you speak to voice assistant applications, like Amazon Alexa, Appen data is working behind the scenes to make sure it understands everyone. Appen even prepares data to train Trust Lab’s sentiment analysis, this helps keep the internet safe for us all. Google and Bing work with Appen to make sure when you search, you get the right results. Appen powers so many things that you and I touch every day, all to make your day a little better. 

Founded by an Australian linguist Julie Vonwiller in 1996, Appen has been paving the way for world’s Big tech and Fortune 500 customers. As a trusted leader in data, Appen is the key ingredient to build AI applications for multi industry customers like Microsoft, Amazon, Salesforce, Pinterest, Boeing, Siemens, Bloomberg, Best Buy, and Adobe, to name just a few.  

This industry has evolved and grown so much and, what was once thought of as a distant future, is happening right now. I believe in the power of AI to improve our lives. One of the most exciting advancements is generative AI, where AI models can produce their own content instead of just analyzing and predicting from existing data. Many people are already using AI tools like ChatGPT and DALL-E from OpenAI to create content based on their inputs. Naturally, generative AI requires a real-person model feedback and Appen powers that! I was happy to learn that our team has already put the technology to work on our marketing content. 

Possibly the most important reason I joined Appen is our focus on making  AI for Good. As AI becomes mainstream, we have to create a trusted AI for Good to attain its full benefits. We at Appen are enabling AI that is human centered ethical AI. Put simply, we aim to delight our customers in creating AI systems that augment human abilities and help automate our repetitive tasks. I am proud of our team members and the global crowd that is enabling equality and delivering sustainable solutions for everyone to achieve more. We partner with organizations to bring opportunities to people often in vulnerable or marginalized communities. We provide jobs to people who might not otherwise be able to earn a paycheck without Appen.  A recent Forbes article featured a project that we collaborated with Mercy Corps Ventures that has had a positive impact on the lives of Kenyan workers.  

The impact of AI on every part of our daily lives is changing exponentially. What the world needs is AI that is trusted and benefits the people, society and our planet as a whole. Appen is inclusive, with a global crowd of more than 1 million contributors who speak 235 languages in 170 countries all over the world. We operate with the highest integrity, and ultimately ensure the AI we build is for good. Our ongoing partnership with CLEAR Global (also known as Translators without Borders) where Appen provides data toolkits for Swahili-English translation to address COVID19 health related issues. We are proudly providing equal access to critical information in their language. 

With AI, we can transform our world for the better by automating the repetitive tasks, in turn allowing people to embrace their creative sides to live, work, play, and thrive. I look forward to leading Appen in the next wave of growth for AI while making a positive and sustainable impact on the world by powering ethical, trusted AI.  


My call to action is simple: 

  • Customers: If you are a customer that I’ve been honored to work with over my 25+ years at KPMG, Dell EMC, HP or even way back at 3Com, please reach out to me. I will always have a customer-first approach to my leadership. If you are an existing customer of Appen, I look forward to listening to your needs, especially if we have room to improve. If you are not yet a Appen customer, we will work hard to earn your confidence. 
  • Partners: If you are a partner in the ecosystem – be it a hyperscaler cloud, software / hardware vendor, ISV, SI or VAR – I look forward to making this a big opportunity for all of you. I will reach out to you in the next few weeks and look forward to connecting.  
  • Employees: I am looking forward to meeting all Appenites in the next few months – working with you and our leadership to make Appen the Best Place to Work in our category!  
  • Recruits: Appen continues to hire leading AI talent. I want Appen to be a talent magnet, where we recruit the best and brightest in the industry! Send us your resume, if you want to join our mission – we will make this a fun ride together! 

I’m honored and excited to lead Appen into the next stage of growth and success. 

Armughan Ahmad 

Website for deploying AI with world class training data