Alumni Connections - No. 22 - May 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

Advantage Capital Partners:
Damon Rawie, '99, a principal with the Austin, Texas-based private equity firm, has been promoted to managing director. Rawie will oversee Advantage's investment strategies and processes. He joined the company in 1999. Previously Rawie managed China International Capital Corp., a joint venture investment bank.

Akamai Technologies, Inc.:
J.D. Sherman, '90, has been named CFO. The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based firm helps organizations speed their online businesses. Sherman joined the company in the fall as senior vice president and CFO-elect.

Alavarez & Marsal:
Jack McCarthy, '96, has joined the New York-based, global professional services firm as managing director. McCarthy also will co-head the firm's Transaction Advisory Group, LLC, which works primarily for mid- to large-cap private equity firms, hedge funds, and corporations, offering analysis on purchases and sales. Alvarez & Marsal works hands-on with clients, management, and stakeholders to resolve problems of underperforming companies.

American Crystal, Inc.:
Daniel A. Lasman, '78, has been named group vice president and CFO, responsible for six subsidiaries in the United States and Europe of the Dedham, Massachusetts-based firm. These businesses are focused on engineering, information technology, financial, light industrial, and clerical staffing. American Crystal is one of the world's largest technical staffing companies and ranks in the top ten United States staffing companies, as measured by revenue.

Aon Corporation:
John Bourke, '98 (XP-67), has been promoted to assistant general counsel. The risk management, human capital consulting, and reinsurance company is based in Chicago.

BEA Systems, Inc.:
Neelan Choksi, '98, is working as senior director of products at the San Jose, California-based firm. The company recently acquired SolarMetric, where Choksi was cofounder and president. BEA Systems helps companies to improve business responsiveness and reduce information technology complexity through infrastructure software.

Brown Gibbons Lang & Company:
Lawrence Vincek, '02, has joined the firm as an associate in the Chicago-based investment bank's Cleveland office. Vincek will work in corporate finance and restructuring, doing financial analysis, industry research, and preparation of client presentation material. The investment bank serves middle market companies around the world.

Steve Randich, '94, has been hired as chief information officer of corporate and investment banking, responsible for capital markets and commercial banking technology worldwide. Citigroup is based in New York City. Randich previously worked as CIO of operations and technology at NASDAQ.

CS Stars:
Amy Hamilton, '98, has been named CFO at the Chicago-based firm, which is Marsh's Risk and Claims technology company. Previously, Hamilton served as CFO and chief administration officer for Comdisco Ventures Inc. in Rosemont, Illinois.

DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary U.S. LLP:
Michael S. Gershowitz, '05 (XP-74), has been promoted to partner in the law firm's real estate practice group. The company has offices around the world; Gershowitz is based in its Chicago office.

DreamWorks Animation:
Judson Green, '76, was elected to the board of directors of the company, located in Glendale, California.

Fannie Mae:
Ramon de Castro, '90, has been promoted to senior vice president, capital markets-mortgages. The mortgage finance company is based in Washington DC. De Castro will focus on identifying and executing mortgage transactions, trading mortgage products, and overseeing the structured asset transactions group. He started at Fannie Mae in 1991.

Grubb & Ellis Company:
Mark Chrisman, '04, has joined the Northbrook, Illinois-based commercial real estate company as executive vice president, capital transactions. He will execute acquisition strategy on behalf of the recently formed Grubb & Ellis Realty Advisors.

Health Hero Network Inc.:
Gary Paladin, '84, has been hired as senior vice president of worldwide marketing at the Redwood City, California-based company, which provides personalized, home health care technology.

HistoRx, Inc.:
Thomas Gerson, '78, has been appointed vice president of business operations and CFO. Based in New Haven, Connecticut, the firm produces diagnostic products for research and clinical pathology.

Intrepid Merchant Partners, LLC:
Ben Palleiko, '96, a former investment banker, has started the merchant bank based in Boston. The company will serve as a financial and strategic advisor to health care companies and raise a fund to make strategic investments in micro-cap health care businesses.

IOR Global Services:
Kendra Mirasol, '93, has joined the Northbrook, Illinois-based company as managing director. The firm provides cultural training, repatriation training, destination services, and language instruction. Mirasol will coordinate operations of IOR's Chicago, Detroit, and London offices.

Johnson Controls:
Brian Cooke, '94, has been named vice president, manufacturing and technology, of the Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based company's building efficiency business.

Jones Lang LaSalle:
Christopher Fossick, '03, currently president and CEO of CB Richard Ellis in Japan, is joining property consultancy group Jones Lang LaSalle as its new Singapore country head and managing director for South-east Asia, from July. Fossick was a prominent name in the Singapore commercial property leasing market when he was executive director at CB Richard Ellis's Singapore office.

Kurt Salmon Associates:
Kathryn Cullen, '79, has been appointed vice president of the Atlanta, Georgia-based consulting firm, which provides global services to retail, consumer products, and health care industries for clients in the Americas, Europe, and Asia. Cullen has worked for the firm for 10 years.

MTS Medication Technologies:
Christian Silva, '95, has been appointed director of finance and has contracted with the company's former chief financial officer to provide interim services while the firm searches for a permanent replacement. Silva's firm, Mesa Consulting Corporation, had been consulting with MTS for about 10 months. The company, based in Clearwater, Florida, makes packaging systems designed to improve medication dispensing and administration. It serves about 8,000 pharmacies worldwide.

OneAccord LLC:
Michael Fogel, '77, has been promoted to regional managing partner, Midwest/Ohio Valley region, in the firm's new Chicago office. The boutique consulting firm specializes in services and proprietary approaches to marketing and sales and is headquartered in Seattle, Washington.

Pacific Advisory Group of America:
John Waller, '95, has joined the Los Angeles-based firm as a director, heading its Chicago office. PAGA provides M&A and financial advisory services to medical product manufacturers including Japanese companies in cross-border mergers and acquisitions, as well as United States-based companies completing transactions in Japan and other parts of Asia.

Pennichuck Corporation:
William Patterson, '78, has been promoted to senior vice president and CFO of the Merrimack, New Hampshire-based holding company. The firm has three wholly owned subsidiaries involved in water supply and distribution throughout southern and central New Hampshire; water-related services conducted through Pennichuck Water Service Company; and real estate investment and development conducted through The Southwood Corporation.

Jim Ducay, '88, has joined the executive team as chief operating officer. An SES GLOBAL company, the firm is the largest supplier of satellite services in the United States.

Art Matin, '80, has been appointed CEO of the Boston-based software virtualization company, which pioneered the software virtualization market. Matin also was named to Softricity's board.

Urban West Associates:
David Kriozere, '86, has joined the developer as a principal. The firm is developing City Front Square in San Jose, and One Rincon Hill in San Francisco, the tallest residential high rise west of the Mississippi.

Vertical Lend Inc.:
Nicholas Hahn, '88, has joined the Melville, New York-based, vertically integrated marketing and financial services company as CFO. Since its founding in 1996, Vertical Lend has closed more than $2 billion in loans.

Warner Music Group Corp.:
Michele Hooper, '75, has been elected to the company's board of directors and will sit on the audit committee. Hooper is cofounder and managing partner of the Directors' Council, a Chicago-based firm specializing in corporate board of director recruitment. Warner, headquartered in New York, in May 2005 became the only stand-alone music company to be publicly traded in the United States.

Alumni to Know

Bernard DelGiorno, AB’54, AB’55, MBA’55, Donates $5 Million to University
The Wall Street Journal noted the recent donation of $5 million to the University by Bernard DelGiorno, AB’54, AB’55, MBA’55 in its “Gift of the Week” spotlight. The gift will be used for his to help establish a Center for the Creative and Performing Arts, renovate Stagg Field and to help build a student residence hall for 900 students.

DelGiorno is a first vice president of investments at UBS Financial Services, part of UBS AG. Read more about his involvement with the University.  Kurt Hanson, '80, founder and CEO of, has announced the launch of RadioCelt,, the world's first multi-channel Celtic Internet radio station. "AccuRadio is thrilled to expand our vast musical collection to cover this important musical genre," Hanson said in a March 12 PRWeb article that ran in Cybergrass, the Internet Bluegrass Music Magazine. Hanson, who also founded RAIN: Radio and Internet Newsletter, is a well-known research expert, leading radio industry analyst, and consultant. RadioCelt's six free channels will consist of Celtic, Celtic rock, female and male vocalists, progressive, and traditional music. AccuRadio reaches more than a million listeners a month, making it the most-heard independent, multichannel Internet radio station.

Michele Hooper, '75
Warner Music Group Corp. (NYSE: WMG) today announced the election of Michele J. Hooper to the company's board of directors. Hooper, 54, will serve as an independent director on WMG's board and will sit on the audit committee.
Warner Music Group became the only stand-alone music company to be publicly traded in the United States in May 2005.

Hooper is cofounder and managing partner of the Directors' Council, a Chicago-based firm that helps companies around the globe to find, develop and place a new, diverse generation of directors on corporate boards.

Hooper currently serves on the boards of directors of PPG Industries, Inc., and AstraZeneca PLC, and serves as the chair of the PPG audit committee. She has previously served as a director on the boards of Target Corporation (where she also served as chair of the audit committee), Seagram Company Ltd. and DaVita Corporation. Presently a director of the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) and president of NACD's Chicago chapter, Hooper was a commissioner on the 2004 and 2005 NACD Blue Ribbon Commissions on Corporate Governance. Previously, Hooper was the President and Chief Executive Officer of Voyager Expanded Learning and of Stadtlander Drug Company, Inc.

Rob Kennedy, ’80
Working at a non-profit, cable television company comes with a mission that Rob Kennedy, ’80, Executive VP and co-COO of C-SPAN makes up, in part, for the difference in salary he experiences. He acknowledges in a profile that appears in Broadcasting & Cable magazine, he’d be better off financially. But his ability to help bring viewers an un-edited glimpse of our political system at work makes up for the lower salary.

Even though he works for a non-profit, Kennedy’s job is not really much different than his commercial colleagues. He needs to keep the money flowing and position C-SPAN for the multi-platform future of television. What does differ is the primary source of revenues and the size of their budgets. Kennedy’s summer internship while at the GSB was for Centel where he worked on a financial plan for a new cable franchise. He says “cable married my interest in engineering, business and television…”. After graduation, he joined Centel where the CEO asked him to draft a formal business plan for the newly-created C-SPAN of which he was Chairman. It wasn’t until 1987, however, that Kennedy went to work for the public affairs network.

Among his biggest challenge now is how to approach new technologies such as cellphone TV or video iPods. “If we don’t stake out the public-affairs space,” says Kennedy “someone else will”. Knowing it will take a lot of money to mount such an initiative, Kenney admits “we’re not necessarily the leader of the pack….but we won’t be far behind”.

James Kim, '05, a principal at pay consultants Frederic W. Cook & Co., weighed in on the debate over CocaCola Co.'s radical new plan to eliminate directors' pay unless the company meets its financial targets in an April 6 Wall Street Journal article. Tying pay to performance could create "economic disincentives to leave the board if you have a disagreement," Kim said. The new plan calls for Coke to give to each director equity-share units, valued at $175,000 initially, which can only be cashed after three years and if Coke's operating earnings per share grow 8 percent compounded annually in 2006, 2007, and 2008. Under its old plan, directors received $50,000 in cash and $75,000 in share units each year, plus other fees, regardless of Coke's performance, the article said. While "a lot of companies would have difficulty selling this kind of plan" to prospective directors, Coke may be an exception because it can attract directors with prestige as much as with money, he said. Kim said he doesn't know of any other company in which all of a director's compensation is linked to performance. "It's not even a topic" in discussing director compensation, he said.

Jennifer Litwin, ’94, Author of “Best Furniture Buying Tips Ever!
Furniture expert Jennifer Litwin, ’94, spent a year shopping undercover for her new book “Best Furniture Buying Tips Ever!” According to an article in the Chicago Sun-Times Real Estate section, Litwin, a consumer advocate, visited over 500 major furniture retailers across the country including Crate & Barrel, Ethan Allen, Bloomingdale’s and Furnitureland South.

Because the $71 billion home furnishing industry is unregulated, she wrote the book to help people get the best quality furniture at the best price. Litwin knows her subject.  In addition to her MBA from the GSB, she trained at Sotheby’s, owned her furniture store and is a contributing writer for Consumer’s Digest.

Litwin pointed out that shoppers need to understand more about furniture construction and pricing to avoid bad experiences.  Her book seeks to help buyers by rating stores according to price, personnel, ambiance and quality. She offered some tips to help shoppers.

  • The price tag isn’t final.  Negotiation is possible.  Approximately 85% of stores that offer discounts to the trade also offer discounts to the public.
  • Get a written copy of the store warranty.  Store warranties are broader than the manufacturer’s.  In case of a problem, you have nothing to stand on without a warranty.  The best situation in the event of a problem is a store that sells its own furniture, like Ethan Allen.
  • Ask if a piece will still be available in six months.  You want to avoid a situation where something breaks and a replacement part is not available.  If the piece is discontinued, you don’t want to pay full price.

Rishad Tobaccowala, '82, has become a futurist at Denuo, opened by the Publicis Groupe to track new media and marketing technologies for clients, investors, and Publicis itself. Tobaccowala is a top executive in the Publicis media-buying division. Denuo, which is Latin for "anew," will "try to spot the killer digital advertising applications of the future, an area in which Mr. Tobaccowala has a wealth of experience," said a column on advertising in the March 1 New York Times. Tobaccowala took a swing at Google's possible entry into advertising with its purchase of a company that sells radio ads and forays into potential video distribution. "I think Google has overextended, like Napoleon opening up a Russian front," Tobaccowala said. "I think they are a very amazing company that will take over nothing." BusinessWeek named Tobaccowala one of its Best Leaders of 2005 in December.

Submit information about yourself or fellow alumni to