In retrospect, it almost looks like Giulio Terzariol’s professional path led straight to the boardroom: he graduated summa cum laude from the Bocconi University in Milan, where he studied Business Administration, pursued a training program at Generali in Munich, worked as an analyst in Group Planning and Controlling at Allianz SE, served as the Chief Financial Officer of Allianz Asia Pacific in Singapore, he held various roles at Allianz Life in the U.S., where he was based for 8 years, before finally coming back to Munich one year ago. Since then he has been the Head of Group Planning and Controlling at Allianz SE.
When Terzariol joined Allianz in 1998, he would have actually preferred to work in portfolio management. But Helmut Perlet, who was Chief Financial Officer of Allianz at the time and who is currently the Chairman of the company’s Supervisory Board, had other plans for the young gentleman from San Donà di Piave, a small town close to Venice. After seeing the good work of the Italian for some years, Perlet proposed him as the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) for Allianz in Singapore in 2004. “Not everyone thought that’s a good idea at the time,“ Terzariol explains and laughs. Too young, too unexperienced, that’s what people said. But Werner Zedelius, the responsible Board Member, supported Perlet’s proposal. “I am grateful for the trust they both placed in me up until today,” says Terzariol. When, two years later, the return on investment in the life insurance business in Asia had doubled, any remaining doubts vanished. Terzariol is a quiet, empathetic person, who is a good listener. Nonetheless, he can also make tough decisions. “When push comes to shove, the quiet ones are often more determined than the extroverts,” he explains.
In 2007, Perlet sent the finance expert from Singapore on a difficult mission to Allianz Life in the U.S. Terzariol wasn’t appointed as the Chief Financial Officer, instead he was made responsible for Corporate Planning and Controlling. His salary was also rather modest. But what at first sight could have been interpreted as a professional downgrade, soon proved to be an important career step – and brought valuable personal experiences. “For me and my family, the U.S. became our second home,” he says. The father of two kids, a son and a daughter, appreciates the positive, can-do attitude of the Americans. “We felt very comfortable there.”
One year after arriving in Minneapolis, he became the CFO and contributed successfully to bringing the company back on track, closely cooperating with Oliver Bäte initially and then later with Dieter Wemmer. In 2013 the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal named him Chief Financial Officer of the year.
Terzariol, who speaks English, German and Italian, understands his role as the new Chief Financial Officer of Allianz mainly as an advisor and initiator. "An athlete might bring along all the physical requirements needed to become a champion, but a coach will be able to show him, how to make the most of his potential,” he says. As a passionate long distance runner and hiker, Terzariol is well-equipped for his new role.
He is starting his new position at a difficult time. “It is easy to deliver results with tailwinds,” the future Chief Financial Officer explains. “But whether one has the instruments required to achieve success only becomes apparent if you have headwinds.” He is confident that Allianz – as well as he himself – have the necessary tools to deliver.