Zane Rowe

Zane Rowe

Zane Rowe ('91, DB)

  • Member since 2010
  • Secretary, Board of Trustees
  • Chair, Audit Committee
  • Business Partnership, Committee on Trustees, Executive, and Finance Committees

Career Highlights  

Zane Rowe ('91, DB) has served in top executive roles at multinational corporations spanning multiple industries, including major airlines and leading technology companies. 

Currently, Rowe is the Chief Financial Officer for Workday Inc., a leader in enterprise cloud applications for finance and human resources. In this role, he oversees the company's overall finance and accounting functions, internal audit, and investor relations, as well as advising on business strategy and product development.  

Rowe began his executive career in aviation finance, initially at Continental Airlines, where he rose to Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. He continued as CFO of United Continental Holdings Inc. after Continental merged with United Airlines. 

He later transitioned to the technology sector, leading North American sales for Apple Inc. and serving as Executive Vice President and CFO at data storage firm EMC, which was acquired by Dell Inc. in 2016. As part of that merger, Rowe assumed the role of CFO and Executive Vice President of cloud computing and software company VMware, where he was responsible for the company’s overall finance and accounting functions, internal audit, and investor relations. Additionally, he led the Real Estate and Workplace organization, which manages over 100 VMware sites worldwide, and the Strategy and Corporate Development team in their long-term planning across VMware businesses, mergers and acquisitions, and strategic investments. He was also responsible for the Information Technology organization and enterprise data and analytics. 

Rowe spent seven years at VMware, including a stint as interim CEO in 2021, before joining Workday. Since 2016, he has served on the Board of Directors of Sabre Corporation, a leading software and technology provider that powers the global travel industry.

Launching a Career in Aviation and Technology 

Rowe dreamed of an aviation career and took flying lessons while growing up in Cape Town, South Africa. His family immigrated to the United States in the mid-1980s, and Rowe went on to graduate from Embry-Riddle at its Daytona Beach, Florida, campus in 1991, receiving a bachelor’s degree in Aviation Business Administration. He then earned an MBA from San Diego State University in California. 

Rowe returned to Embry-Riddle to teach economics and business, after which he moved into the airline industry. “I got into the airlines and aviation when I looked at globalization and how airlines and aviation brought the world together,” he said. 

After spending 19 successful years in the aviation business — including being named one of the industry’s top two CFOs and one of corporate America’s outstanding finance executives under age 40 — Rowe saw an opportunity to broaden his career in the technology sector. “Embry-Riddle opened a number of doors for me, my interest in technology being one of them,” he said. 

Shaping Success at Embry-Riddle 

Elected to the Embry-Riddle Board of Trustees in 2010, Rowe serves as Secretary and Chairman of the Audit Committee, and is a member of the Business Partnership, Executive, and Finance committees. As a trustee, he also established the Rowe Endowed Scholarship for business students. 

“Having the privilege to participate in the university as a student, instructor, and trustee, I’ve witnessed Embry-Riddle growing stronger every year, developing the campuses and expanding the roster of degree programs,” he said. 

According to Rowe, Embry-Riddle's prospects for continued growth in academics and research are limitless. He highlighted the university's exceptional faculty, cutting-edge labs, and alumni base composed of leaders in a broad spectrum of industries around the globe. 

“As an institution, we’re doing so well with program and career diversification that our students aren’t pigeonholed in any way. I couldn’t feel more proud that I might have had a small role in helping shape that success,” he said.