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Meet FDU Alumnus Thomas Timko, BS'91 Chief Accounting Officer and Controller, GE

"I learned how to learn, to not only absorb information but to synthesize it, to integrate it into my thinking and decision making. I really grew up at FDU.”

Thomas Timko has built a life filled with successes both personal and professional.

As a student at FDU, Timko says that he learned a lot about himself. “I learned that I was capable of excelling. I learned that I could bet on myself. Perhaps most importantly, I learned how to learn, to not only absorb information but to synthesize it, to integrate it into my thinking and decision making. I really grew up at FDU.”

Timko says that he is a believer in the adage, “It’s not the dog in the fight, it’s the fight in the dog.” He believes that this is particularly apt when talking about the students of FDU. “FDU has always been a home for determined, tenacious and maybe even a little bit scrappy kids,” he says. “And I count myself among them.”

That scrappiness, which, he says, was nurtured and admired on the Florham Campus, has served Timko well over the years, enabling him to take chances early in my career.

After earning a bachelor of science in Accounting from FDU, Timko began his climb up the corporate ladder, excelling in auditing and controlling positions at PricewaterhouseCoopers, Interpublic Group, and Delphi, before being tapped to be vice president and chief accounting officer at General Motors.

From GM, Timko made the jump to General Electric, where he now serves as the company’s chief accounting officer and controller and is an integral member of the transformation team involved in making strategic decisions for the company. He leads a global team of hundreds of employees, and is known for his ethical leadership and drive for excellence.

When Timko first joined GE, he says that his number one goal was to simplify and enhance the transparency of the company’s financial reporting, something that he has achieved. In fact, GE recently won the IR Magazine Award for best Investor Relations Function, in large part due to the leadership that he has provided to the company’s financial reporting team.

Timko says that another one of his favorite expressions is, “Let’s persist to clarity.” To that end, his management technique involves working through problems by asking clarifying questions until everyone has a common understanding.

Timko is known for being able to build and care for a team, and how to lead with conviction for being able to quickly assess business situations and act fast to capitalize on emergent opportunities and to resolve issues.

Timko says that he can trace much of his success to his time at FDU. “FDU was, for me, the right place at the right time. Although I can’t know the direction my life would have taken if I hadn’t taken those summer accounting courses more than 30 years ago, I can say without a shadow of doubt that my time at FDU gave me the tools to take this extraordinary journey.”

He has been recognized as one of Treasury & Risk Magazine’s “2010 100 Most Influential People in Finance” and one of Crain’s Detroit Business’ “40 Under 40, Class of 2007” award, which recognizes top professionals who achieve significant business success. Additionally, he serves on the Board of Advisors for the Silberman College of Business.