David Drury 2008
David J. Drury
BS '66, Mathematics
David Drury’s is a classic Iowa success story. After graduating from Iowa State in the 1960s, he entered the workforce as an actuary. With his farm-raised work ethic and commitment to integrity he quickly rose to become the leader of one of Iowa’s largest companies and transformed it into a FORTUNE 500 leader.
By the time Drury (’66 mathematics), who was named president of Principal Financial Group in 1993, retired from his post as CEO in 2001, Principal had grown from a $35 billion mutual insurance company into a $115 billion publicly-traded global retirement services corporation. Principal’s initial public offering was held Oct. 23, 2001, just weeks following the terrorist attacks of September 11, but Principal’s strong stock carried it through hard times and has since tripled in value.
It was not only Drury’s actuarial background and natural business acumen that led him to success at Principal. Loyalty, work ethic, and a commitment to employee development are characteristics widely attributed to Drury’s leadership—leadership that laid the foundation for Principal’s current standing as the 250th highest earning company in America and a five-time FORTUNE magazine “100 Best Companies to Work” listing. Drury set a tone at Principal that has guided his successors and bolstered the company’s reputation as the home to a generation of future leaders.
Among Drury’s successes have also been community and outreach activities, most notably at his alma mater. He has been a loyal contributor and advisor to Iowa State’s College of Business, which presented him with the John D.DeVries Service Award in 2000. Drury and his wife, Margaret, established the Principal Financial Group Faculty Fellowship in Finance, which recognizes outstanding finance faculty in the college. Drury also took the lead in securing sponsorship from Principal Financial Group for the Gerdin Business Building, which today houses the Principal Financial Group Help Room for course tutoring.
Following his retirement, Drury remained on Principal’s board of directors until 2007. He is currently involved with the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation’s board of advisors and the ISU College of Business Advisory Council. Other organizations with which he has been involved include the board of the American Council of Life Insurers, the Health Insurance Association of America, and the Actuaries Club of Des Moines. He is a Fellow of both the Society of Actuaries and the American Academy of Actuaries.
Drury is an ISU Alumni Association life member and a member of the Order of the Knoll President’s Circle and Campanile Society. He and Margaret live in Urbandale, Iowa. They have three children: Mark, Todd, and Faith, and six grandchildren.