Alumni Connections - No. 23 - June 2006

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

Acies Corporation:
Bonnie Wachtel, AB ’77, MBA ’78
, has been named an independent member of the board of directors of the New York City­­–based company. It specializes in payment processing and online banking services for companies across the United States. Wachtel is vice president and general counsel of Wachtel & Co., Inc., a brokerage and investment banking firm based in Washington DC.

Jose Alvarez, ’91
, has been appointed president and CEO of the Amsterdam‑based company’s Stop & Shop/Giant Landover arena. Alvarez previously served as executive vice president of supply chain and logistics.
ASM Pacific Technology Limited:
Arnold van der Ven, ’85
, has been named a non-executive director of the company, which is incorporated in the Cayman Islands. Van der Ven became CFO and the controlling shareholder of ASM International N.V. of the Netherlands in June 2005. The company and its subsidiaries design and make equipment and materials used to produce semiconductor devices.

Bally Total Fitness Holding Corporation:
Ronald Eidell, ’82 (XP-48)
, has joined the Chicago-based company as CFO. He brings 35 years of senior financial and operating experience to Bally, the largest and only nationwide commercial operator of fitness centers in the United States.

Biophan Technologies, Inc.:
Theodore Greenberg, ’87
, will serve on the medical technology company’s board of directors and audit committee. Greenberg has more than two decades of experience in investment management, consulting, and public accounting. He currently serves as chief investment officer, CFO, secretary, and board member for Infinity Capital Group, Inc. Biophan is located in West Henrietta, New York.

Bob Evans Farms, Inc.:
Steven Davis, ’83
, has been appointed CEO of the family restaurant company, which is based in Columbus, Ohio. Since 2002, Davis had worked as president of Long John Silver’s and A&W All-American Food Restaurants for Yum! Brands, Inc. Bob Evans has 587 restaurants in 19 states, primarily located in the Midwest, mid-Atlantic, and Southeast regions. The company also runs 103 Mimi’s Café casual restaurants in 17 states, primarily in the west.

CMEA Ventures:
Rodney Altman, ’99 (XP-68)
, has joined the San Francisco–based venture capital firm as senior partner. Altman will focus on medical devices, biotechnology therapeutics, and diagnostics at the company, which invests in early- and late-stage information technology and life sciences companies. CMEA Ventures manages six funds with $771 million of capital. Altman previously founded and served as managing director of Aphelion Capital, a medical device investment fund.

Steve Langkamp, ’84
, has been hired for the new position of chief operating officer at the London-based mobile imaging company. Langkamp previously worked as chief operating officer for Magic4 Ltd., a mobile phone messaging software provider acquired in 2004 by Openwave Systems. Langkamp will help develop software strategies, particularly the evolution of Cognima’s one-click cell phone image-sharing service, ShoZu.

Dade Behring Inc.:
Lance Balk, MBA ’84, JD ’84
, has joined the Deerfield, Illinois–based clinical diagnostics company as senior vice president and general counsel. He will be responsible for the company’s legal activities globally. Balk was a partner at the law firm Kirkland & Ellis, LLP, and helped to build its corporate and securities practice in its New York office.

DFI International:
Nicholas Howland, ’03
, has joined the Washington, DC–based firm as an associate in the corporate services practice. DFI is a boutique strategic management consulting firm serving the defense, aerospace, transportation, and security industries.

Dresner Partners:
Chad Frederickson, ’04
, has been hired as investment banking associate at the middle-market investment bank in Chicago. Frederickson previously worked with the financial advisory services group at Deloitte & Touche LLP. Frederickson is a member of the CFA Institute, the CFA Society of Chicago, and the Health Care Financial Management Association.

Epstein Becker and Green:
Kevin Ryan, ’81
, is the newest senior attorney in the Chicago-based law firm’s life sciences practice. Ryan came to EBG Chicago from Burke, Warren, MacKay, & Serritella, where he dealt primarily with corporate health care and nonprofit organizations. More than 380 attorneys work for EBG in 11 offices around the world.

Matt Desch, ’86
, has joined the advisory board of the company, which provides infrastructure products for the telecommunications industry. The company is headquartered in Plano, Texas, with research and development locations in Plano, Austin, and Brazil. Desch is chairman of Airspan Networks Inc.

Goldsmith Agio Helms:
Barry Freeman, ’03
, has been admitted as a shareholder to the Minneapolis-headquartered, independently owned investment bank. Over the past nine years, he worked in mergers and acquisitions experience in such industries as agriculture, consumer products, food and beverage, and health care. He heads the firm’s Chicago office.

Halcyon Asset Management LLC:
Rajesh Kumar, ’00
, has been appointed managing principal of the $3.6 billion hedge fund based in New York.

IDT Entertainment:
Chris McGurk, ’82
, has been named to the new post of senior advisor, new ventures, in its Burbank, California office. McGurk will focus on building a new live action theatrical production and distribution arm. IDT’s first CG animated feature film, Everyone’s Hero, will premiere September 15 through a multi-picture deal with Twentieth Century Fox. The cast will feature Whoopi Goldberg, Rob Reiner, Brian Dennehy, William H. Macy, Raven Symone, and Mandy Patinkin. The firm is headquartered in Newark, New Jersey.

Jefferies & Company, Inc.:
Wyatt Ritchie, ’91
, has joined the firm’s investment banking department as a managing director. Based in New York, the firm is a subsidiary of Jefferies Group, Inc.
Paula Ponsetto, ’88
, has been named managing director for public funds at the company’s affiliate, Victory Capital Management, headquartered in Cleveland. Ponsetto will be based in San Francisco. She will be responsible for marketing and client services for Victory’s management services to public funds on the West Coast. Ponsetto previously worked as director of marketing and client services at Pacific Financial Research. Victory manages more than $56 billion, including the Victory family of mutual funds.

Linear Air:
Jeffrey Vasey, ’98
, will spearhead the air-taxi service’s sales effort in the New York region. Linear, headquartered in Lexington, Massachusetts, is expanding its metropolitan New York presence with aircraft, crew, and sales staff based at Westchester County Airport in White Plains, New York.

Newell Rubbermaid Inc.:
Steven Strobel, ’85
, has been appointed to the Atlanta-based company’s board of directors and will serve on the audit committee. Strobel is senior vice president and corporate controller of Motorola. Newell Rubbermaid markets consumer and commercial products worldwide, with 2005 sales of $6.3 billion and brands such as Sharpie, Paper Mate, Reynolds, Rolodex, Rubbermaid, Graco, Calphalon, and Goody.

Ocean Tomo, LLC:
Erin Murphy, ’00
, has been named a director in the merchant bank’s Chicago headquarters and will lead the capital fund team. Ocean Tomo specializes in understanding and leveraging intellectual property assets.

Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America:
Karen Katen, AB ’70, MBA ’74
, has been elected treasurer of the trade association’s board. She is vice chairman of Pfizer, president of Pfizer Human Health, and a member of the company’s executive committee.

PureDepth, Inc.:
Mark Kalow, ’77
, has been appointed to the Redwood Shores, California–based company’s board of directors. Kalow is managing director of Soquel Group, a strategic services business headquartered in Soquel, California. PureDepth is a display technology company.

Qualtech Systems, Inc.:
Chakrapani (Chuck) Vallurupalli, ’05
, has been promoted to president. Vallurupalli had been executive vice president and chief operating officer. Based in Wethersfield, Connecticut, the company makes diagnostic software for defense and commercial firms.

Quepasa Corporation:
Robert Stearns, ’77
, has been elected chairman and CEO of the Phoenix-headquartered company. It provides online products and services to Hispanic and Latino users throughout the United States and areas of Latin America.

RedSky Financial:
Robert Fitzsimmons, ’89
, has been appointed CFO for the Chicago-based broker dealer and futures commission merchant, which specializes in electronic trading. He will develop and implement RedSky’s strategic and financial planning.

SatCon Technology Corporation:
Daniel Dwight, ’89
, has been elected to the company’s board of directors. Dwight is director, president, and CEO of Kronos Advanced Technologies in Belmont, Massachusetts. Boston-based SatCon develops and makes electronics and motors for such markets as alternative energy, hybrid electric vehicles, grid support, high reliability electronics, and advanced power technology.

The Solae Company:
Thomas Burrows, ’96 (XP-65)
, has been named regional vice president of North America. Headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, the food science and ingredient manufacturer was formed through an alliance between Bunge Limited and DuPont.

Technology Solutions Company:
David Benjamin, ’90,
has been appointed president of the Chicago-based business. Benjamin formerly served as CEO and founding partner of Charter Consulting, Inc. TSC acquired Charter this year. TSC is a consulting firm focusing primarily on manufacturing, health care, and financial services industries.

Tumbleweed Communications Corp.:
Daniel Greenberg, ’92
, has joined the company in Redwood City, California, as chief marketing officer. Tumbleweed provides e-mail security, managed file transfer, and software products and appliances for identity validation. Its customers include nine out of the top ten financial institutions in the world.

William Blair & Company, LLC:
Matt Gooch, ’04 (EXP-9)
, a principal of the Chicago-based company, will lead the formalization of its special situations and restructuring practice, targeted at the middle market. Gooch joined the company in 1997.

Alumni to Know

Brian Baker, ’97, is leading the drive in Asia for Pimco’s new Hong Kong office, the company’s third office in Asia, according to an April 15 article in the South China Morning Post. Baker had been with the firm only one year when he was asked to take the job, which meant moving to Singapore. “I was not their first, second, third, fourth or fifth choice because I’d only been with the company for a year, but no one wanted to go to Singapore. They thought it was a career killer. They finally worked their way down to me, and I hadn’t been there long enough to have a career,” Baker said. Now bond markets are growing and the region’s economies are gaining clout in international finance circles, the newspaper said. Pimco manages about $600 billion for its clients, with about $14.5 billion of that coming from Asia, not counting Japan. That amount is expected to grow. “North Asia is an extremely important aspect of global economic growth and it’s important that Pimco and our people in the U.S. look at global markets and have insights into what is going on and into where investors are putting their money,” Baker said. “It’s critical to understanding global markets.”

Mark Carhart, ’95, and Ray Iwanowski, ’97, run a “big, secretive hedge fund at Goldman Sachs Group Inc., which, with an estimated $10 billion in assets, is the Cadillac of a fleet of alternative investments that have boosted the earnings at the blue-chip Wall Street firm,” said an April 20 article in The Wall Street Journal. “And the two men are making millions themselves.” The hedge fund, called Global Alpha, contributed to a surge in so-called “incentive fees,” or performance-related fees that Goldman reported for the first quarter, which ended in February. “In that period, the incentive fees soared to $739 million from $131 million a year earlier, helping Goldman’s earnings rise 64 percent to $2.48 billion, the biggest first-quarter gain of any major Wall Street firm,” the article said. Carhart did his doctorate work on mutual fund performance. He and Iwanowski head a 50-member team, and base their work on statistical models “first developed by a group led by Clifford Asness,” who received his MBA in 1991 and PhD in 1994. The article said Global Alpha traces its lineage to students of Eugene Fama, Robert R. McCormick Distinguished Service Professor of Finance, “known for a belief in efficient markets.” A college friend recruited Asness, a former teaching assistant of Fama’s, to join Goldman. Asness in turn recruited numerous colleagues from Chicago, the article said.

Jeby Cherian, ’02 (XP-71), heads IBM’s new Global Solutions Delivery Center in Bangalore, India. IBM will spend $200 million a year on the center to centralize work of building SOA-based software systems, which consultants can resell to customers in various industries, said a March 13 article in Information Week. “We’re moving all of that development to India,” Cherian said. Delivery centers outside India won’t be shut down, but they will be “remapped” into demo centers, the article said. “They will become more customer facing,” Cherian said.

Mark Ernst, ’86, president and CEO of H & R Block, said he was doing accounting before he knew he had a head for figures. “At 11 or 12, I had a paper route. I was responsible for having the papers delivered and collecting weekly payments. Different customers would pay you at different rates,” Ernst said in an April 16 profile about his Midwestern roots in The New York Times. “So I developed an accounting system. I had a little plastic box with drawers. Each week of the month was labeled, and I would add the payment into the drawer for that week. Out of the five or six news carriers in our small town, I was the only person who didn’t prespend money that wasn’t there.” Ernst also spoke about his school days, working full time in Des Moines, Iowa, Friday through Monday, then driving six or seven hours to attend class at the GSB on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

Leo Higdon Jr., ’72, has been named the tenth president of Connecticut College. Higdon is a former investment banker who stepped down as vice chairman of Salomon Brothers in 1993 to pursue a career in higher education. At Salomon Brothers, “he initiated and executed four transactions recognized by Institutional Investor as ‘Deals of the Year,’” said an April 10 article in Connecticut College CamelWeb. Higdon said he is looking forward to the new position. “Liberal arts education teaches students to analyze, synthesize and communicate complex information—exactly the skills they need in a globalized society.”

Scott Kapnick, JD’84, MBA ’85, co-CEO of Goldman Sachs International, moved to London last year to help take charge of the office, according to an April 19 article in the Financial Times. “He helped build the bank’s operations in Germany in the early 1990s, became head of the Frankfurt office in 1997, and recently was a co-head of Goldman’s investment banking division,” the article said.

Mick Solimene, ’86, a managing director at Giuliani Capital Advisors LLC, said the Chicago headquarters of the firm started by former New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani is growing. The Chicago office has expanded from 39 employees when it opened in December 2004 to 44 employees today and is “looking to add a couple of partners over the next several months,” Solimene said in a Chicago Tribune article April 21. “We’re looking to expand all of our offices and add both managing directors and professionals at all levels.” While Chicago is the largest office of the firm, which does restructuring, mergers and acquisitions, and capital markets advising, it also has offices in Atlanta, Los Angeles, New York, and Troy, Michigan. The 20,000-square-foot Chicago office is located in the Sears Tower. Solimene said Giuliani himself stops by a few times a year.

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