Alumni Connections - No. 28 - November 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

Adnexus Therapeutics:
Charles Carter, MS ’94, MBA ’96, has joined as vice president, finance. The biotechnology company is based in Waltham, Massachusetts. Previously Carter was senior director, financial planning and analysis, for Shire Pharmaceuticals/Transkaryotic Thereapies.

Amicus Therapeutics Inc.:
James Dentzer, ’95, has been named the first CFO of the biopharmaceuticals company, which is based in Cranbury, New Jersey.

Boston Consulting Group:
Christian Veith, ’90, has been named head of Germany BCG. Veith was senior vice president in the Düsseldorf office, where he led BCG efforts to recruit, retain, and develop consultants and staff worldwide.

Bryan Cave LLP:
Nir Yarden, AB ’85, MBA ’87, has joined as a law partner in the firm’s New York office. He advises domestic and international investment managers, particularly on new product offerings, structuring new funds, asset raising, investments, acquisitions, and portfolio construction.
Cedar Street Advisors (SM):
David Keevins, ’91, has joined as vice president and chief operating officer. The Milwaukee-based firm is a unit of M & I Investment Management Corp., a subsidiary of Marshall & Ilsley Corporation, and manages the wealth of ultra-high net worth clients.
Andrea Hall, AM ’86, MBA ’95, has been chosen to head London operations. Headquartered in Deerfield, Illinois, Celergo provides payroll operations for multinational corporations.

Centerview Partners:
James Kilts, ’74, has joined as a founding partner to help build the firm’s private equity business. Centerview, based in New York City, will focus initially on investing in consumer-oriented companies. Kilts is chairman and CEO of Atlas Associates LLC. Previously he was vice chairman of the board at Gillette, Proctor & Gamble. Before the company merged with Proctor & Gamble in October 2005, Kilts was CEO, president, and board chairman at Gillette.

Charles Industries, Ltd.:
Minesh Patel, ’95, has been appointed vice president of the firm’s broadband access and transmission business unit. Charles Industries, headquartered in Rolling Meadows, Illinois, serves telecommunications, marine, and industrial markets.

Cisco Systems:
Kumar Balabhadra, ’00, has joined as a finance and business operations manager in the voice technology group. Cisco Systems is headquartered in San Jose, California.

Crestmark Bank:
Kevin O’Neill, ’95, has joined as vice president, credit manager. He will manage the Chicago office’s portfolio of client accounts.

Deutsche Asset Management:
Susan Small, ’89, has joined as global head of consultant relations and is based in the firm’s Chicago office.
Richard Powers, ’95, has been named senior vice president and general manager. A unit of Residential Capital Corporation, a real estate finance company, is based in Costa Mesa, California. It offers such products as first mortgages and variable equity lines of credit.

Duff & Phelps:
Brooks Dexter, AB ’79, MBA ’84, has joined the Los Angeles office as a managing director in investment banking. Duff & Phelps is an independent financial advisory firm, headquartered in New York.
Eaton Corporation:
Anoop Nanda, ’04, has been appointed director of materials management for the firm’s $4.1 billion electrical business. Nanda is responsible for central planning, plant supply chain, and global logistics organizations for the electrical group’s 40 plants worldwide. Headquartered in Cleveland, the company manufactures engine components, electrical power equipment, and hydraulic products for the aerospace and automotive industries.

EFJ, Inc.:
Massoud Safavi, ’76, has been appointed to the newly created position of president and chief operating officer of the secured communications division. Headquartered in Irving, Texas, the company makes radio and security systems for police departments, government agencies, the military, and cellular service providers.

Jeff Margolies, ’77, has joined as executive vice president of consulting and professional services. The Dallas-based business and technology consultancy has 20 offices in North America and Europe.

Fred Alger Management:
Fred Lee, ’05, has been promoted to vice president and is based in the firm’s New York office. The mutual fund firm focuses on growth stocks; Lee is in charge of enterprise software and IT services companies.

James Sylvester, ’78, has been appointed to the advisory board. Headquartered in Plano, Texas, the firm provides infrastructure products for the telecommunications industry. Sylvester was vice president, systems integration and testing, of Verizon’s engineering and technology group. He holds eight patents, awarded or pending, and previously served on the board of National Cooperative for Laboratory Accreditation, which oversees certification of the nation’s testing laboratories.

Michael Boxer, ’91, has been named CFO. Based in North Richland Hills, Texas, the company is a health and life insurance company for small businesses and the self-employed.

Iridium Satellite LLC:
Matthew Desch, ’86, has been named chairman and CEO. The mobile satellite communications supplier is based in Bethesda, Maryland.

Lawson Software, Inc.:
Robert Schriesheim, ’86, has joined as executive vice president and CFO. A member of the board of directors of the company, based in St. Paul, Minnesota, Schriesheim was a venture and general partner of ARCH Development Partners LLC, a technology venture capital fund.

Lord, Abbett & Co.:
Daniel Solender, ’92, has been hired to oversee the municipal fixed-income business of the investment management company, which is based in Jersey City, New Jersey.

MaxCyte, Inc.:
Judith Hedstrom, AB ’78, MBA ’86, has joined the executive team in the new role of senior vice president, corporate business development. Based in Gaithersburg, Maryland, the firm develops cell-based therapies.

Mu Sigma Inc.:
Michael Bigenwald, ’06 (XP-75), has been named vice president, client management, and leads the advisory firm’s U.S. commercial organization. Mu Sigma works with such industries as financial services, retailing, consumer products, pharmaceutics, technology, insurance, manufacturing, and telecommunications. Dhiraj Rajaram, ’03, is founder and CEO of the company, which is headquartered in Chicago and has a delivery center in Bangalore, India.

New York Life Investment Management:
Daniel Glickman, ’97, has been named managing director and portfolio manager for the firm’s quantitative institutional value strategies and mutual funds.

Nicor Inc.:
Barbara Zeller, ’96, has been promoted to vice president of information technology at the holding company, which is based in Naperville, Illinois. Zeller is vice president for Nicor Gas, a subsidiary.

Orbitz, Inc.:
Steve Barnhart, AB ’84, MBA ’88, has been promoted from CFO to president of Orbitz Worldwide, a subsidiary of Travelport. He will oversee online businesses Orbitz, Cheaptickets, Octopus Travel in Europe, and and in the Asia Pacific region.The firm is headquartered in New York.

Francois Soubien, ’06 (EXP-11), has joined as a principal in the Paris office of the global operational strategy consulting firm.

RWE Power:
Carsten Rueth, ’06 (EXP-11), has been appointed treasurer of the firm, one of the United Kingdom’s three big energy utilities. The company is headquartered in Essen, Germany; Rueth has relocated to the U.K.

SC Johnson Co.:
Colleen Hickey O’Brien, ’91, has been named assistant to the senior vice president-worldwide research, development, and engineering. Headquartered in Racine, Wisconsin, the firm is one of the world’s largest makers of consumer chemical products, including Drano, Raid, Windex, and Ziploc.

Scott Balice Strategies:
Debra Schnebel, ’81, has joined as senior vice president and head of its new Anchorage, Alaska office. The woman-owned financial advisory firm is headquartered in Chicago.

Sharper Image:
Jerry Levin, ’68, has become chairman and interim CEO. Levin is head of J W Levin Partners, which rebuilds consumer product companies. He has been on the Sharper Image board since July, working with dissident investors. The retail company is based in San Francisco.

Jaime Chico Pardo, ’74, has been promoted from CEO to chairman of the Mexican telecommunications firm.

Yahoo! Iberia:
Noelia Fernandez, ’05 (EXP-10), has been promoted to general manager for products and services.

Zamma Laminates:
Fernando Saez, ’06 (EXP-11), has joined as managing director, based in its Barcelona office. Headquartered in Orange, Virginia, the company makes mouldings and frames for the home improvement and commercial construction market.

Alumni to Know

John Davidson, ’84, Will Help Lead Merger of CBOT and Mercantile Exchange. The Chicago Mercantile Exchange plan to buy the Chicago Board of Trade will result in the world’s largest futures exchange in a deal said to be worth $8 billion. The two exchanges handle a variety of products ranging from pork bellies to corn, from overnight interest rates to 30-year U.S. Treasury bonds, and the Standard & Poor’s 500 and the Dow Jones indices. Overseeing the merger will be Phuphinder Gill, and John Davidson, III, ’84, of the Merc. Both men have been described as “the glue” that helps holds the Merc together.

Davidson is managing director and chief corporate officer where he is in charge of strategic planning and product development. He brings a knowledge of technology and an understanding of trading firms to the merger. Davidson started at the Merc in 80s at the clearinghouse. His experience also includes early involvement in Globex, the Merc’s electronic market. He worked 12 years at Morgan Stanley where he synchronized electronic systems and built global processing centers. In a statement regarding the work that lies ahead, Davidson noted “the keys to success are detailed planning, which we have already kicked off; a streamlined, highly effective decision-making process, and an eagle-eyed focus on execution.”

Robert Gendelman, MBA ’84, JD ’84, predicts that only the largest hedge funds will survive a coming shakeout. “The pressure on hedge funds to bring in more assets is so great that many of the smaller funds are going to be unwilling to take the extra risk necessary to differentiate themselves through performance,” Gendelman said in an October 15 article in the New York Post. “Many are either going to merge or else close down.” Gendelman recently closed his own three-year-old hedge fund, Cobble Creek, as pressure grew to bring in more money from wealthy investors. Hedge fund returns have dropped into single digits this year, the article said, compared to a few years ago when 30 percent annual returns were the norm. Gendelman now works for Legg Mason as a portfolio manager.

NAVTEQ Corp. president and CEO Judson Green, ’76, was a former jazz pianist who has backed up the likes of Bob Hope, Pat Boone, and Jim Nabors, noted a profile that appeared September 25 in the Chicago Tribune. In the article about his career path, Green credits his business success to his musical background. “Music is the essence of who I am,” he told the Tribume.Green told how during college he “coupled economics with music composition, which allowed me to keep both sides of my brain working.” While managing the Chicago office of an accounting firm, his life took a dramatic turn when a headhunter pegged him for a job at Disney. He eventually became president and then chairman of Disney Theme Parks and Resorts. Since 2000, he has headed Navteq, which provides digital map data for such companies as Mapquest, BMW, Garmin, and the U.S. Postal Service. The firm is headquartered in Chicago.

Jeffrey Johnson, ’90, is known as the newspaper publisher who said no when asked to make more cuts at The Los Angeles Times. Johnson complied with a first round of budget and staff cuts but refused to make more when asked to do so for the second time within a year. The nation’s fourth largest paper and other major metropolitan dailies are struggling to adapt as readers decamp to the Internet, said a September 28 article in The New York Times. “People who know him well say his recent actions show him to be the person he has always been: a straightforward, levelheaded businessman who has a strong moral compass,” the article said.

Sol Kanthack, ’00, told Crain’s Chicago Business that when he was looking to attend business school, he wanted to know where JPMorgan recruited. Among the schools was Chicago GSB, and Kanthack said, “I looked for the one that had the best reputation for teaching hard, quantitative skills,” according to the October 16 article. While still a student, he cofounded brightroom, a company that takes photos of corporate, school, and sporting events and markets them through the Internet. The company won first place in the annual New Venture Challenge business plan competition, giving Kanthack and his partner the seed money to launch the firm and credentials to win further financing. “Being part of [Chicago GSB’s] network made starting this company easier,” he told Crain’s. “Almost all of our investors have a University of Chicago tie.”

William McComb, ’87, former group chairman for orthopedics and neurologics at Johnson & Johnson, has become the new CEO of Liz Claiborne Inc. in a surprise appointment, according an October 16 article in The Wall Street Journal. “The long-awaited appointment is part of a recent trend among fashion and luxury goods companies to go outside the industry and hire chief executives from consumer goods companies,” the article said. Despite a relatively low profile, the Journal said, McComb “gained the edge because of his leadership skills, creative abilities, and global brand management expertise, people familiar with the matter say.”

Stephanie Neely, ’89, a former vice president at Northern Trust Corporation, will take over from Judith Rice who is joining the mayor’s staff. Neely, who received a bachelor's degree in economics from Smith College and an MBA from the GSB, has announced she will run for the treasurer's office in February. In addition to the Northern Trust, her background includes serving as managing director and head of the Municipal Finance Group of Blaylock & Partners. Neely also has worked for LaSalle Capital Markets, Jackson Securities Inc., Allstate Insurance and Paine Webber. Neely’s first foray into government came in 2004 when the mayor appointed her to the board of the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority. In her role as treasurer, she will manage all cash and investments for the city as well as manage short-term investments of four city pension funds and the Board of Education pension fund. Neely's appointment requires approval from the City Council. Chicago Transit Authority Chairman Carole Brown, a long-time friend of Neely’s, commented on the appointment. "She's wonderful, extremely qualified, very intelligent, very bright [and has] great knowledge of the financial markets and what needs to be done, I think, to manage the finances of the city. I think it's an excellent choice."

Tim Sheerer, ’88, has gone from high finance to serving ravioli, according to and October 1 article in U.S. News and World Report. Not long after the September 11 terrorist attacks claimed the lives of several people he knew, Sheerer left his Wall Street investment banking job with Merrill Lynch to open an Italian bistro in a Pittsburgh suburb with his wife.  Initially planning to sign on to a new restaurant venture coming to Pittsburgh, Sheerer prepared by spending a year working in one of the chain’s suburban restaurants, busing tables, washing dishes, and more. “If I was going to ask someone else to do these jobs, I had to know how to do them myself,” Sheerer said. The couple ended up opening their own independent restaurant, la Cappella.

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