Alumni Connections - No. 40 - November 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

Alumni on the Move

Alps Fund Services Inc.
John Donaldson, ’96, has been appointed CFO. The financial services firm is based in Denver.

Atmos Energy Corporation
Richard Gius, ’82, has joined as vice president and chief information officer. Based in Dallas, Atmos is the country’s largest natural-gas-only distributor.

Austin Ventures
Phil Siegel, AB ’86, MBA ’88, has been promoted to general partner from venture partner. The venture capital firm is based in Austin, Texas.

BioSante Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Joy Thomas, ’93, has been appointed vice president of corporate development. Based in Lincolnshire, Illinois, the pharmaceutical company develops hormone therapy products for men and women.

CIT Group Inc.
Kenneth Brause, ’92, has been named executive vice president and director of investor relations. The commercial and consumer finance company is based in New York.

Contango Capital Advisors, Inc.
Owen Brown, ’83, has joined as chief operating officer. Based in Berkeley, California, the firm is the wealth management arm of Zions Bancorporation. Inc.
Mark Benham, AM ’76, MBA ’82, has been appointed to the board of directors. The internet commerce and media company is based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Benham is managing partner at Celerity Partners, a California-based private equity firm.

Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Lake County, Inc.
DeRonda Williams, ’87, has been elected president. Based in Deerfield, Illinois, the organization recruits volunteers to advocate in court for abused and neglected children in Lake County, Illinois.

Center for Audit Quality
Michele Hooper, ’75, has been named one of the first public members of the board of directors. Based in Washington DC, the autonomous public policy organization works to enhance and improve audit processes. Hooper is cofounder and managing partner at The Directors’ Council, which specializes in recruitment and advisory services for corporate boards of directors.

Directed Electronics, Inc.
Seth Johnson, ’78, has been appointed to the board of directors. Headquartered in Vista, California, the firm designs and sells home theater loudspeakers, vehicle security systems, and satellite radio receivers. Johnson is chief operating officer of Pacific Sunwear of California.

Domino’s Pizza
J. Patrick Doyle, ’88, has been promoted to the newly created position of president, Domino’s U.S.A. Doyle previously held a number of organizational and leadership roles in the company, which is headquartered in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Dunn-Edwards Corporation
Michael Badar, ’96, has joined as president and chief operating officer. Based in Los Angeles, the company makes premium architectural paints.

EraGen BioSciences Inc.
L. Miguel Blanc, ’04, has been appointed vice president of corporate development. The biotech company is based in Madison, Wisconsin.

Essex Woodlands Health Ventures
Karen Katen, AB ’70, MBA ’74, has been appointed senior advisor. Headquartered in Chicago, the venture capital firm invests in pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, and health care services.

Grubb & Ellis Company
Dylan Taylor, ’98, has been promoted to president, corporate services. Previously he was executive vice president. Taylor is based in Denver. The commercial real estate advisory firm is headquartered in Chicago.

Henry Bros. Electronics, Inc.
T. Robert Hodgson, ’73, has been appointed corporate vice president of human resources. Based in Fair Lawn, New Jersey, the company makes security systems and consults on emergency preparedness.

Interleukin Genetics, Inc.
Thomas Gerson, ’78, has been named CFO. Headquartered in Waltham, Massachusetts, the company develops genetic tests and nutritional supplements.

Jones Lang LaSalle Inc.
Paul Schloff, ’84, has been promoted to regional manager for Denver. Schloff previously was senior vice president in the Chicago office, where the real estate and investment management firm is headquartered.

March of Dimes Foundation
John Burbank, AB ’86, MBA ’91, has been elected to the national board of trustees. The New York–based foundation raises funds for research on the prevention of birth defects, premature birth, and infant mortality. Burbank is chief marketing officer for AOL.

Medio Systems
John Kim, ’99, has been appointed to the newly created position of vice president of product management and product marketing. The Seattle-based firm provides mobile phone search systems and advertising services.

Mediware Information Systems
Richard Greco Jr., ’96, has been appointed to the board of directors. Based in Lenexa, Kansas, the firm makes software for the health care industry. Greco is president of Filangieri Capital Partners in New York.

Pizza Hut
Brian Niccol, ’03, has been named chief marketing officer. The world’s largest pizza restaurant chain is based in Dallas.

Pfizer Inc
James Kilts, ’74, has been elected to the board of directors. The pharmaceutical company is headquartered in New York. Kilts is founding partner of Centerview Partners, a private equity firm.

Ameeta Soni, ’84, has been named to the board of directors. Based in Billerica, Massachusetts, the company offers online technology support services to the residential and small business market. Soni is vice president, marketing and business development, at VFA, a Boston-based firm that creates software to assist with capital planning for facilities.

The PrivateBank–Chicago
Joseph Dolan Jr., ’87, has joined the firm as managing director and director of treasury management. A unit of PrivateBancorp, Inc., it provides financial services to privately held businesses, entrepreneurs, real estate professionals, and affluent individuals.

Sigma Micro LLC
Matt Konkle, ’06, has been promoted to president from CFO. The Indianapolis-based company makes software for multichannel retail businesses.

State Street Associates
Thomas Chevrier, MA ’00, MBA ’07, PhD ’07, has been named vice president, State Street, global markets research, Singapore. State Street Associates is the research arm of State Street Global Markets, a financial services company headquartered in Boston.

STG, Inc.
Paul Hudecek, ’75, has been named senior vice president, civil agencies sector. The company provides information technology for the US government.

Terex Corporation
Jacob Thomas, ’97, has joined as vice president, technology. Based in Westport, Connecticut, the diversified global manufacturer makes equipment for such industries as construction, infrastructure, quarrying, mining, shipping, transportation, refining, and utilities.

ThinkEquity Partners LLC
Mihir Jobalia, ’99, has joined as managing director and head of software. The global investment bank is headquartered in San Francisco.

Tudor, Pickering & Co., LLC
David Cunningham, ’97, will join as managing director in December. The energy investment and merchant banking firm is based in Houston.

TVS Capital Funds
Suresh Raju, ’01, has joined as general partner to help launch the private equity firm in Chennai, India. Owned by TVS Group, the new firm will invest in mid-cap, family-owned businesses in India.

U.S. Global Investors, Inc.
Jack Dzierwa, ’93, has been named to the newly created position of global strategist. Based in San Antonio, Texas, the investment advisor focuses on niche markets around the world.

WexTrust Capital, LLC
Thomas Coorsh, ’75, has been appointed CFO. The private equity and specialty finance company is based in Chicago.

Alumni to Know

Gene Brown, ’95, vice president of marketing, American Suzuki Motor Corp., told Automotive News his philosophy of life: “Have some idea of where you’re trying to go, or you’ll never get there.” In the September 3 article, Brown said he knew back in college that he wanted to work at an automotive company. “My buddy’s father had a BMW 733i five-speed. That got me excited about cars,” Brown said in the article. While getting his MBA, Brown interned at Ford Motor Co. Longing to head west, he eventually took a marketing job at Nissan in Los Angeles. When Nissan moved its United States headquarters to Tennessee, the article said, Brown was resigned to move, too. “But the Suzuki job came through, and I’m happy to be here,” he said.

William Michael Cunningham, AM ’82, MBA ’83, president and CEO of the consulting firm Creative Investment Research, Inc., was featured in a September 19 article in American Banker. Cunningham’s firm issued a report showing assets at minority banks are on pace to grow an average of 17.43 percent in 2007 while the overall industry average is 6.38 percent, the article said. Attributing the asset growth at the niche banks mainly to the surging Hispanic and Asian population, he said the banks hire employees who speak the customers’ language and have flexible underwriting policies to more accurately reflect the creditworthiness of their customers, including immigrants who have not established credit histories in the United States. Cunningham suspects that “returns will move closer to the industry average” as the minority start-ups mature, the magazine said.

Paul Eppen, ’88, chief marketing officer for the online brokerage OptionsXpress Holdings, Inc., was profiled in the September 10 Crain’s Chicago Business. The brokerage plans to expand the ways it reaches customers, he told Crain’s. “We just don’t think options are as well-known to the general public, and part of our job is to educate people on how to use options in their portfolios,” Eppen said. One obstacle: tripling advertising costs per new customer account in the past year. The company currently reaches customers mainly through internet ads, customer referrals, and web seminars, the article said.

PrepMe, the premium online SAT and ACT preparation service headed by CEO Karan Goel, AB ’04, MBA ’06, recently was named by PC Magazine as one of its 2007 Small Business Award winners. Based in Chicago, PrepMe offers cheaper, more personalized alternatives to regular classroom test prep courses, the October 8 article said.

Fred Grede, ’93 (XP-62), chairman of Vega Financial Engineering Ltd. and a former Chicago Board of Trade executive, has been setting up and running exchanges in such Asian markets as Hong Kong, Pakistan, and Bangkok, according to an August 31 article in the Chicago Tribune. Now he’s back in his Chicago hometown after being appointed trustee in the Chapter 11 bankruptcy of Sentinel Management Group Inc., based in Northbrook, Illinois, the article said. “The first step is to find out what the current state of financial affairs is for Sentinel,” Grede told the Tribune. “I’ll try to ascertain exactly what happened, not only what transpired in terms of transfers and events but also the question of what should have happened.”

David Lagone, ’76, publisher of Stock Market Mechanics Matrix, L.L.C., discussed market trends in a September 26 article in Lagone said he uses more than 100 algorithms he developed to forecast the direction of financial markets a day ahead of time. He claims an 85 percent success rate since 2003. Lagone examines four- to six-week market cycles and “master trends” of several months. “The market trend is still long (bullish), as is the master trend,” Lagone said in the article. “But [those trends] are going to be fighting the short-term trend of the market wanting to go down. As a result, you’re getting a lot of up and down movement. I call it consolidating, because this really may be pulling us out of the long market trend temporarily.”

CEO Watch: Taking the Lead

Bassam Yammine, ’94
Managing Director and Co-CEO of the Middle East
Credit Suisse
Yammine also will be Head of Investment Banking and Asset Management businesses in the Middle East and North Africa region. Yammine will be based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

CEO Watch: Making Headlines

Timothy Chen, ’91 (XP-60)
NBA China
In September, Chen resigned from Microsoft, where he was top man in China, to take a new job with the National Basketball Association. A September 21 article in about Chen’s move said, “The NBA is seeking to sell a 5 percent stake in its new China subsidiary to Chinese investors with an eye toward an initial public offering, and another 5 percent stake to an as yet unnamed U.S. media company.” According to Forbes, the NBA hopes Chen will persuade the Chinese government to allow the building of more basketball arenas and to buy broadcasting rights of NBA games for its state-controlled television stations. The NBA puts on more than 170 special events in 112 cities in greater China, the article said, and Chinese basketball fans number an estimated 300 million.

Judson Green, ’76
CEO and President
Navteq Corporation
Navigation software maker Navteq was bankrupt when Green took over the firm seven years ago. Now Nokia is buying Navteq for $8.1 billion, according to an article in the October 2 Quincy (Illinois) Herald Whig, published in Green’s home town. “I’m excited about this from the standpoint of our shareholders, and I’m also excited about partnering with Nokia,” he told the paper. Nokia, the world’s largest mobile-phone company, will gain digital maps of 69 countries. Based in Chicago, Navteq maintains digital maps that it licenses to global positioning systems and websites. “I am overwhelmed with Nokia’s global outreach,” Green said. “They have close to a billion handsets in use around the world.” The article said Navteq’s map business will operate as an independent unit, and that Green will remain in Chicago.

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