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Posted 4.22.13

MAcc alum's career journey around the globe

Tim Deloso, MAcc ’88, is vice president and treasurer at the global media company Warner Bros. The recipient of this year’s Outstanding Alumnus Award from the Department of Accountancy, Deloso visited the CWRU campus in April to give the Thomas Dickerson Lecture at the annual Beta Alpha Psi spring banquet.

W: Your career has taken you to different industries all over the world, but a common theme has been working at global Fortune 500 companies.

TD: Ever since the age of around 14, I wanted to work for a large, global company. My dad had a subscription to Fortune magazine, and he would leave it lying around the house. I would read about people like T. Boone Pickens and his acquisitions in the 1980’s and think, “This is really interesting stuff!”

My dad worked for Shell Oil in the Philippines (his only employer) and we were relocated several times, first in Singapore for four years and then a year in Malaysia. That also had an influence in my developing a love for traveling and meeting people from all walks of life. Every time I step on a plane, I’m happy. Flight delayed? Doesn’t matter, just stay productive and enjoy the rest of the trip.

W: You have lived in places like London; New York; Louisville, Kentucky; Washington, D.C. and now Pasadena, California. Do you have a favorite location?

TD: It’s funny, I read an article that said people who’ve lived in more than one place are never truly 100 percent happy because a part of their heart was left behind elsewhere. Even if they go back to a former place, they’ll soon miss the last place they lived. And that’s exactly how it is for me.

My family and I loved London. It was an incredible seven years as a foreigner who was just astounded by the architecture, history, culture, museums and even their English accents! We travelled throughout Europe and the Holy Land. New York, D.C. and Louisville were also a lot of fun.

But L.A. is my favorite among U.S. cities. I initially told the recruiter I wasn’t interested in living in L.A. I said, “It’s got traffic, pollution, 13 million people, even earthquakes…” But then an open mind prevailed, and when we got there, we loved it. We found the right schools for our children, a quiet and beautiful suburb, and lots of sun to grow organic produce.There are so many beautiful beaches, and we haven’t even been to all of them—we’re spoiled for choice. It’s also a melting pot, which is very interesting and exciting. My wife and I wonder why we haven’t lived here all our lives.

W: What did you like about living in Cleveland?

TD: I loved University Circle, Little Italy, downtown and the museums. Having just arrived from Texas, I loved the changing seasons, and learned to ski. And the people were so nice, so friendly that I never felt I was not at home. I’d take road trips to Toronto, New York, Pittsburgh, Chicago; it was really, really special living here.

W: What exactly does the treasurer of a large, global company do?

TD: The treasurer’s role revolves around cash: forecasting cashflows, obtaining funding, safeguarding cash from various risks, and enhancing returns. So some objectives include investing excess cash in safe money market funds while maximizing returns. There’s also a risk management component. For example, if you anticipate receiving euros from customers, you enter into a hedge contract with a bank to lock in today’s rate of exchange. So even if the euro were to sink, the bank is obligated to deliver dollars to you at today’s higher rate. In our increasingly interconnected economies, global treasurers need to be even more vigilant about market risk, bank risk and sovereign risk.

A treasurer is also responsible for quantifying a company’s cash needs, borrowing to fill any gaps through bank loans, bonds, etc. Lastly, a treasurer is responsible for day-to-day banking services. Say a company is expanding internationally; the treasury team would select a bank to ensure quality services at the right price. Once the bank accounts are opened, treasury would ensure minimal risk of overdrafts and that excess cash is invested well or used elsewhere.

W: Before Warner Bros., you worked at Discovery Communications and Seagram. Did you always plan to work at big media companies?

TD: I stumbled into it after working in other industries. In 1997, a recruiter called for an audit position reporting to the head of internal audit at Seagram, which at that time owned one of the largest portfolios of spirits and wine companies as well as Universal Studios and Universal Music Group. Universal Music Group became the biggest music company in the world after Seagram acquired Polygram in 1998 for roughly $10 billion. If career and personal reasons had not required changing companies and relocating multiple times, I might never have landed in this exciting industry. While everything worked out, my career path with all its twists and turns comes with a warning: Don’t try this at home!

W: What don’t people know about working in the treasury function for a large company?

TD: The fast pace of work due to ever-changing financial market conditions and business requirements, and the need to make judgment calls quickly. Most of the time, really good judgment comes with experience. You do meet younger people who have good judgment; maybe their parents let them make lots of decisions (and mistakes), or they experienced many different things at a young age. Me? I had to develop that judgment over time, but living alone in the U.S. as a foreign student helped a lot.

W: Why did you choose the MAcc program at CWRU?

TD: What struck me was that at the time, there were six Nobel laureates on the faculty. For a school that size, that was a high percentage. I also liked the small classes. Back then, there weren’t more than 10 students in the MAcc program. We all knew each other, went out together, had pizza and studied together. I still keep in touch with some classmates and would love to track down others.

Also, the faculty and staff here are just so selfless. I remember Dr. [Gary] Previts giving advice when I was looking for a job.  He said, “You know, Tim, in this country, and especially in this part of the country, sports is important. You should go to a Browns game and learn to play golf.” Guess what, I never did it! I still need to learn golf, and I plan to do so with my two sons soon. But that was really good advice, and I thought, “Wow, this person actually took the time to get down to that level.”

I do have regrets: I wish I’d taken my classes in tax and economics more seriously. Those areas are so important to large global corporations and extremely relevant in this current business environment. I think the learning is, take advantage of every single experience personally and professionally. Life is short, and one should never take anything for granted. If somebody says the sun will come up tomorrow, you say, “You know what, there is a one in a million chance it won’t.” So take the time to build relationships, thank others, give back to society and nurture your faith and health.

W: Finally, you also worked for Yum Brands, which owns Taco Bell, KFC, Pizza Hut and more. Do you have a favorite Yum Brands restaurant?

TD: Good question. A & W: I grew up with it in Asia and the root beer float after bowling  brings back many fond memories of my wonderful childhood.

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