David Aflalo: Professional and Prepared
A Security 500 Thought Leader Profile
Dave Aflalo has protected Presidents of the United States, nuclear power plants and CEOs. Over a 35-year career, his work has spanned the industry spectrum and has included senior leadership roles ensuring security and safety in both the public and private sectors.
His background is a diverse one: a retired Connecticut State Police commander, he has also served as Director of Regional Security Operations for Capital One, Director of Facility Security for ESPN, and Area Security Representative for Pathmark Stores, all of which have led to his current position: Vice President, Corporate Security for General Motors Financial Company.
The transition from each role was relatively smooth, he says. “Some skill sets transfer well, and some security and safety strategies transfer easily between sectors and organizations. But leading people and processes is a similar undertaking regardless of whether you’re in the public sector or the private sector.”
Aflalo was recruited in 2015 by General Motors Financial Company, the financial services arm of General Motors, and a global provider of auto finance solutions, with operations in the United States, Canada, China and Latin America.
He was tasked with building a contemporary, effective security organization and to develop and implement a proactive, holistic security strategy that was aligned with and responsive to the company’s security risks. He’s been busy, and he’s been successful. He’s added to his team, which now includes 51 staff and 150+ contractors, and has built a full-scale GSOC, implemented a forensic investigations function, established an active shooter awareness training program, enhanced perimeter security at the company’s facilities and more. His role has recently expanded to include oversight of facilities, engineering, mail services, and environmental health, safety and sustainability.
“Corporate Security is now recognized as a professional and prepared value-add component enterprise-wide, to include the C-suite, our peers, our line-of-business customers and our external stakeholders,” he notes. “The Corporate Security organizational structure is now aligned to promote efficiency and collaboration which optimizes the efforts and activities that support the broader department mission. Operating within the Corporate Administration umbrella provides adjacency to several other corporate support functions and produces additional operational synergies as well.”
Aflalo is a firm believer in continuous improvement strategies. To measure Corporate Security’s value, he has developed several probing assessment tools to gauge the success of security programs throughout the enterprise. He uses metrics, analytics and benchmarking to further measure the progress of their efforts.
He has had C-suite support from day one, he says. “Leveraging my experience in both the private and public sectors, supported by my background in organizational leadership, allowed for a comprehensive assessment and a true transformation of the security function. One of the things that we did early on was to identify what type of technology we were using for our physical security model across the enterprise. There were certain areas that were ripe for improvement in our security video monitoring and access control platforms, and other aspects of our physical security architecture. We have made significant, meaningful improvements in these and other areas over a relatively short period of time. But I could not have done it without the support behind our mission to raise the bar on how we manage security operations and ultimately, security risk.”
He enjoys working in this sector, he says. “It’s a diverse, highly-matrixed organization. Moreover, GM Financial is the wholly-owned finance subsidiary of General Motors Company; so while GM Financial provides global auto finance solutions across the world, we are also well-aligned with the broader strategy and purpose of General Motors, to earn customers for life.”
Aflalo says that financial sector security and the global nature of the company’s operations requires a robust travel risk management program be in place to promote the safety of employees traveling on business, particularly during travel to high-risk locations. In addition, he says, “Cybersecurity concerns prevail throughout most industries today, but financial services companies must exercise even greater diligence in protecting both company and customer information. So it’s all about identifying and implementing effective security controls that are best positioned to protect assets from emerging threat environments.”
While security’s contributions are many and varied due to the numerous security functions that Aflalo’s team performs, promoting the safest possible environment for employees is the most vital contribution that they make, he says. “Our team members are the engine that drives GM Financial’s business and ultimately, success.”
In his free time, Aflalo enjoys spending time with family, the outdoors, physical fitness and traveling.
Annual Revenue: $9.558 billion
Security Budget: $16 million
• Personnel Security
• Facility Security
• Travel Security