Alumni Connections - No. 98 - September 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

Americas Commercial Transportation Research Co., LLC: Dave Fluharty, MBA '75, AM '78, has joined as senior staff statistician. Based in Columbus, Indiana, the company publishes data, marketing information, and forecasting about new and used commercial vehicles.

Aflac, Inc.: Byron Matthews, '05 (XP-74), has been named senior vice president of sales distribution. The insurance company is headquartered in Columbus, Georgia.

Akela Pharma, Inc.: Seth Lemler, '84, has been named chair of the board. The company is based in Austin, Texas, and is the parent company of drug developer PharmaForm. Lemler runs Lemler Capital Advisors, LLC, which is based in the New York area.

Archer Daniels Midland Co.: Marschall Smith, '87 (XP-56), has been appointed senior vice president, general counsel, and secretary. Headquartered in Decatur, Illinois, the company makes food products, animal feed, and other products used in the industrial and energy sectors out of corn, cocoa, and oilseeds.

Ares Management, LLC.: Blair Jacobson, '99, has joined the European debt team as a managing director in the London office. He will focus on originating and executing senior, unitranche, and mezzanine debt investments. The investment firm is headquartered in Los Angeles.

Avaya, Inc.: Mark Wilson, AM '95, MBA '95, has joined as chief marketing officer. Headquartered in Basking Ridge, New Jersey, the company provides business communications systems, contact centers, and networking and related services to companies around the world.

Battery Ventures: Chelsea Stoner, '03, has been promoted to partner from principal. The firm invests in technology companies. Battery Ventures has headquarters in Waltham, Massachusetts, and Menlo Park, California.

Bank of New York Mellon Corp.: Jeff Mortimer, '92, has been named director of investment strategy for its wealth management group. The global financial services firm is headquartered in New York.

BP, PLC: Andres Guevara, '05, has become upstream business development manager based in Rio de Janeiro, which Guevara says is the company's main exploration growth area. Guevara had been European gas origination team leader. The petroleum company's international headquarters are in London.

Breg, Inc.: Stuart Essig, MBA '87, PhD '92, has been appointed chair of the board. Based in Carlsbad, California, the company makes sports medicine products. Essig is the former CEO of Integra Life Sciences Corp., a medical device company headquartered in Plainsboro, New Jersey.

Career Education Corp.: Jason Friesen, '94, has been named senior vice president, chief university education officer. The Schaumburg, Illinois - based company runs postsecondary education schools that offer bachelor's degree, associate degree, and nondegree programs.

Chicago Board of Education: Todd Babbitz, '04, has been appointed chief transformation officer to oversee the newly created office of strategy management. The Chicago Board of Education is responsible for governance, organizational, and financial oversight of Chicago Public Schools, the third largest school district in the United States.

City of Chicago, Office of the Mayor: Steven Koch, MBA '82, JD '82, has been named deputy mayor in the Rahm Emanuel administration, effective September 4. Koch was Credit Suisse's co-chair of mergers and acquisitions.

Delcath Systems, Inc.: Laura Brege, '82, has been named to the board of directors. The specialty pharmaceutical and medical device company is based in New York. Brege most recently served as executive vice president of corporate affairs at Onyx Pharmaceuticals, Inc., which has headquarters in South San Francisco, California.

Duff & Phelps Corp.: Mark Calzolano, '98, has joined the firm's investment banking practice as a managing director focused on mergers and acquisitions. The financial advisory and investment banking firm is headquartered in New York.

Fiesta Restaurant Group, Inc.: Lynn Schweinfurth, '93, has been appointed vice president and CFO. Based in Miami, the company runs and franchises the Pollo Tropical and Taco Cabana restaurants.

Franklin Covey Co.: Michael Fung, '86 (XP-55), has been appointed to the board of directors. Based in Salt Lake City, the consulting company also offers planning products and training. Fung retired as senior vice president and CFO of Wal-Mart US in February.

GATX Corp.: Paul Yovovich, AB '74, MBA '75, has been appointed to the board of directors. The railcar leasing company is based in Chicago. Yovovich is president, principal, and cofounder of the private equity firm Lake Capital, also based in Chicago.

Gavin/Solmonese, LLC: Wayne Weitz, '89, has joined as senior director in the Philadelphia office. Headquartered in Wilmington, Delaware, the firm offers corporate consulting, restructuring, and public affairs strategy.

Gleacher & Company Securities, Inc.: Samir Shah, '87, has joined as managing director in the MBS and rates division of the New York headquarters. The firm is the broker dealer subsidiary of Gleacher & Company, Inc. The company formed when Broadpoint Securities Group acquired Gleacher Partners, founded by Eric Gleacher, '67. He remains chair of the board and is the namesake of Gleacher Center.

Home Loan Servicing Solutions, Ltd.: Bryon Stevens, '99, has been named senior vice president of investor relations and capital markets. Based in George Town, Cayman Islands, the company acquires mortgage servicing assets.

The Hovde Group: Brian Marks, '10, has rejoined as vice president in the Chicago investment banking group in a new office that recently opened in the city. The financial advisory and investment banking firm is headquartered in Inverness, Illinois.

Imation Corp.: Richard Parran, '81, has joined as vice president of corporate development. Headquartered in Oakdale, Minnesota, the company offers information storage and data security. It also owns the brands TDK and Memorex.

Istithmar World: Sekhar Bahadur, LAB '77, AB '81, MBA '83, has been appointed to the board of directors. The global investment company, a subsidiary of the holding company Dubai World, is headquartered in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Bahadur is the former managing director and vice chairman, financial sponsors group, of Deutsche Bank AG, London.

Komercni banka: Pavel Cejka, '08 (EXP-13), executive director for strategy and finance, has been appointed to the board of directors. With headquarters in Prague, the bank serves Central and Eastern Europe.

Logan Resources, Ltd.: Richard Grayston, MBA '69, PhD '71, has been appointed to the board of directors. The mineral exploration company specializes in Canadian mineral properties, prospecting there for precious and base metals and uranium. It is headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies: Chris Vogt, '06 (XP-75), has joined as director of equity. Based in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, the organization comprises three grant-making agencies: the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation, the Anne Ray Charitable Trust, and the Akaloa Resource Foundation.

Matra Petroleum, PLC: Vladimir Lenski, '98 (EXP-3), and Ekaterina Sapozhnikova, '11 (EXP-16), have been appointed to the board of directors. The company explores for oil in Russia. Lenski, who was named managing director, will run the firm's London office, its headquarters. Sapozhnikova was named finance director.

MTS Health Partners, LP: Vince Lambert, '98, has joined the New York-based health care merchant bank as senior managing director.

Navigators Management Company, Inc.: Mark Yunque, '82, has joined as chief actuary and senior vice president. The firm is the US underwriting agency and subsidiary of The Navigators Group, Inc., an international specialty insurance holding company. It is headquartered in Rye Brook, New York.

New York State Common Retirement Fund: Vicki Fuller, '81, has been named chief investment officer of the $150 billion pension fund for state and local government employees.

Northern Trust Corp.: Carl Tannenbaum, AB '81, MBA '84, has been appointed chief economist. The investment bank is headquartered in Chicago.

Pacific Crest Securities, Inc.: John Vinh, '99, has been named senior research analyst, joining the equity research team. Headquartered in Portland, Oregon, the investment banking firm focuses on the technology sector.

Peirce College: Lisa Walker, '96, has been elected to the board of trustees. The four-year accredited college is located in Philadelphia. Walker is vice president of open innovation on the global research and development team at Campbell Soup Co., headquartered in Camden, New Jersey.

Pacific Investment Management Company, LLC (PIMCO): Jennifer Strickland, AB '91, MBA '97,has joined as executive vice president and senior alternatives specialist. The global pension and investment company is based in Newport Beach, California.

PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP (PwC US): Kristofer Swanson, '95, has joined as partner in the US forensic services practice. He will serve as a Midwest market team leader. The tax and advisory services firm is headquartered in London and New York.

Quaker Chemical Corp.: Margaret Loebl, '86, has been named vice president, CFO, and treasurer. The chemical company is based in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania.

Richmond Community College: Anthony Clarke, '93, has joined as vice president of instruction and chief academic officer. The college is located in Hamlet, North Carolina.

Roland Berger Strategy Consultants: Bruce Liu, '01, has joined as partner in the pharmaceuticals and health-care competence center in Shanghai. Owned by about 240 partners with offices around the world, the consultancy is headquartered in Munich.

Sandler O'Neill + Partners, LP: Christopher Donohoe, '93, has joined as managing director, based in the firm's New York headquarters. The investment banking firm focuses on financial services companies.

Seattle University: Constance Kanter, '83, has been appointed CFO and vice president for finance and business affairs. The university is a Jesuit Catholic institution.

Silver Tail Systems, Inc.: Paul Farmer, '82, has joined as CFO. The firm offers web security, behavioral analytics, and session intelligence, with the aim of protecting customers from online fraud. It has headquarters in Menlo Park, California.

Tata Global Beverages, Ltd.: Darius Pandole, '92,has joined the board as an independent director. The company has several brands, including teas and coffee. It is headquartered in Kolkata, West Bengal, India. Pandole is a partner at the private equity firm New Silk Route Advisors, Pvt. Ltd., which has offices in New York; Mumbai and Bangalore, India; and Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Waste Management, Inc.: James Fish, '98, has been promoted to executive vice president and CFO from senior vice president of the Eastern group, effective upon the completion of second quarter reporting. The waste collection and recycling company is headquartered in Houston.

William & Mary Board of Visitors: Kendrick Ashton, MBA '04, JD '04, has been named a member of the board. The College of William and Mary is located in Williamsburg, Virginia. Kendrick is a former star football player for the college. He is a director at Perella Weinberg Partners.

Alumni to Know

Kurt Bredenbeck, '86, founder of Quest Hotels, Ltd., London, has announced the sale of the UK's Hoxton Hotel, an independent luxury-budget hotel, to Ennismore Capital, a boutique investment firm based in London. In a June press release, Bredenbeck said he had created the hotel "in what at the time was my local neighborhood parking lot."

Dane Claussen '86, has been inducted into the American Philatelic Society's Writers Unit Hall of Fame for lifetime achievements in philatelic writing and research. Claussen is the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada and a former journalism and mass communication professor. He also is a former newspaper publisher and CEO. He has written and edited for several stamp collecting publications. He has won dozens of medals at national and international philatelic exhibitions for his stamp collecting editing and writing. Claussen said he is one of only about 150 writers unit inductees since the unit began in 1967.

Could Sataza be the Chipotle of Indian food, offered in a fast-casual atmosphere? Ali Jetha, '11, and Nadim Vasanji, '11, are counting on it. "I'd say the reason we chose to pursue Sataza is, it truly resonated with a passion he and I both have," Vasanj i said in a Crain's Chicago Business story published June 29 in Chicago Real Estate Daily. The two founded Masala Wala, LLC to lease property in the Presidential Towers complex in Chicago for their first Sataza restaurant, slated to open soon. "We've seen in Europe and Canada that Indian is mainstream, and I don't see any reason it can't be in the US, as well," Vasanji said. The article said "sat" means seven in Hindi, symbolic of the number of main spices in the dishes that will be served, as well as the number of main energy centers, or chakras, in the body. And "taza" means fresh. Dishes at Sataza will start with a base of a wrap, rice bowl, or salad, which then can be topped with chicken, beef, cheese, or chickpeas, followed by a selection of toppings and chutneys. Jethra said the two have received enough investment funds for the first store "with an agreement for further funding once we can prove the concept."

Rizwan Kadir, '97, discussed how Muslims are far from a monolithic group in a Q&A published June 22 by the Glenview, Illinois Patch. Calling Muslim Americans the "proverbial new kids on the block," Kadir said, "I wish more people in the community knew that the American Muslims, not much unlike the rest of the Americans, are not monolithic in any sense; we are of varying ethnic backgrounds (including blacks, who have been here for centuries, and converts); we come from a myriad of political and social backgrounds, and we are your neighbors, your employees, your bosses, clients, classmates, and fellow citizens." Kadir was recently appointed chairman of the Muslim Community Center's school board for its full-time school. The community center is located in Morton Grove, Illinois.

Michael Zimpfer, '98 (EXP-3), has cowritten a book called Aus Dem Koma Zurück an die Universität, which translates to Back from a Coma at the University. The book tells the story of a patient who comes back to life from near death. It analyzes physical and psychological limits, and the role of the doctor. Zimpfer is on leave from the Medical University of Vienna, Department of Anesthesiology, General Intensive Care and Pain Control, Vienna General Hospital. He also is chairman for adult critical care at King Faisal Specialist Hospital & Research Centre in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

CEO Watch: Taking the Lead

Brian Mukherjee, '96
Blinkx, PLC

The video search engine company is headquartered in San Francisco.

David Westman, '89
Congress of Neurological Surgeons

The educational and advocacy society is headquartered in Schaumburg, Illinois.

CEO Watch: Making Headlines

Sinuhe Arroyo, '11 (EXP-16)

The software vendor announced July 1 that Sony DADC is now a customer, allowing Playence to enter the media and entertainment market. Playence has offices in Madrid, San Francisco, London, and Innsbruck, Austria.

David Booth, '71
Cofounder and Co-CEO
Dimensional Fund Advisors, Inc.

A new US Labor Department rule requires 401(k) plans to clearly spell out fees in their reports to investors. Dimensional Fund Advisors is taking advantage of the rule, said a June 25 CNNMoney. online article published from the July 12 issue of Fortune magazine. "It's going to be one of our main engines of growth," Booth said. When founding the investment firm, Booth drew on lessons he'd learned at his eventual namesake about efficient market theory, the article said. The theory proposes that because individuals are unlikely to outperform the stock market over the long term, their best chance is to pay less to own stocks. "By selling index funds that charge an average 0.31 percent in fees through a network of 2,600 advisers, Dimensional in theory gives clients that chance," the article said. "They've responded. Dimensional's assets have skyrocketed to $250 billion, from just $30 billion in 2002. And Booth says the new industry focus on fees has already begun to drive more business his way. The company's 401(k) group attracted a record $350 million in January. Dimensional expects the division to triple its $18 billion in assets over the next five years."

Jason Brown, '09
Cofounder and CEO

The 4-year-old start-up supplies solar energy to California homes. "Solar presents a huge opportunity," Brown said in the Wall Street Journal's Market Watch on June 25. "It's inevitable because it's flat-out cheaper (to build) than growing our current power infrastructure." The alternative energy industry is likely to draw investment dollars for many years to come, he said, as the energy industry changes from the old power plant and grid model to one where energy is generated in smaller units close to where the power is being used. "It's a huge opportunity not only for me but for the next generation," Brown said. "Being an entrepreneur gives you the thrill of Wall Street risk and reward, but the freedom to follow your passion. I'm passionate about renewable energy because it allows me to be a pioneer. It is like driving the spikes in the first railroad."

Bob Gillespie, '11
Cofounder and CEO
InContext Solutions, Inc.

The company was selected for Lead411's list of "Hottest (Tech) Companies in the Midwest." The company offers online 3-D virtual reality scenarios so that firms can see what changes will be like before they are made in reality. "Even during tough macroeconomic conditions, we have continued to hire talented staff and add high-profile clients," Gillespie said in a PRWeb article in Virtual-Strategy Magazine. "Our virtual store software and service offerings are resonating in the marketplace with the biggest brands in the world. Finding ourselves ranked on this year's Lead411 'Hottest Companies in the Midwest' list is an honor and validates our strategic direction as we continue to aggressively expand our business."

Mark Hoplamazian, '89
President, Director, and CEO
Hyatt Corp.

The success of Hoplamazian's work to build the Hyatt hotel company and take it public out of Pritzker family private ownership is chronicled in Barron's "CEO Spotlight" on July 14. Tom Pritzker, MBA '76, JD '76, executive chairman of the board of directors, had offered Hoplamazian the interim top job. Hoplamazian told Barron's that within a few months of focusing on the CEO search, he realized how "amazingly special" the CEO spot was, given "this amazing brand that had been around for 50 years and you had an amazing culture and great people around the world." Hoplamazian became chief in 2006; in 2009 the hotel company went public. Barron's said that Hoplamazian "has overseen its subsequent growth into a multibrand lodging concern with $4 billion of annual revenue and a $6 billion stock-market capitalization."

Jon Morris, '05
Founder and CEO
Rise Interactive

The Chicago-based digital marketing agency was the subject of an Illinois Technology Association "ITA Spotlight" column updated on June 26. When asked what makes Rise special, Morris responded: "Rise Interactive stands out from the competition in two main ways: our analytical staff and our customized reporting. In our hiring process, each candidate is required to take an analytical exam in order to move into the next steps of the interview process. Rise also has customized reporting for each one of our clients, in order to effectively analyze the pertinent information to drive strategy towards ultimately maximizing ROI."

Submit information about yourself or fellow alumni to