Cal Poly

Orfalea College of Business

Setareh Pouraghabagher

Setareh Pouraghabagher

Office 03-342
Phone 805-756-1452

Setareh Pouraghabagher

SiSi Pouraghabagher is an adjunct professor in the Accounting Department of the Orfalea College of Business, for both the undergraduate and graduate programs, where she has taught Introduction to Financial Accounting and a graduate level course on IPO’s, SEC Reporting, and Corporate Governance.  SiSi currently serves as an independent board member for several public and private companies, Frontier Medicines, a San Francisco based biotech company, Point B, a Seattle based national management consulting company, and CalPrivate Bank / Private Bancorp of America (OTC: PBAM), a Southern California based bank.  SiSi has chaired Audit Committees and Risk Committees during her board tenure, and also has been a member of the Compensation and Nominating & Governance Committees.  SiSi formerly served as an independent director for State Auto Financial Corporation (NASDAQ: STFC), where she was Chair of the Audit Committee through the successful sale to Liberty Mutual in 2022.

SiSi’s professional experience spans a 30-year career in public and private companies across insurance, banking, technology and professional service firms.  She is a former CFO and COO for a $2B insurance division of a Fortune 50 financial service company, and a CAO for $6B division of a global public financial services organization.  SiSi has led through successful large scale business transformations, mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, and post-acquisition integrations in complex regulatory environments.  After Pouraghabagher graduated from Cal Poly in 1994, she began her career as an Auditor at Deloitte in Orange County, California. She then went on to a variety of privately held technology companies and spent the last several years of her career as a C level executive in financial services. 

Pouraghabagher is an impactful leader who has proven success in driving accretive results, strategic execution, operational excellence, large scale business transformation, and high performing cultures. She was actively involved in several corporate governance committees, leadership boards and talent initiatives, including serving as the North American executive chair for the diversity council of a public, billion-dollar company. She has strengths in building high performing teams and motivating professionals to deliver their best outcomes, which she strives to translate to the classroom for Cal Poly’s business students. Pouraghabagher has also formerly been an active member of Orfalea’s Executive Partner Program, and mentors several business students on foundations of career readiness and success.  She also serves as member of the Dean’s Advisory Council for the Orfalea College of Business.


  • Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with concentrations in Finance and Accounting, 1994 (Magna Cum Laude)

Professional Experience:

  • Board Member and Audit Committee Chair for State Auto Financial Corporation (NASDAQ: STFC)
  • Board Member and Audit Committee Chair for Point B
  • Board Member and Audit and Risk Committee Chair for Private Bancorp of America / CalPrivate Bank (OTC: PBAM)
  • Board Member for Frontier Medicines
  • CAO of QBE
  • CFO/COO at Balboa Insurance Group (subsidiary of Bank of America)
  • Vice President, Finance & Administration at Xavor Corporation
  • CFO at Wellspring Solutions
  • CPA/Auditor at Deloitte
  • Certified Public Accountant (CPA) license granted 1997 – Active status
  • Member OCOB Dean’s Advisory Council (since Fall 2018)
  • Member OCOB Diversity & Inclusion Council (since Fall 2018)


  • 2021 Outstanding Faculty Graduate Programs, M.S. Accounting
  • 2018, 2016 Distinguished Faculty Award, Orfalea College of Business
  • 2018, 2017 Outstanding Accounting Faculty Award
  • 2018 KPMG Outstanding Educator Award
  • 2017 Deloitte Outstanding Educator Award
  • 2016 Ernst & Young Outstanding Educator Award

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