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Alumni Connections - No. 34 - May 2007

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 editor@chicagobooth.edu.

Alumni on the Move

Allianz Re:
Jay Ralph, ’84,
has been appointed CEO. The reinsurance business is headquartered in Munich and is part of the Allianz Group, an insurance and financial services provider. Ralph previously was CEO at Allianz Risk Transfer.

Clear Sight, Inc.:
Hilmon Sorey Jr., ’69,
has been named CEO. Based in Evanston, Illinois, the firm develops and makes products and procedures to treat eye diseases and improve vision.

Crescent Systems LLC:
Mary Elworth, ’82,
has been elected to the board of directors. Headquartered in Council Bluffs, Iowa, the firm provides electronic billing and payment services. Elsworth is the founder of Visionpoint Group Ltd., an investment banking and private investment consulting firm.

FTI Consulting, Inc.:
Michael Keable, AB ’88, MBA ’96,
has been promoted to senior managing director and senior vice president. Keable specializes in securities markets, damages, corporate finance, and financial statement analysis for FTI Lexicon in Chicago. FTI Consulting is based in Baltimore.

Gravity Co., Ltd.:
Jonathan Lee, ’04,
has been appointed CFO. Based in Seoul, South Korea, the firm develops and publishes online games.

Mercer Investment Consulting:
Kristin Finney-Cooke, ’98,
has been appointed national market segment leader, public funds. Based in Chicago, Finney-Cooke works with some of the New York-based firm’s largest public fund clients.

Renaissance Group:
Andrei Movchan, ’03 (EXP-8),
will join the senior management of Renaissance Consumer Finance, the group’s consumer lending bank and Russia’s third largest bank. Movchan will retain his post as CEO of Renaissance Investment Management.

R.J. O’Brien and Associates, Inc.:
Karen Northup, ’95,
has been promoted to chief operating officer. Headquartered in Chicago, the firm is the largest independent futures brokerage in the United States. Northup has been senior vice president of operations since 2004, with responsibility for the firm’s Chicago trading operations since 2006. She also runs operations for R.J. O’Brien Alternative Asset Management, Inc.

Richmond American Homes:
Chad Yetka, ’97,
has been promoted to senior vice president of operations and financial services of  the Denver-based home builder. Yetka previously was president of its subsidiary, HomeAmerican Mortgage Corporation.

Sage Software:
Joe Bergera, AM ’91, MBA ’92,
has been appointed senior vice president and general manager, global customer relationship management. Headquartered in Irvine, California, the company provides business management application for small and mid-sized companies. Bergera is based in the company’s research and development center in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.:
Bruce Duncan, ’75,
has been named interim CEO. Duncan has been chairman and a director. Based in White Plains, New York, the company owns and runs such hotels as the St. Regis, Sheraton, Westin, W, and Le Meridien.

Synovate:
Darren Smith, ’05 (AXP-4),
has been promoted to general manager of Synovate Singapore. He previously was Asia Pacific director of ViewsCast, a subsidiary. Synovate is the market research arm of London-based Aegis Group plc.

Utilities, Inc.:
John Stover, ’00 (XP-69),
general counsel, has been appointed as corporate secretary and a vice president. Headquartered in Northbrook, Illinois, the company runs utility systems in 17 states.


Alumni to Know

Jay Fitzsimmons, '74, has been named executive vice president and chief financial officer of Wendy's. Previously he was senior vice president and treasurer at Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. where he had responsibility for treasury, planning, financial analysis, investor relations, financial operations and corporate mergers and acquisitions. Wal-Mart grew revenues from $64 billion to more than $350 billion during his tenure at the company. At Wendy's, Fitzsimmons will oversee the functions of Accounting, Finance, Internal Audit, Tax, Treasury and Information Technology, and will serve as a member of the strategic planning committee. He is a member of the Council on the Graduate School of Business, a group of executives that advises Dean Snyder on program issues and serves as a link to the business community.


Andrew Gadzinski, '07 (XP-76) was featured in Crain's Chicago Business discussing how the GSB helped him expand his discount derivatives trading company overseas. Gadzinski, who also owns Traders Illustrated magazine, describes an important contact he made while at the program. He also explains why he chose the GSB. Read the article.


Kevin Gibbons, ’99, and colleagues have founded an alternative asset management company, Six Degrees Capital Management. Based in Chicago with offices in New York, the firm will specialize in structured product investments, Gibbons said. Joining Gibbons on the management team are Gary Cohen, ’88, and Tony Harris, ’04. The three had developed an investment platform at Bank of Montreal. They plan to expand the platform by investing in mezzanine and equity pieces of structured finance, including intellectual property streams and corporate/real estate loans, Gibbons said. They also will invest in high-grade, asset-backed securities, a program which will fund itself through collateralized debt obligations. “As an ‘alternative’ asset manager, we expect to target returns in the mid- to high-teens that are noncorrelated with and provide lower volatility than other investments offering similar returns,” Gibbons said. “We expect to achieve this goal given the secured nature of our underlying structured finance investments and the deep set of deal origination, structuring, and credit skills that we developed by working as a team over the last decade.” 


Ron Huberman, '00, has been named president of the Chicago Transit Authority, the nation's second largest public transportation system. Previously Huberman was Chicago Mayor Richard Daley's chief of staff and has also served as Executive Director of the Office of Emergency Management and Communications. An editorial in the Chicago Tribune, said he is "a numbers guy who applies inventive technologies to old problems. Huberman is a stickler for management accountability; he won't put up with line employees, and supervisors, who don't deliver." In his new role, Huberman will play a role in Chicago's bid for the 2016 Olympics.


Jack Lane, ’71, director of the Dallas Museum of Art, is building the museum’s contemporary art collection by corralling local collectors. Thanks to Lane, three collectors recently banded together to contribute 900 artworks valued at more than $300 million, according to a March 28 article in the New York Times. Lane had encouraged the collectors to consider the impact that contemporary art donations made on other museums in the past; for instance, at the Art Institute of Chicago, the collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings came from bequests made in the late 19th and early 20th centuries when “those artists were still considered contemporary,” Lane told the Times. If Dallas collectors followed suit, the museum might one day “take its place among the great museums,” he said.


Robert Lane, ’74, CEO of Deere, said he believes technology will help feed the world. For example, global positioning satellites have automated plowing and seeding, thus reducing wasteful double planting. And Lane called the latest John Deere tractors “sophisticated mobile information factories” in an April 4 article in the Economist. “They practically drive themselves, while the driver uses the Internet to sell corn.” With “two billion more people able to afford to eat” in prosperous developing countries, Lane has positioned his company to meet the global boom in agriculture. According to the article, “As soon as he became chief executive he set about converting Deere to the pursuit of shareholder value, a philosophy he had embraced at the University of Chicago.”


Ann Logue, ’91, “doesn’t try to show off or get overly complex” in her book Hedge Funds for Dummies,” according to a March 28 review by the Motley Fool (Fool.com). The review called Logue’s book “well-organized, kicking off with the industry’s basic concepts and history before tackling more sophisticated topics. She even covers complex issues like the arbitrage pricing theory, sprinkling her text with occasional equations.” Logue also offers “plenty of useful advice,” the review said. “Her tips cover due diligence on fund managers, evaluating fees and contract terms, understanding hedge funds’ multitude of investment strategies, and learning how to spot risk factors. Amazingly, she does all this clearly and understandably.” Logue is working on her next book, “Day Trading for Dummies” that will be published at the end of the year.


Charles Scott, ’75, president and CEO of Henry Medical Center, talked about the financial challenges the hospital has faced in the past two years in a March 29 article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Much of the financial challenge relates to significant additional costs the hospital incurred from adding a new tower, Scott said. The tower, “an absolutely magnificent facility,” devotes an entire floor to cardiovascular services. The hospital also has faced the same financial issues “hospitals all over the country are facing, such as bad debt, uncompensated care, and escalation in costs,” Scott said. One reason he took the job was because of the hospital’s opportunity for growth, development, and success, he said.   


Gerry Sullivan, ’86, a pioneer in the field of fundamental indexing, has seen his company, Claremont Industry Leaders, beat the Standard & Poor 500 Stock Index benchmark by 2.4 percent a year since Claremont began in 1999, said a March 30 article in the Morris County (NJ) Daily Record. Claremont also has received a four-star rating from Morningstar. To compile Claremont’s portfolio, Sullivan relies on credit quality and “common shareholder’s equity,” which, similar to book value, is assets minus liabilities, the article said. He describes his fund as a “core holding with low to medium volatility and low risk.” The article said Sullivan’s fund tilts toward value, or seemingly inexpensive stocks. “Value is where you should basically play,” Sullivan said. “You don’t suffer the same pain as growth players when growth contracts.” 


Submit information about yourself or fellow alumni to editor@chicagobooth.edu.