UTSA Alumnus Richard Peretz Named CFO at UPS
Trading in a brown delivery uniform for a three-piece suit, Richard Peretz,’85 has had an illustrious 35-year career working for UPS.
Joining the company in 1981 while a student at UTSA, Peretz has risen through the ranks to become chief financial officer of the $58 billion company headquartered in Atlanta.
As CFO Peretz is responsible for accounting, finance, financial planning, taxes, audit and compliance activities. He also serves as the company’s senior liaison to the investor, finance and analyst communities.
“I’ve had great opportunities with UPS,” said Peretz, a native of San Antonio. “I’ve been in front of the European Union, opened up UPS operations in China and have been invited to the White House.”
His list of career highlights includes being part of the team that led the IPO to take UPS public in 1999; managing acquisitions and expanding international small package operations in Costa Rica, Romania, South Korea, Turkey and Vietnam; launching UPS’ operations in Mexico; and serving as the international CFO during which time he grew profits while opening operations in China and expanding in Japan, Poland and the United Kingdom.
“The hallmark of UPS is that everyone understands the business well,” said Peretz, who also holds an MBA from Emory University. “After graduating from college, I drove a truck for four months. Being closely tied to the inner workings of the company helps one understand the analytical side of the business.”
“You need to continue to learn and continue to self-analyze yourself. You learn from your mistakes. What got you promoted might not make you successful in your next position.”
Traveling the world with UPS, Peretz has worked in both the operational and corporate sides of the business.
“Even though I started out majoring in accounting, most of my career has been in finance,” he said. “My UTSA background and UPS experiences have taken me around the world and exposed me to multiple facets of the business and the diversity of cultures.”
Describing his transition to his new role as CFO Peretz said, “The pace is faster, but I’ve been preparing for this for 30 years. To be an effective leader you have to make sure you have the right facts to support your position and believe in the direction you are headed.”
Peretz often finds himself in the national financial and media spotlight since his role also includes communicating with Wall Street and the business media.
“Communication skills are vital,” said Peretz. “You need to be able to explain things so your audience understands. My first English class at UTSA helped me learn that. Now I use those skills when I’m being interviewed on CNBC. It’s like preparing for a final exam and not knowing what the questions will be.”
Reflecting on his career with UPS, Peretz remarked, “UPS has a strong corporate culture. It is the same now as when I started. Everyone goes by their first name. Employees are given opportunities to grow and most importantly, it is teamwork that drives our success.
“But, the pace of the business is faster now. And, I’ve seen how globalization and technology have influenced the foundation of UPS.”
A self-proclaimed numbers guy, Peretz always wanted to major in accounting. He worked part time and later full time at a UPS facility not far from campus, while he completed his undergraduate degree.
“When I was at UTSA there were four buildings, plus the Sombrilla. We didn’t even have a basketball team,” said Peretz. Supporting his alma mater from afar, Peretz made sure to attend a UTSA football game when they played in Atlanta in 2012.
Referencing renowned author and executive coach Marshall Goldsmith, Peretz stressed the importance of continual learning.
Grateful for the education that he received from UTSA, Peretz encourages other alumni and students to continue the educational process. “Life is a journey, and you must be prepared for the opportunities that are still before you.”
Meet a Roadrunner
Sergio Silva Cisneros, ’09 CFA
Vice President, Barclays
Almost a decade ago Sergio Silva Cisneros made a decision that would not only impact his life, but the lives of countless UTSA finance students—he decided to found the Investment Society, a student organization dedicated to educating future business leaders about the financial markets and the economy.
The organization’s motto is to outperform, and Silva Cisneros certainly has done that as a shining example of what UTSA finance students can accomplish.
He was the first UTSA student offered a securities internship with Goldman Sachs in New York City. And, a job offer soon followed from the firm in their Emerging Markets team when he graduated. In May 2014 he was recruited away by Barclays to grow their Latin American division.
Why did you found the Investment Society?
I would see athletes, musicians and artists practicing their craft throughout campus, and I thought that finance students needed that same experience. We needed a place to practice and apply what we were learning in class. We began as a small group hovered around a single Bloomberg terminal in the Business Building. We had a vision for success and a goal of making it to Wall Street. Since then the Investment Society has grown past our original expectations.
What is a typical day like for you?
Working in the equity derivatives sales-trading team at Barclays, I get into the office each day at 6:45 a.m. so that I can catch up on the overnight news. Clients come in around 7:30 a.m., and we get them ready for the trading day ahead. At 9:30 a.m. the equity markets open, and I’m on my Bloomberg all day. I’m either quoting trades, pitching trades or executing trades until the market closes at 4 p.m. Then, I conduct economic analysis before and after hours. You need to have your fingers on the pulse of the economy throughout the world. Anything can change the fabric of value.
What is your favorite part of the job?
My favorite part of the job is the trading and executions side. It is fast-paced with a lot of pressure and excitement that can occur in a 20-second window. Also, since I cover the Latin American region I enjoy representing a global investment bank internationally when I travel to visit clients.
Professor Ron Sweet, MBA ’91 made the whole difference in the world for me. He taught us that numbers and formulas are the same whether we are in San Antonio or New York City. He was instrumental in my belief that I could thrive on Wall Street. He gave us the knowledge and the coaching to be successful.
I compete in triathlons at the half-Ironman distance. They appeal to my competitive nature.
Describe yourself in three words.
Passionate. Driven. Entrepreneurial.
What advice do you have for business students?
Open your eyes and look for opportunities and challenges. Find something that will make you happy and play to your strengths. Start early. It is a competitive field. Get involved and take on leadership roles.
Why are you proud to be a Roadrunner?
I find parallels between my story and UTSA’s. We both had potential that is now being realized. I was lucky to be there during that time. I’m proud to wear the colors and honored to be a Roadrunner.