By Kadejra Grayson-Groom and Gianluca D’Elia
The university elected a new chair for the Board of Trustees at the end of September. After three years serving on the board, Robert Schimek, ’87, was elected for the position previously held by Michael Kennedy, ’72.
Schimek received his bachelor’s degree in economics and a master’s in business administration at Rider, and later went on to become the vice president and chief executive officer of the American International Group (AIG). Schimek said he looks forward to taking on the new position and recalled how Rider helped him start his career.
“Rider is in my DNA,” he said in an Oct. 3 interview. “This is where I developed my core skills in business and accounting. I rely on those skills every day, and I credit my Rider professors for creating my strong foundation. My most rewarding experience was teaching at Rider in the early 2000s. As a matter of fact, my daughter Katie was born while I was scheduled to teach a class on lease accounting. I will never forget Rider, and I will always try to help the university, given how much it has done for me.”
Schimek also worked as a partner at Deloitte & Touche, one of the world’s largest professional services firms.
“Rob brings a level of energy and insight to the complex challenges facing higher education in general, and Rider in particular,” President Gregory Dell’Omo said in a statement to the Rider community on Sept. 25. “I have faith that his leadership and counsel will help guide us toward a bright future.”
Schimek said his goal as the new chair is to ensure that the university prepares students for the real world after they leave — one of those students being his own daughter, Samantha, who earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology last year.
“The pace of change in the world around us is moving faster than ever before, and we need to work hard to ensure that Rider is prepared to continue to produce well rounded leaders with integrity and the skills to succeed,” Schimek said. “The other key priority is ensuring that Rider has the best possible long-term strategy and financial strength to build upon its proud history for our next generation.”
Schimek said he is also looking forward to being able to give back to his alma mater.
“I’m here to help,” he said. “I’m looking forward to using my professional experiences to help Rider in any way I can.”
Having worked for several high-profile businesses throughout his career, Schimek said those past experiences have prepared him well for his new position at Rider. He said he hopes to utilize his experiences to support students and faculty.
“My career experiences at Deloitte & Touche and AIG have taught me to challenge the status quo and support the team on the playing field every day,” he said. “I admire the work of our professors at Rider and I know that if we support them, they can bring out the best in our students — like they did in me.”