Governing Body Spotlight

Governing Body Member of the Chicago CISO Community

Rajesh David

VP, Global CISO


Rajesh David is a seasoned CISO with deep expertise in mergers and acquisitions, breach response, risk management and privacy. He is a frequent speaker on topics related to leadership, corporate governance, and board communications. He has spent the last two decades working as CISO and CIO in highly regulated industries such as healthcare, pharma, finance, higher education and manufacturing. 

He has a bachelor’s degree in telecommunications and master’s in electrical engineering as well as an executive MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.  

A fun fact about Rajesh is that he studied to be a doctor and accidentally became a CISO. 

Learn more about the Chicago CISO community here.

Give us a brief overview of the path that led to your current role.

I have always enjoyed working for companies with a global presence, managing teams across continents. I have intentionally switched industries and picked companies that are mid to large size. 

I started as a firewall engineer in healthcare, lead IT transformation projects in pharma, managed one of the largest M&A activities as the American CISO for GE Capital, built a team ground up at RUSH, and am now part of the digital transformation journey at Molex and Koch Industries.

What is one of your guiding leadership principles?

To be an effective leader, you need to be able to connect, motivate and inspire. One of my guiding leadership principles is to always be approachable, spend time with your team and lead with purpose delivering high impact with low ego.

What is the greatest challenge CISOs face today, and how are you addressing it?

The year 2023 had CISOs under fire. From the MGM breach of the year to the new SEC ruling that went into effect on Dec. 18,  CISOs have been scrambling to find the right balance between preventive and detective investments that align to the business risk appetite. 

Today, cybersecurity is part of doing digital business but sometimes is incorrectly structured under IT. Cybersecurity its a business strategy, not an IT one. If you want to deliver digital products or utilize them for productivity, you’ll have to take cyber into account. Much like you can’t drive a car without the friction from the road, you have to plan to incorporate cybersecurity as part of your business. Yes, it’s a cost, but the plan will propel you forward.

With that said, my philosophy is centered around creating human-centric security solutions where we put our employees at the core of the control design process. Empathy-based engagement with our customers via intentional collaboration creating ethically centered experiences is at the core of my team mission. This approach will help reduce operational friction and improve control effectiveness. This will ultimately deliver improved value to the business.

What is the key to success for someone just starting out as a CISO?

You are only new once in any role. Take time to learn the business and build relationships with the board, your peers and teams outside of the IT organization.

How do you measure success as a leader?

Success in life mostly depends on discovering your particular talents, then developing and applying them. The moment you stop moving forward, for whatever reason, you start falling behind. My leadership journey has taught me that answering the call to lead requires bravery. The best leaders anticipate, parse and interpret change for their teams and organization by asking “how much, how fast and why?” They focus on driving change by moving pebbles not boulders. 

My measure of success has always centered around the practice of doing well by doing good and focusing on value creation for my customers.

What is the value of being a member of the Evanta community?

Evanta is a group of very impressive approachable leaders. We have a real affinity for each other, and the broader Evanta community is always down to help each other succeed in various professional and personal pursuits. I think that the culture is something that you can feel in every event they host.

Evanta Governing Body members share their insights and leadership perspectives to shape the agendas and topics that address the top priorities impacting business leaders today.

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