Alumni Connections - No. 20 - March 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

Bryan Cave Phoenix:
Debra Winiarski, '04 (XP-73), has joined as counsel in commercial litigation and class and derivative actions, with a focus on professional liability, insurance, securities, and other corporate cases. Previously Winiarski was equity partner for D'Ancona & Pflaum and for Seyfarth, Shaw, Fairweather & Geraldson in Chicago.

The Cannery:
Mike Wokosin, '96, has been appointed director of technology. The Los Angeles-based company helps other businesses develop and drive their brands. Previously, Wokosin worked as director, business development and delivery, West Coast, for the Acquity Group, an e-business consultancy based in Chicago.

Catalyst Acquisition Group, LLC:
Shaen Bernhardt von Bernhardi, '05, has been named senior vice president of mergers and acquisitions for the New York-based private equity firm. The company focuses on leveraged buyouts.

Catalytic Inc.:
Dave Burow, '79, has been appointed president and chief executive officer of the company, which makes tools to simplify and speed up signal processing in the electronic systems and semiconductor industry. The company is based in Palo Alto, California. Burow previously was a senior vice president at Synopsys Inc.

Circle Peak Capital LLC:
Holbrook M. Forusz, '05, has been promoted to vice president of the New York-based private equity firm. He had joined the company as a senior associate in June 2005. The firm invests in established small- and mid-cap private companies.

Commercial Vehicle Group:
Bill Haushalter, '82, has been named vice president and general manager of the company's electrical/mechanical division. The company, based in New Albany, Ohio, supplies interior systems and other products for cabs of commercial vehicles, including products to ensure vision safety.

Chris Niederman, '89, has been appointed a regional vice president of sales. The company, based in Colorado Springs, Colorado, specializes in systems management technology, serving eight of the world's largest 25 companies.

DivX, Inc.:
Christopher McGurk, '82, has joined the video technology company's board of directors. McGurk most recently served as vice chairman and chief operating officer of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. DivX is known for its video compression technologies that allow full-length films to fit on a CD or be delivered over broadband connections. DivX Press Release.

The Hadley School for the Blind:
Jon R. Lind Jr., '89, has been named to the school's board of trustees. The school, located in Winnetka, Illinois, serves more than 10,000 blind and visually impaired students throughout the United States and in 100 countries. Lind, a Winnetka resident, does municipal trading of high yield and distressed securities with Raymond James and Associates Inc.

Huron Consulting Group:
Kevin McGowan, '94, has been promoted to managing director in the company's performance improvement practice. The Chicago-based firm helps clients address challenges arising from litigation, disputes, investigations, regulation, and financial distress. It also works to improve companies' overall efficiency and effectiveness.

MacroChem Corporation:
Howard Fischer, '90, has been appointed to the board of directors of the specialty pharmaceutical company located in Lexington, Massachusetts. Fischer is a managing director of SCO Securities LLC. Previously he served as an investment manager and research analyst for Silverback Asset Management's life sciences fund.

Martek Biosciences:
Polly B. Kawalek, '78, has been elected to the Columbia, Maryland-based company's board of directors. Kawalek retired as president of Quaker Foods in 2004. Martek develops, manufactures, and sells products produced naturally from microalgae and fungi, including specialty nutritional oils for infant formula; supplements and food ingredients; and fluorescent markers for diagnostics, rapid miniaturized screening, and gene and protein detection.

O'Charley's Inc.:
Jeff D. Warne, '94, has been chosen new concept president for the Nashville, Tennessee-based company's flagship brand, O'Charley's restaurants. Warne most recently served as president and CEO of Pick Up Stix, a casual Asian restaurant operated by Carlson Companies. He was charged with overall brand management, including restaurant operations, franchise operations, marketing, real estate development, commissary operations, finance, human resources, and training.

Patrick Kelliher, '95, has been appointed vice president of finance at the company that provides online marketing services and technology to analyze Web data for e-commerce companies. The company is headquartered in Orem, Utah. Kelliher has held executive finance and accounting positions at companies that include Abbot Laboratories, 3Com, Inari, and Cadence DesignSystems.

Quantitative Services Group LLC:
Current MBA student Kirk Wang has joined the Naperville, Illinois-based company as a quantitative analyst. The independently owned consulting firm analyzes equity.

RenaissanceRe Holdings Ltd.:
Todd R. Fonner, '93, has been promoted to senior vice president of the company, which provides reinsurance and insurance worldwide. Fonner had served as vice president and treasurer upon joining the Pembroke, Bermuda-based company in 2001.

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd:
Vance Johnston, '96, has been named vice president of corporate strategy. The company, based in Miami, Florida, operates 28 cruise ships and also offers land tours in Alaska, Canada, and Europe. Johnston, former vice president of strategic planning and development for Officemax, Inc., will be responsible for strategic planning, corporate development, and other major initiatives at Royal Carribbean.

Ryder System, Inc.:
Juliet Johansson, '98, has been appointed vice president of marketing, Fleet Management Solutions, the transportation company's largest business segment. She will be in charge of developing strategies and products to further penetrate growth markets for Fleet Management Solutions, which serves more than 12,000 customers in 850 locations with more than 145,000 vehicles in the United States. Johansson worked at McKinsey before joining Ryder, headquartered in Miami, Florida.

The Singapore Exchange:
Robert W. van Zwieten, '96 (XP-65), has been named chief financial officer and executive vice president of corporate services group. Before coming to SGX, van Zwieten worked at Lehman Brothers in New York.

Staples, Inc.:
Pete Howard, AB '80, MBA '86, has been appointed senior vice president of Staples Business Delivery, where he will oversee overall operations for the website and catalog services. Howard had worked as vice president of sales and marketing for Staples Business Delivery since joining the firm, headquartered in Framingham, Massachusetts, in 2000.

Todd Tillemans, '92, has been named vice president/general manager, U.S. Skin Business. One of the world's largest consumer products companies, Unilever is headquartered in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey. Tillemans previously served as Unilever's vice president and general manager, U.S. Deodorants Business.

Alumni to Know

Rodney Anderson, '92, and his father, a former chief executive of Kemper Financial, opened the first Panchero's Mexican Grill the year Rodney received his MBA. Today the chain of fast-casual Mexican food restaurants has grown to 37 stores, with two more set to open, according to a St. Petersburg Times article posted on the newspaper's Web site January 9. "I loved Mexican food, but another attraction was my classmates didn't see the opportunity," said Anderson. Panchero's allows customers to watch soft flour tortillas being formed from dough made on site at its 70-seat restaurants.

Jim Barr, '67, chief executive of TDS Telecom, oversees a rapidly changing industry, with traditional land-line phones giving way to fiber optic networks and Internet connections. "The change has been accelerating," Barr told in a January 6 article. "It's exciting." He said the 1996 Federal Telecommunications Act, which allowed for local competition, changed everything. "The regulation in connection with that legislation has been awful," Barr said. "It's just been so completely unpredictable...It's like playing a football game, having a game plan, and then learning halfway through the first quarter that you can't throw anymore-that passing is illegal." TDS, which started as a collective of small-town phone companies, has quintupled in size during Barr's tenure and is making the move to providing broadband service, the article said.

William Cunningham, AM '82, MBA '83, senior investment advisor with Creative Investment Research Inc. in Minneapolis, and a specialist on minority-owned banks, predicts that three small black-owned banks in New Orleans in an area hit hard by hurricane Katrina will end up merging with each other or another bank within the next two years to better survive. "Given the damage that the region has experienced, consolidation is a good idea and will be something that happens," Cunningham said in a December 13 article in American Banker. The three banks are Liberty Bank and Trust Co., Dryades Savings Bank, and United Bank and Trust Co. The article says: "They have branches that remain closed, employees who have scattered, and customers they cannot contact." In a January 17 article in the New York Times, Cunningham said it will take at least the first six months of 2006 for the true range of the hurricane's damage to be revealed in the banks' books. "Liberty is in the strongest position of all the black-owned banks in New Orleans, but basically I've adopted a wait-and-see attitude for all three," Cunningham said.

John P. Davidson III, '84, is returning to the Chicago Mercantile Exchange as managing director and chief corporate development officer, according to a Chicago Tribune article January 10. Davidson last worked at the Merc from 1983 to 1993, leaving as senior vice president in charge of the clearinghouse operations and financial oversight, and having helped develop and implement various applications of the Merc's electronic trading system, the article said. On February 6, Davidson was to begin leading a team that will focus on product research and business development. Davidson most recently served as managing director and operations officer for Morgan Stanley's global operations and services division.

Chet Gougis, '76, copresident of Duff and Phelps, discusses his firm's growth in a column January 24 in the Chicago Sun-Times. Duff and Phelps quadrupled in size last year by consolidating with the Corporate Value Consultants group of Standard & Poor's. The growth comes as independent opinions are more and more being sought for mergers and acquisitions, private placements, financial reporting valuation, and ESOP and ERISA plans. Objective appraisals of such deals used to be the work of large accounting firms, but the field is opening up because CPA firms no longer are allowed to give opinions on their own audit clients' transactions. "The accountants apply book value rules, but we must be sensitive to the market value of an asset that doesn't have a visible market value," Gougis said.

Michael Guerrieri, '05, credits business school with giving him the confidence to take the leap from being a senior management executive in sales to launching two ventures as an entrepreneur, said in a January article licensed from BusinessWeek online. Guerrieri is president and cofounder of Fresh Life Foods, a prospective purveyor of healthy snacks in vending machines, and CEO of OnPar Technologies, which is working to automate pharmacies' prescription refill processes. In business school, Guerrieri said, one important lesson was learning how to ask for help, by following the examples of alumni, classmates, and professors. He said he also took additional courses to get the most out of his MBA experience.

Paul Idzik, '85, chief operating officer, Barclays, is credited with shaking up the stodgy image of British banking in a profile in the January 22 Independent in the United Kingdom. "Idzik's job at Barclays is essentially to change the culture of the fusty old high street clearing bank and bring in and promote top talent-though, typically of a former consultant, his description of this takes a few minutes. And he doesn't mind if he rubs a few people up the wrong way to achieve them," the profile said. Idzik himself is quoted as saying: "A lot of what we are doing requires leadership, and leadership is not a popularity contest. There are people who are not comfortable with change, but over time these waves settle down and people start to enjoy swimming in the newly defined pool." Idzik came to Barclays via Booz Allen Hamilton, where he was a partner, "brought in to advise on the restructuring of Barclays' underperforming investment bank, BZW, in the late 1990s," the article said. Idzik had then been hired as COO of a new investment bank, Barclays Capital, that emerged as a result.

Gary Mecklenburg, '70, will retire in September as chief executive of Northwestern Memorial Hospital. "During a period when hospitals across the country suffered hard times and some succumbed to mergers, Mecklenburg presided over impressive growth at Northwestern Memorial," said a January 10 article in the Chicago Tribune. This includes a replacement hospital built in 1999 and a new women's hospital, scheduled to open in fall 2007. In March of 2005, the hospital received a National Committee for Quality Healthcare award. The article said even Mecklenburg's rivals are impressed by his accomplishments. University of Chicago Hospitals CEO Michael Riordan said: "You can't help but see the impact he has had on that institution-transforming a cluster of loosely associated hospitals and [a] doctors group into a genuine academic medical center with first-rate facilities and a solid financial base."

Rex Sinquefield, '72, may have recently retired as co-chairman of Dimensional Fund Advisors, but his innovations in indexing will continue to carry weight, according to a January 22 Wall Street Journal article posted on The article calls Sinquefield an indexing "hero." Back in 1973 Sinquefield was shocked to discover that data about stock market performance didn't exist. Working with Roger Ibbotson, PhD '74, whom he had met at University of Chicago, the two came up with research that "formed the basis for what has become 'Stocks, Bonds, Bills, and Inflation,' the annual compendium of investment returns now put out by Ibbotson Associates, the Chicago investment-research firm subsequently founded by Mr. Ibbotson," the article said. In 1981 Sinquefield founded Dimensional Fund Advisors with David Booth, '71. The firm, using academic research that showed small stocks outperformed larger companies, "launched small-cap index funds, including funds that track small stocks in Europe, Japan, the Pacific Rim, and the United Kingdom." Twelve years later the firm again used academic research, this time comparing value shares with growth stocks, with the former outperforming the latter. "The only proven avenues for earning above-average returns are small and value," Sinquefield says.

F. Quinn Stepan Jr., '88, CEO of Stepan Co., a 73-year-old Northfield, Illinois-based specialty chemicals maker, is "rolling out new products and technologies to make everything from detergents, shampoo, and toothpaste to lubricants and emulsifiers," according to an article in Crain's Chicago Business January 9. Stepan said: "If you don't grow, you're dying. So let's place a bet and make it happen."

Nabil Triki, '98, the head of Swiss-based investment bank Swicorp's private-equity division, announced that the company's recently launched Joussour Fund could become the largest private-equity fund in the Middle East and North Africa region. The fund is projected to close at between $700 million and $800 million, Triki told Dow Jones Newswires in an article posted January 8. The Joussour Fund focuses mainly on Saudi Arabia, and specifically on petrochemicals, oil services, and energy intensive areas like glassmaking and aluminum, the article said. "We are there (in the region) as long-term players," Triki said. The company's presence in the Middle East goes back to 1987.

Bonnie Wachtel, AB '77, MBA '78, an investor at her family's securities brokerage firm Wachtel & Co. in Washington, DC, was hailed as a whistleblower in a January 16 Washington Post article at Wachtel has alerted the Securities and Exchange Commission about alleged governance lapses at Integral Systems Inc., a software company that went public in 1988, underwritten by Wachtel & Co. Wachtel, giving up her seat on the company's board of directors, said the firm should be sold. She criticized the company's chief executive "for withholding information from board members about misdemeanor sex-offense and assault charges filed against him in June-charges that he denies," the article said. Refusing to give in to "moral relativism," Wachtel said: "There generally is a right and a wrong. I think I may have made that clear."

Submit information about yourself or fellow alumni to