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Gustavo Ayres de Castro

Director for Data Science for Consumer Industries Cloud

Gustavo's Story

At SAP, we believe that when you bring everything you are, you can become everything you want.


Our work environment has the energy and excitement of a start-up. We are exploring new frontiers and redefining the future of the industry with a technology platform that is flexible and forward looking.

Gustavo Ayres de Castro

I was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where I lived for most of my early years. After I earned a master’s degree in Electrical Engineering, I decided to finish my studies outside of Brazil. I came to the US and obtained a PhD from the University of California, Los Angeles. After completing a postdoc, I was offered a job at Khimetrics, a datascience start-up company in Scottsdale, AZ, where I have lived since. When SAP acquired us, we became the first SAP office in Arizona. I will soon be relocating to Newport Beach, California, home of the Consumer Industries Cloud (CIC) office.

In my current role, I am helping the CIC group build a data science team and drive topics around data science. This work will help define scientific algorithms for the new cloud applications for Retail, Consumer Packaged Goods, and other industries. This is an exciting, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to influence the landscape of solutions available in the market, and it challenges me to use my science background and consulting experience so, together with the CIC team, we can deliver long term value to customers, with modern technology and solid science.

Our work environment has the energy and excitement of a start-up. We are exploring new frontiers and redefining the future of the industry with a technology platform that is flexible and forward looking. At its core, are data science algorithms such as Machine Learning, Optimization, Artificial Intelligence, and others. For someone in my field, it does not get much better than that, especially when you consider the stability and continuity of work guaranteed both by thoughtful leaders and the solid finances of a large global company like SAP.

I first heard aboutSAP in an all-hands meeting at our start-up, when they announced SAP was going to acquire us. The thought of suddenly becoming part of such a big company was a bit scary and it required some warming-up period to go from the small start-upinto the big SAP family, but after that period I felt as if I had always been at SAP.

Because I joined SAP as part of an acquisition, it was more fate than choice that brought me here. But as with any relationship, first attraction is just the spark, but not what keeps you going. In my view, the key for the longevity of my attraction to SAP is the relative quality of my day-to-day experiences here. These come from, first and foremost, being able to work together with an outstanding team of colleagues in a very collaborative environment, all from diverse backgrounds, not just professionally, but ethnically, socially, etc. It is a great journey.

When SAP acquired us, I was working as a scientist for the research group for Price Optimization for Banking and subsequently for the Retail and Consumer Products research team. I then joined the SAP Insights and Innovations Data Science Consulting team, developing science algorithms directly with SAP customers. This consulting experience allowed me to work in a large variety of industries and problems and has taught me a lot about customers’ needs in the space of data science, ML, optimization, etc. Recently, I joined the CIC research group, where my initial focus will be on science for the Retail and Consumer Products industries.

In our business, customer success is the ultimate measure of success. As such, success for me starts with the realization that I am having a meaningful positive influence on the customers that rely on the results of my work, whether that is a product, a project, or just a proof-of-concept. But the real feeling of success comes from achieving that as part of a team, knowing we have done more together than the sum of the parts would have allowed. I am thankful that throughout my career, SAP has allowed me to work in a number of such team projects and I look forward to working on many more.

Some of the best moments I can recall come from the apex of projects, the result of months of hard work being finally delivered successfully to happy customers. That keeps me looking forward to what is coming next, it becomes almost a necessity and an expectation to have the next best moment. And, you become eager to put forth your learnings in the next iteration.

SAP is a multinational, multicultural company, with great work environment, excellent benefits, and an employee-centric culture. SAP is a large company, but you do not feel as if you are just another ant in the colony, instead you are seen as an individual and you are given room to grow professionally, while finding inspiration and support on the people around you.

Outside of the office, on weekdays I try to find time for a swim either early in the morning before work, or in the evening. During the weekends it is time to enjoy life with my wife and daughter. Growing up near the ocean, I have always been around the water. My father taught me freediving when I was five years old, and I would even catch some small fish for dinner while doing that. The feeling of diving indeep into the ocean on a single breath of air, surrounded by fishes, is indescribable. You deeply connect to nature, and then you keep coming back for more. As such, I still practice freediving spearfishing, mostly on vacations away from our home in the Arizona desert. Here, I enjoy swimming, mountain biking, and hiking and camping with my family.

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