The best student of 2004 at her University in Cluj-Napoca; speaker of five foreign languages; manager of a Digital IT department, taking care of budgets, cost optimization, implementing and monitoring progress of worldwide initiatives; an international speaker, publisher and researcher, holding a Ph.D. degree which makes her an expert in the theory of probability and its applications. These are just some milestones of the strong career of Alexandrina – a half-Italian, complex competitive leader, motivated to always deliver results and outperform her personal objectives.
Name: Alexandrina Scorbureanu
Hometown: Alesd (Bihor County)
Abroad since: 2001
Living in: Verona, Italy
Current position & company: Head of IT & Digital Financial Management, CIDO (Chief Information and Digital Officer) Department, Assicurazioni Generali Group Headquarters, Milan
TGR: Alexandrina, reading your profile made me wonder when you had time to specialize yourself in so many fields… Which do you think are the qualities that helped you achieve this diversity?
AS: I would say that there are three main pillars at the foundation of my career path, being:
1. Curiosity to understand more,
2. Courage to dare “dreaming” to reach ambitious goals
3. Ambition to perform better and to outperform my own targets
IT, Project Management, Finance, strategic awareness, statistics, and a strong academic background... Which of these roles do you prefer and why?
I actually prefer combining all of them – to prepare the best “cocktail” of myself in everyday life. In fact, it is not at all easy to find the actual time to follow on (always increasing set of) responsibilities as Head of Financial Management in CIDO at Generali and teaching University Students about International Finance and its theories. Sometime that translates effectively into working around the clock 24/7. On the other side, I really enjoy the “melting pot” kind of job responsibilities, as I feel they help me learn and grow constantly…
OK, let’s split this tasty cocktail into pieces tell me first about your job with Generali!
I’m in charge for the management and cost optimization of several budget components in CIDO at Generali Headquarters, adding up to a portfolio of several million euros dedicated to support IT & Digital initiatives required for the Group’s transformation worldwide. In parallel, I’m responsible for the Performance Management of CIDO area across all geographies where the Group has Insurance operations. That reduces to steering, monitoring and analyzing a set of KPIs on a regular basis together with our operating entities.
Where is the CIDO department positioned in the global hierarchy of Generali?
My Boss (the Chief Information and Digital Officer) currently reports to Philippe Donnet, which is the Chief Executive Officer of the Generali Group – a company with about 76,000 employees and over 80 million customers in more than 60 countries worldwide. The Generali Group is one of the oldest Insurance Companies in the world, with about 200 years of history – one of the leading insurance companies worldwide, with more than €70 billion in premium income, 67% of which from outside Italy. A very nice presentation of our business and goals can be found on our website.
How many direct reports do you have?
In my team there are currently 3 senior experts acting as head office coordinators of Group project, in a matrix organization where the local support of our colleagues from each country is fundamental.
Can you tell me something only you can do in the company?
I believe that it is due to my “colorful” background made of various different experiences that I could claim to be in the position to add a rather “different” viewpoint to almost all of the issues that our team faces on a daily basis. Most of the times, this flexible approach helps us finding a better solution, or helps identifying one when most of the people think there’s none.
So an essential role I would say, and your previous research for the Ph.D. title has surely helped. Which was your main finding and what did it change?
I have spent quite some time understanding how probability affects microeconomic behavior – especially decision making when outcomes are uncertain. A good example would be choosing alternative motorways when you don’t know what the travel times will be on each route.
To demonstrate how risk aversion plays a very important role in this decision making process, I have spent almost a year collecting and analyzing data from truck drivers moving from Jerusalem to the West Bank cities in Israel. In that context, with military block on the roads, it is particularly difficult to estimate travel times. In a way, it is pretty similar to predicting the value of investment portfolio assets, which depends on many unpredictable events.
How’s life in Verona? Why is it attractive for you and how do you usually spend your free time?
Verona is a beautiful city – maybe the most attractive in the North of Italy. It has many attractions for tourists such as the Arena (a smaller Collosseum where operas and concerts take place in summer), 2 castles, Romeo & Juliet’s house, museums, etc. For me, Verona is the hometown, the place where I studied, where I found my first real job, the place where I met my husband and where our little family with two wonderful children currently lives. In the spare-time we usually visit the Lake of Garda with its many attractions such as one of the most famous fun park, Gardaland; we are frequent visitor of Parco Sigurtà at just 20 km away from Verona and which is part of the Unesco’s World most beautiful places, and of course go to cinema or participate to various events organized in the city: Fiera del Modellismo (a fair for prototyping all kinds of small vehicles and Lego buildings) the Tocati’ (an event to celebrate games starting from the Middle Age), or the Carnival when most inhabitants wear colorful suits and masques.
What about the Italian people? Are they easy to work with, are they easy-going, open towards expats?
Italians are some of the most open-minded, funniest but also unpredictable people I met during my career. They are best at innovating and finding new alternative ways of doing things. In fact, they are pretty bad as when it comes to “optimize” repetitive tasks – maybe in contrast to what I’ve seen in Germany - and rather seem to prefer complexity to monotony as a partner for life. Inter-human relationships and family networks are the main ingredients for their life receipt. I feel this picture also represents myself, and probably that is why I feel at home here in Italy – a home that I would never abandon.
This actually answers my following question, about you eventually moving back to Romania sometimes…
That's not really in our plan for the moment. Such a decision would have an effect on my family’s life and it is hard for me to currently see an alternative lifestyle providing a satisfactory answer to all our needs (spanning from basic services, education, or health-related services, career and social environment). This doesn’t mean I’m not going to visit Romania anymore – actually I’m coming back several times a year, to visit my parents and relatives, to enjoy the untouched nature and humour embedded in people’s daily living. I also appreciate the great effort and resilience that each of my co-nationals need to put into action in order to achieve their goals – these being simple actions such as taking the train to move across locations, or complex duties related to bureaucracy.
I am sure though you still have some nice things to say about Romania…?
Romania is a very rich country, with valuable and unique resources which, sometime by mistake, malpractice, or because of the context, have remained hidden, yet in some secret mountain. Its full potential will come out shining as a diamond once that the right people will be placed in front of that mountain, ready to release it by pronouncing the right words “Open, Sesame!”
When you are away, what do you mostly miss about Romania?
Besides “sarmale” and “mamaliga”, I for sure miss the green grass and untouched nature characterizing countryside’s people pure lifestyle. These are among the most unique and original features which could hopefully one day become our “national brand” – I don’t remember to have noticed this anywhere else in the countries I visited.
What is your biggest dream?
Leave a “mindfulness” life: being able to travel for leisure more than travel for work, for enough time allowing me to understand the difference. Usually, leisure time is so limited that it turns out into complementary time to dedicate to other job-related tasks or must-does for the family that we actually never manage to disconnect ourselves from the actual responsibilities.
Any final remarks regarding our home country?
Even if we probably are not yet ready to un-veal our “full potential”, we may start “publicizing” it as you already do – marketing will help us having defined a “brand” which can guide us through the process forward.
The Golden Romania
All the interviews in this section, gathered in one place!
Razvan Mihai Oancea - the Regional Manager in the sewing industry whose transformation process has only started after 40, when he has moved to Hong Kong
Andrei Golesteanu - the experienced HR Manager who's in the position to develop US professionals
Radu Topliceanu, one of the top Romanian banking professionals worldwide!
Johann Stan, the Romanian who's in the position to approve a patent for any European innovation!
Andrei Lascu, the Country Manager of 750 IT Professionals in Indonesia
Mirel Baila, the first Romanian Abroad who has shared his amazing story to this platform!