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Meet Brian Cuttica

Meet Brian Cuttica, Co-Founder & Chief Revenue Officer at Corecentra.

What is your role at Corecentra?

My primary job is to help private equity firms that are trying to solve a problem around operationalizing ESG initiatives. I’ve spent the last 4.5 years helping large corporations operationalize their social impact programs (effectively the “S” in ESG), and see so many similarities in the operational challenges. I partner with our Private Market’s Lead, Ani Ajith, to share common challenges PE firms face when working on ESG, learn about the specific challenges for the firm we are talking to, and then (if we think we can help) design solutions that help that firm operationalize ESG programs in a pragmatic way. One of the fun things about being a relatively newer company is that I also get to be a part of bringing those new clients on-board, and continue to work closely with them on an ongoing basis.

Why did you start Corecentra?

I spent the last 4.5 years learning a lot about the “S” in ESG through my work with corporate social responsibility teams at large corporations. We helped these teams navigate a huge shift in how their organizations were operationalizing their social impact programs. When I first started talking to Ani about his work with ESG at private equity firms, I saw lots of similarities in both the technical and operational challenges. I believe private equity firms are going to face many of the same challenges CSR teams faced over the past 5 or so years. Joining Ani as a co-founder to help build a solution to those challenges is something I am really excited about.

What is your favorite part about working at Corecentra?

First, the people. Anytime you are going to join a founding team, you better really like and respect everyone. From the first time Anish, Ani, Jeff, and I started talking about joining forces, it was clear to me we had a great team that I would love working side by side with. I also love interacting with our customers. We primarily work with private equity firms who want to operationalize and invest in ESG. These firms are mission driven, of course, but also super pragmatic about the fact that their job is to drive really good returns across their portfolio. This pragmatic point of view meshes really well with how I think about business, and has made the job really fun.

What are the toughest challenges ahead that your industry faces?

A private equity firm's objective is to provide financial returns to its investors. We believe the most successful firms will embrace ESG as an essential lever in the value creation process. This idea that ESG can be used to enhance the value of a portfolio remains a highly debated topic, and I believe is one of the toughest challenges facing the industry. Too many participants view ESG through either a highly politicized lense, or as a checkbox exercise, i.e. provide a broad ESG statement on their firm’s website. The industry as a whole needs to take a step back, and acknowledge the very tangible ways ESG drives value: Bankers lower cost of capital for deals that include ESG metrics as KPIs, employees want to work at portfolio companies that authentically embrace ESG and, perhaps most importantly, investors want to invest in funds committed to real ESG operationalization. While ESG as a concept is certainly not new, we do seem to be at a critical juncture where enough stakeholders are demanding a response to ESG, and if the private equity industry can’t get behind the need to respond, there will likely be meaningful fallout.

What do you enjoy doing when you are not working?

I have a 6 year old daughter and 2 year old puppy - - When I am not working I am usually taking care of one or both of them. If you are ever in Lincoln Park and hear a 40 year old adult man and 6-year old girl yelling “panckes” at the top of their lungs, it’s probably us chasing down the dog (one guess who named the dog…)