By Elise Anderson
Charles Burdick (’77) is the first to admit that his career trajectory was not the result of some grand plan: rather, it was more defined by hard work, preparation and learning and understanding his specific “talent,” and then being ready to take advantage of opportunities as they presented themselves, as they ultimately did in a number of different fields and industries.
He shared some of the details that led to his current position as chairman of Virgin Connect Russia, a provider of broadband, telephony and cable TV in Russia, and as advisory board member for the UCLA Anderson Center for Management of Enterprise in Media, Entertainment & Sports.
Burdick began his career in finance as an M&A analyst at Getty Oil before joining Carnation to work in the international division in finance and treasury. When Time Warner’s assistant treasurer of international, whom he knew slightly, mentioned he was retiring, Burdick applied for the job and got it — just a few months before the stock market crash of 1987.
“I was thinking I was fortunate that I had made the job move (to Time Warner) when I did, but the timing, job and industry were really more by accident than design,” he says.
It was at Time Warner that he discovered his passion for the entertainment business, which he found “full of bright, interesting people from all disciplines, whether it was finance, the creative end or branding and marketing.”