David Rowland considers himself a rare breed in today’s business world, as far as corporate loyalty goes. He still works for Accenture, the company he joined in 1983 just after earning his bachelor’s degree from Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business.
“Actually, it’s not all that uncommon to stay this long at Accenture,” Rowland says. “That’s one of the special things about our company and culture. We have a lot of talented people who’ve built their career through the decades here. It’s been a great ride for me.”
Rowland’s career journey recently reached a new peak with his appointment to chief financial officer in July. “It’s a terrific opportunity for me to be CFO of one of the largest companies in the world,” he says. “Everything I’ve done in my career has built toward this role, so it’s one I feel comfortable with, even though we have a very large, complex business.”
Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services, and outsourcing company, with approximately 266,000 employees serving clients in more than 120 countries. The company generated net revenues of $27.9 billion for the fiscal year ending Aug. 31, 2012.
Rowland says that when he first started with the company as a consultant, he never dreamed that he’d one day be CFO. But he steadily rose through the ranks, becoming managing director of finance operations when the company went public in 2001. His most recent role was senior vice president of finance.
“When I look back, I feel extremely fortunate to have started my career with such a good company,” Rowland says.
He has played an instrumental role in ensuring that many other Scheller College graduates get a shot at building their careers at Accenture, especially during the last decade when he’s been based in Atlanta and had easy access to the business school.
“Georgia Tech is a major recruiting source for us, and I’ve have had primary responsibility for building that relationship,” says Rowland, a member of the Scheller College Advisory Board. “I’ve mentored students who’ve reached out to me for career advice, and I’ve also participated in classes.”
For example, he was twice involved in Professor Frank Rothaermel’s Strategic Management & Integrative Management Experience, during which MBA students conduct strategic management analysis of real-world company issues and then present their findings to executives.
“Working with groups of MBA students with diverse backgrounds has been a great experience,” he says. “It’s always energizing to meet with Tech students. The quality has never been higher.”
Rowland has helped ensure that deserving students for years to come have access to a Scheller College education through the endowment of the need-based Michele and David P. Rowland Tech Promise Scholarship (only one of many ways he’s given back to Tech through the years).
His wife, Michele – though a University of Georgia alumna – has finally converted to Tech fandom and even wears white and gold when the Yellow Jackets compete against her alma mater. That love for Tech is a family affair, given that their son, Clay, just graduated from the Scheller College in May and started a consulting career. Their youngest son, Drew, is a rising sophomore business major and an ambassador for Scheller.
“Both of my sons have thoroughly enjoyed the Tech experience,” he says. “Most of what I do outside of work revolves around my family, such as my sons’ involvement in competitive golf and enjoying water activities at the lake. The entire family is very enthusiastic about sports. We’re season ticket holders for Tech’s football and basketball and also go to a lot of the baseball games.”