Neal Sample

  • Former COO

Express Scripts; Former CIO - Northwestern Mutual

Neal Sample


Neal Sample is an award-winning technologist and seasoned executive who has a strong track record of driving growth and transformation. He brings deep experience across highly regulated industries including consumer internet, financial services, and healthcare, and through a range of business phases from Silicon Valley startups to legacy Fortune 100s.

Career History

Sample currently serves as Chair of the Compensation & Governance Committee and as a member of the Audit Committee Wellfield Technologies, Inc. He also serves as Chair of the Board of Trustees for the University of Health Sciences & Pharmacy in St. Louis, Missouri.

As Chief Information Officer for Northwest Mutual, Sample was tasked with rebuilding, optimizing, and entirely centralizing the technology function that was recovering from a difficult acquisition. During this time, he was able to attract and develop diverse world-class leaders in Security, Data, Engineering, and Infrastructure, raise virtually all internal and external technology metrics, and implement several automated and self-service capabilities for clients. Sample also spearheaded “Outsource Milwaukee,” a program designed to create hundreds of new technologists in the Milwaukee region, and created the Northwest Mutual sponsored Women in Technology conference.

Prior, as Chief Operating Officer and Chief Information Officer of Express Scripts, Sample drove the corporate restructuring plan to streamline operations and accelerate growth, led through the sale of Express Scripts to Cigna, improved key operating metrics, launched a new product line, retired legacy mainframe, and transitioned to the cloud.

With American Express, Sample navigated several rapid promotions within the Enterprise Growth business including EVP, Chief Marketing Technologist, and CIO, before being named President. He led four new product launches focused on digital banking alternatives for lower-income individuals, improved EBITDA, led spin-off and wind-down of non-core businesses, transformed a waterfall product development organization to Agile, updated and moved mainframe application suite to cloud, and launched major new digital co-brand products with key industry players.

Sample’s earlier roles included CTO, X.commerce and VP of Architecture, Platform Product Management for eBay; VP of Social, Open, and Publishing Platforms and Chief Architect for Yahoo! Inc.; Chief Scientist for RightOrder, Inc.

A thought leader in his space, Sample holds more than a dozen patents, has been a featured technology and business speaker for dozens of global forums, is a cited expert in numerous publications, and has authored various published works.


Sample holds a Ph.D. and M.S. in Computer Science from Stanford University and an M.S. and B.S. in Computer Science from the University of Wyoming. He currently resides in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.