10 Things You Didn’t Know about Northwestern Mutual CEO John E. Schlifske

John E. Schlifske, the Chief Executive Officer of Northwestern Mutual, has been involved in finance for the overwhelming majority of his adult life. This is easily one of the most prevalent insurance companies in the United States. While you may not have heard his name specifically, there is every chance that you have certainly heard of the company that he essentially heads up. If you want to know more about the man, you can find ten unique things about him below.

1. He serves in more than one capacity

Like most CEOs, this isn’t his only position. He also works as the Chairman of the company, a practice that is widely accepted by almost every major corporation in the country. If you really stop and think about it, it really only makes sense to serve in both capacities at the same time. It typically allows operation at the company to go more smoothly and it give the person in charge an opportunity to see things from more than one perspective.

2. He definitely came up through the ranks

Of course, he didn’t start out as the CEO. In fact, he worked at the company for a number of years, always working in one area of finance or another. At several different times throughout his employment there, he was in charge of various departments. After demonstrating his ability to handle even the most delicate of situations, he had proven that he was indeed the most qualified person for the job when he was offered the CEO position.

3. He has plenty of business experience

Even before he started working for Northwestern Mutual, he had a great deal of business experience. As he gained more knowledge and honed his skills, he made the decision to move to Northwestern Mutual and essentially put down roots at the company. From that point forward, his goals was to achieve the highest level of productivity in each department as he progressively worked toward achieving the position he currently holds.

4. He’s also tied to other major corporations

He serves on the Board of Directors for a number of other corporations, as well as his alma mater. He also holds an active position as an Independent Director at Kohl’s, a position that he has held for the past seven years.

5. He got his Bachelor’s degree in the early 1980s

In 1981, he graduated from Carleton College with a BA in finance. Apparently, there was never really any doubt what his professional goals were, and he set out to make those goals a reality from the time that he graduated high school.

6. He then went on to get an MBA

Knowing that he needed even more education in order to achieve his goals in business, he went on to Northwestern University immediately after getting his Bachelor’s degree, eventually getting a Master’s degree in Business Management. This is what really set him up to succeed, not just as a business professional, but in the specific positions that he would eventually hold. Ultimately, this education is what laid the framework for him to go on and become the CEO of the company.

7. He’s in charge of a large and growing company

Northwestern Mutual is a large company and it’s growing in size with each passing day. This is challenging to head up a company so large, especially when it comes to successfully managing all of the growing pains that come with expansion. That being said, he’s done quite well so far.

8. He enjoys his privacy

He may be adept at dealing with company business, but that doesn’t mean that he enjoys having his personal privacy invaded on a near-constant basis. As a direct result, he works very hard to keep his privacy intact, something that isn’t necessarily easy for the CEO of a major corporation.

9. His compensation is not always disclosed

This is largely because he doesn’t like to have his privacy involved. In some cases, the annual compensation is disclosed because it is required that this kind of information be provided, but he isn’t too keen on doing so unless he is forced to it. He far prefers to keep things quiet when it comes to the amount of money he makes.

10. He believes in giving back to the community

Even though his reluctance to disclose the yearly income ignites a lot of debate, that doesn’t mean that he isn’t concerned about giving back. He does work hard to ensure that people have access to a solid education and that the colleges where he learned himself have everything they need to mold young minds.


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