Want to Be a CFO? Consider Some Numeric Body Art

Gordon B. Johnson

There are all sorts of strategies to get on an upwardly cell keep track of that may culminate in a CFO appointment. Even receiving a tattoo. Just talk to Dave Raszeja. He’s acquired a person on his appropriate arm that sports the first a hundred digits of pi. Dave Raszeja […]

There are all sorts of strategies to get on an upwardly cell keep track of that may culminate in a CFO appointment.

Even receiving a tattoo.

Just talk to Dave Raszeja. He’s acquired a person on his appropriate arm that sports the first a hundred digits of pi.

Dave Raszeja

“Getting the pi tattoo was likely a person of my improved job moves,” says Raszeja, who will choose on his first CFO role on March one at Penn Mutual Everyday living Insurance plan, a $three.three billion profits organization that manages some $33 billion in property.

He’d been at Penn Mutual for four years when, in 2005 at age 30, he donned the tattoo to memorialize his passion for mathematics. A couple of years before he’d been enthusiastically pursuing a graduate degree in theoretical math, researching such knotty topics as algebraic topology. After he acquired his degree, nevertheless, he switched his job concentration.

“At some issue it became evident that I was heading to have to get the job done significantly harder or grow to be significantly smarter, and neither appeared imminent,” Raszeja says. “I had to get a career, so I made the decision to adhere to the actuarial job route.”

That’s what introduced him to Penn Mutual. By 2005, he’d been an actuary-in-schooling for most of the earlier four years. One day, whilst possessing lunch in the organization cafeteria with a colleague, then-organization CEO Robert Chappell, who had a practice of randomly sitting down with folks at lunch, plopped down subsequent to them.

“He requested what we did, and we described that we ended up actuaries,” Raszeja remembers. “He said that was exciting, for the reason that he’d been considering the organization could do a lot extra with mathematics to grow to be extra details driven and analytically focused.”

Raszeja’s piece of pi

His colleague thereupon said, “Hey, this guy’s acquired pi tattooed on his arm.” Chappell requested to see it, so Raszeja rolled up his sleeve.

The CEO then relayed the tale to the head of Penn Mutual’s expenditure functionality, who contacted Raszeja and requested him to arrive and interview for an open up hedging quantitative examination position.

He landed the career. “I in fact located it a tiny challenging to go there and discuss to those individuals,” he says. “It was a total new space of fiscal mathematics that I hadn’t been uncovered to. But they did a great career educating me about derivatives and quantitative examination.”

Raszeja was taken with the energetic ambiance in the expenditure department, as opposed to the extra staid a person in actuarial. It was normally loud and raucous. There ended up energetic congratulations just after good trades ended up made. He and the other younger quants learned about derivatives in element by making spinoff “contracts” involving them and betting pennies on stock sector results. “It was a rapidly-paced way of thinking,” he says.

He already understood he enjoyed the stimulation of using on different roles. He’d remaining the actuarial space a couple years before to fill in for a a short while ago departed employee in reinsurance administration. It was mostly a clerical career, involving the preparation of billing reports, for illustration.

“It may possibly appear to be that it was a snoozer, but I located I could assistance folks style and design slick spreadsheets to get the billing done [extra rapidly],” Raszeja says. “It was very cool to make that kind of influence early in my job.”

He did not specialize in remaining in roles for long periods of time. Raszeja has performed 10 different work opportunities at Penn Mutual. The headquarters making has 6 wings, and he’s worked in five of them. “If I could get a career in sales, I’d really spherical out my résumé,” he jokes.

When the organization started out an company hazard administration department, its first chief had been head of fastened money in the expenditure space. He introduced Raszeja alongside with him, once more in a quantitative examination role.

“It was the first time I seemed across the total organization, as well as the broker-vendor affiliates, striving to broadly fully grasp not just finance but also folks and strategy and how all of those things worked alongside one another,” he says. “I was about 8 years into my job, and I really do not think a lot of folks get that view of a organization the dimension of Penn Mutual that early.”

His subsequent cease was as chief of mortality administration. It was a bit “wonky,” he says, but he expended ample time with the company’s direct underwriter, from whom he learned a lot about sales.

There ended up also some granular but exciting challenges to cope with. At the time the organization Raszeja was debating no matter whether to permit lifetime coverage buyers to smoke “celebratory cigars” — as a person may possibly do, say, when taking part in golfing once a month — without becoming billed smokers’ premiums. “It was an exciting career on the useful side,” he says.

After a couple years, he located himself back in an actuarial role, but he made the decision he most well-liked the broad view of company hazard administration. But the organization had a short while ago decentralized ERM, and Raszeja remaining the organization to choose a hazard administration position in Cigna’s international team. The career gave him international practical experience, which include frequent excursions to Asia, and the prospect to see how a significantly greater organization differed from an operational standpoint.

Ethics and Chance

After he’d expended thirteen months at Cigna, Penn Mutual, which was arranging to reverse program and go back to centralized hazard administration, introduced him back as chief hazard officer. In 2014, he was requested to choose on the supplemental role of chief ethics officer. “I’m the only man or woman I’ve at any time heard of who had each of those roles at the exact time,” he says.

The ethics position was crucial for his job. While the work opportunities he’d had in advance of ended up analytical in character, this was mostly a folks-focused put up. “It really established me up to hone my management competencies for the long run,” he says.

In 2019, whilst however chief hazard officer, Raszeja was named senior vice president of fiscal administration and selected as the successor to CFO Susan Deakins, who was arranging to retire in early 2020. “She’s a mentor and I’ve been hunting above her shoulder,” he says. “She’s been really generous with her time and has established me up for results, so it must be a easy changeover.”

The first precedence in his new put up will be to continue moving forward with details architecture upgrades. The fiscal functions ramifications of possessing legacy systems is an problem for most of the coverage marketplace today.

Raszeja says he’s been privileged to devote his job with Penn Mutual, for the reason that moving all over the organization is remarkably encouraged. “It’s a good in shape for me,” he says. “You hear a lot that you just can’t get ahead until you change work opportunities, and I agree, but that doesn’t suggest you have to go away the organization — if you are in the appropriate organization.”

He notes that an exciting factor of his job has been that in each and every career he’s had to use “different parts” of himself.

“I’m hearing extra these days about folks bringing their total selves to get the job done, and I’m joyful that you can do that right here,” he says. “And if a tattoo can give you some upward mobility, I think which is a very progressive and inclusive office.”

actuarial, chief hazard officer, Dave Raszeja, derivatives, company hazard administration, mathematics, Penn Mutual, pi, quantitative examination, Robert Chappell, Susan Deakins

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