Alumni Connections - No. 100 - November 2012

Alumni Connections is a sampling of alumni news. Alumni on the Move, Alumni to Know, CEO Watch: Taking the Lead, and CEO Watch: Making Headlines share news gleaned from media online and in print, including news submitted to Chicago Booth Magazine. Submit information about yourself or fellow alumni to

Alumni on the Move

Affinion Group Inc.: Mark Gibbens, '93, has joined as CFO. The marketing firm is based in Stamford, Connecticut.

AOL Inc.: Hugh Johnston, '87, has been appointed to the board of directors. The online media giant is headquartered in New York. Johnston is executive vice president and CFO of PepsiCo Inc.

Arianne Resources Inc.: Pierre Lortie, '74, has been appointed chair of the board. Based in Saguenay, Quebec, Canada, the company mines for phosphate-titanium deposits. Lortie is senior business advisor at Canadian law firm Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP.

AutoNavi Holdings Ltd.: Jun Jin, AM '97, MBA '99, has been appointed vice president and chief marketing officer. One of China's leading digital map and content companies, AutoNavi is based in Beijing.

Crowell & Moring LLP: Eric Edwards, '10 (XP-79), has joined as public policy group partner in the Washington, DC office. The international law firm also has offices in New York; Los Angeles; San Francisco; Orange County, California; Anchorage, Alaska; London; and Brussels.

Ecolab Inc.: Thomas Handley, '81, has been promoted to president and chief operating officer from president of global food and beverage and Asia Pacific, Latin America. Based in St. Paul, Minnesota, the company makes cleaning products for hospitals and restaurants.

Gabelli Securities Inc.: Joel Torrance, '02, has joined in the alternative investment fund business. A subsidiary of GAMCO Investors Inc., the New York-based firm invests in stocks and hedge funds.

Harcourt Investment Consulting AG: Claire Liou, '03,has joined as product specialist, alternative investments, based in Hong Kong. The investment firm is a member of the Zurich-based Vontobel Group.

Healthland Inc.: Patrick Spangler, '94, has been named senior vice president and CFO. The Minneapolis-based information technology company serves rural hospitals.

Illinois State Board of Education: Curt Bradshaw, '01, has been appointed to a three-year term as a board member. Bradshaw, senior vice president and head of product development, Nuveen Investments Inc., has served on a Naperville, Illinois school board for seven years, including three as president.

Ingen Technologies Inc.: Richard Campbell, '79 (XP-42), has joined the board of directors. The medical device manufacturer is headquartered in Riverside, California. Campbell is president of RC Product Development and Engineering. The company helps clients take products from concept to production, and is based in Riverside County, California.

KeyedIn Solutions Inc.: John Joliet, '97, has joined the board of directors of the Minneapolis-based software and consulting company. Joliet is managing director of global investment bank Moelis & Company, headquartered in New York.

Lakewood Photography: Greta Jacobs Mee, '95, has become owner and president. The League City, Texas-based studio specializes in portrait, wedding, commercial, aerial, interior, and exterior photography.

Linden Capital Partners LLC: William Drehkoff, '03, has been promoted to partner. He had rejoined Linden in 2009. The Chicago-based middle-market private equity firm invests in the health care industry.

Miller Chicago Real Estate: Andrea Miller, '04, founded the Chicago-based commercial real estate brokerage company in September. She serves as principal.

Northern Technologies International Corp.: Konstantin Von Falkenhausen, '99 (EXP-4), has been elected to the board of directors. The company uses green technologies to make products for consumers and industry. It is headquartered in Circle Pines, Minnesota. Falkenhausen is a partner at B Capital Partners AG, an investment advisory boutique focused on infrastructure and clean energy.

State of Oregon: John Skjervem, '91, has been appointed chief investment officer to oversee the state's pension investment team.

PineBridge Investments LLC: Arun Kumar, '03 (AXP-2), has been appointed chief operating officer of the Middle East unit, based in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia. The money management firm is headquartered in New York.

SingleHop LLC: Ted Tavrides, '02, has joined as channel sales manager. The cloud-hosting company is based in Chicago.

SoCore Energy LLC: Robert Scheuermann, '99, has joined as CFO. Headquartered in Chicago, the solar energy company focuses on multisite retailers and industrial clients.

TechCXO: James Condon, '80, has been named partner, finance, operations, technology, and venture capital/private equity in the new Northern Virginia/Washington, DC office. The technology consulting company is headquartered in Atlanta.

University of Maryland Robert H. Smith School of Business: Elana Fine, '02, has been promoted to managing director from associate director at the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship.

Alumni to Know

Colin Camerer, MBA '79, PhD '81, is described as "one of the prime movers in the new field" of neuroeconomics in a September 24 article in the Chronicle of Higher Education. "I would say that neuroeconomics is about 90 percent neuroscience and 10 percent economics," said Camerer, California Institute of Technology professor of behavioral finance and economics. "We've taken a lot of mathematical models from economics to help describe what we see happening in the brain. But economists have been a lot slower to use any of our ideas." By examining which neurons fire during particular decision-making, scientists are coming up with theories about why people make the economic decisions they do.

"Through experiments, researchers have shown that when people reject a low, unfairly priced offer, a part of the brain associated with disgust kicks in," the article said, "but that when they view the offer as fair, a brain region linked to reasoning seems more active. Researchers also have tackled the puzzle of 'overbidding,' when people pay too much for something. An area called the striatum, associated with rewards, is more active when people bid high in an auction because they fear losing an item, but is not as active when they think they have a good chance of winning. So fear of losing may be key to things like overvalued stocks."

While economists have been slow to sign on to the value of neuroscience, the idea that economics can't be helped by learning how the brain computes value is "really a crazy bet," Camerer said in the article.

Mountain-climbing Keith Breslauer, '88, knows how to scale the slopes of a distressed economy. As managing director and senior partner of Patron Capital Advisers LLC, a pan-European, London-based private equity firm focusing on real estate, Breslauer discussed in a September 17 Pensions & Investments article where his firm is finding opportunities. "In the leisure space, we bought a bunch of hotels out of bankruptcy from Von Essen, and we bought a bunch more properties for our (Generator Hostels) business," Breslauer said. "We also bought 48 gas stations in the U.K. ... and on the credit side, we teamed up with TPG and bought this huge (commercial mortgage-backed security) distressed deal." Breslauer co-chairs Booth's Global Advisory Board Europe, Middle East, and Africa Cabinet.

Andrew Karolyi, MBA '87, PhD '89, was slated to give the keynote speech at the Northern Finance Association conference in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada in September. Karolyi is faculty codirector of Emerging Markets Institute and a finance professor at Cornell University. He is "an internationally-known scholar in the area of investment management, with a specialization in the study of international financial markets," according to the association

Ronald Rubin, '85, helped create the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, which analyzes the operations of banks and financial institutions and which was established under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010. Now as a new member of the law firm Hunton and Williams LLP, Rubin "has put himself in a spot to help companies that have caught the agency's eye," said a September 21 Wall Street Journal article.

Chicago State University Foundation recognized Valerie Van Meter, '04 (XP-73), as its corporate honoree on September 20. Van Meter is CFO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

CEO Watch: Taking the Lead

Laura Brege, '82
President and CEO
Nodality Inc.

The biotechnology company is based in South San Francisco, California.

Thomas Doctoroff, '89
J. Walter Thompson (JWT) Asia Pacific

In a company restructuring, Doctoroff recently was promoted from North Asia director and Greater China CEO at the New York-headquartered advertising giant.

John Workman, '85
Omnicare Inc.

The pharmaceutical company is headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio. It offers pharmacy, consulting, and data management services for skilled nursing, assisted living, and other chronic care institutions. Workman had served as interim CEO.

CEO Watch: Making Headlines

William Conway, '74
Cofounder and Co-CEO
Carlyle Group

Conway is giving away $1 billion, starting with $55 million in grants going mostly toward scholarships and help with tuition for nursing students, Catholic school children, and a job training program, said a September 26 Washington Post column. "I want to give away the money. I don't want to die with it. I want the money to be used well," Conway said. After a Post column garnered 2,500 suggestions from the public on ways Conway could donate, Conway decided on his own that he could do the most good by helping to fund education and training for low-income people for existing jobs, the article said.

David Kirchhoff, '94
Weight Watchers International Inc.

When he joined the company in 2000 as senior vice president, Kirchhoff set about following its programs and transformed himself by losing 40 pounds. He also has overseen the company's transformation since becoming chief in 2007, said a September 8 Barron's article. The company's image has shaped up, with celebrity spokespeople such as Jennifer Hudson and Charles Barkley. " also has become a powerhouse, generating $400 million in revenue last year, and a 30 percent increase in sales in the first half of 2012," the article said.

David Vinca, '05
Founder and CEO
eSpark Learning

The online program helps students improve through personal evaluation of their performance followed by selection of educational apps. The Chicago-based start-up has garnered $5.7 million Series A funding, bringing its total funding to nearly $7 million, said a September 2 TechCrunch article. By using eSpark, students learn at two to five times the typical pace, Vinca said.

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