Commitment just part of the deal for DeLoub

DAVID DeLoub made a three-year commitment to New York when he decided to accept an internal offer from Alcoa to join the company’s core corporate finance and financial risk management team.

Mr DeLoub is half way through that period and has already started the evaluation process as to whether on not to stay – though the real crunch time comes in another year.

In many ways the move to New York has been a comfortable one for the former assistant treasurer, based at Alcoa’s Australian headquarters in Booragoon.

Coming in on an expatriate deal makes some of the horrendous costs of the financial capital more manageable. Like rent, for in-stance, in a place where $US6000 a month gets you a smallish two-bedroom apartment.

Working in a global group has also helped. Alcoa’s corporate culture is much the same in New York as it is in Perth, allowing Mr DeLoub to fit in easily to office life.

He has also found the hours more reasonable than expected.

It seems that, outside the investment banking and service sectors, corporate office hours are more in step with the rest of the world.

Not that everything has been smooth – without even considering the events of September 11.

Mr DeLoub said his wife, who has decided against working, preferring to look after their son, has only recently started to feel comfortable, finding New York a wonderful place to pursue personal interests such as photography.

“It has been much more difficult for my wife, with no family and no real friends when we just came across,” he said.

And no matter what sort of deal you are on, like most Australians WA Business News spoke to, Mr DeLoub found nothing can help you budget for New York.

“It is things like having to spend $US100 for a babysitter to go to the movies with your wife,” he said. “After about three months you stop converting everything to Australian dollars.

“When it is $45 [Australian dollars] for a pizza, it is depressing.”

Carrying over four weeks a year holiday is also complicated.

While many senior executives do get such allowances, most careers are built on two weeks’ annual leave. Taking big chunks of time, such as that required to see family in Australia, is almost unheard of.

Mr DeLoub said going home for holidays also made it harder to tour the US but his family had enjoyed a wonderful skiing break in Vermont with some other Australians. He added that the general exodus from New York in summer made the city a more relaxed place to be.

Mr DeLoub said he was fortunate that the skills Alcoa were after – external treasury experience he gained working for BankWest when it was known as the R&I and the Australian operations of some European banks – were rare within the group.

“If you are in finance, this is the place to be,” he said.

And the move was not all about career.

“For me, although I had travelled a bit, I had not lived and worked overseas and, at 35, it might have been the last chance to do that,” Mr DeLoub said.

“My son was at an age that allowed it as well.”

His boy is now growing up and his future will, in some ways, dictate that of Mr DeLoub.

“That is an issue,” Mr DeLoub said. “We need to decide what we are going to do when he hits school age, soon.

“Schooling in Manhattan is difficult. I guess we are pretty open; we made a commitment to three years and then to see if we were happy.”

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