Alumni Connections - No. 38 - September 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

Abu Dhabi National Energy Company PJSC
Eva Janssens, ’98,
has been appointed head of treasury and corporate finance. The global energy investment company is headquartered in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

Chirag Pancholi, ’06,
has joined as director of strategy. Headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee, the firm provides such customer contact and support services as wireless roadside assistance and wireless handsets insurance programs.

Barclays Capital
Ted Iantuono, ’93,
has joined as managing director and cohead of U.S. financial sponsor coverage. The investment bank is based in New York.

Best Buy Co., Inc.
David Hemler, ’97,
has been promoted to the newly created position of president of Best Buy for Business, a unit that sells to business, education, and government customers. Previously, Hemler was vice president of sales and operations. Best Buy is headquartered in Richfield, Minnesota.

Circuit City Stores, Inc.
Bruce Besanko, ’92,
has been named executive vice president and CFO of the consumer electronics retailer, which is headquartered in Richmond, Virginia.

Crescent Gold Limited
Jose Garcia Esteban, ’02,
has been appointed to the board of directors. Headquartered in Perth, Australia, the gold mining company has a strategic alliance with Deutsche Bank AG London, where Esteban is vice president of structured products.

Deloitte & Touche USA LLP
Gregory Durant, ’88,
has been named regional managing partner for the northeast division, the accounting firm’s largest region. The company is headquartered in New York. Durant is global lead client service partner for one of Deloitte’s largest financial service clients.

Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago
William Dodds Jr., ’76,
has been appointed to the board of directors and will serve on the risk management and personnel and compensation committees. Headquartered in Chicago, the government-sponsored wholesale bank provides housing finance to commercial banks, savings institutions, credit unions, and insurance companies in the Seventh Federal Home Loan District of Illinois and Wisconsin. Dodds is executive vice president and treasurer of The Northern Trust Company in Chicago.  

Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
K. C. Chan, MBA ’81, PhD ’85,
has been appointed Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury. As such, he is one of the Hong Kong chief executive’s 12 cabinet ministers. Chan has taken leave from his post as dean of the school of business and management at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

Investment Industry Association of Canada
Kirby Gavelin, ’87,
has been appointed to the board of directors. Headquartered in Toronto, the association lobbies for regulatory and public policy issues. Gavelin is managing director and head of equity capital markets, Canada, for RBC Capital Markets, which also is headquartered in Toronto.

Kurt Rajewski, ’97,
has been promoted to global project manager from manager of financial planning and analysis. Headquartered in Itasca, Illinois, the firm makes solder pastes, core wires, and other interconnecting materials for the electronics industry.

Maroon Analytics
Richard Ayres, ’07 (AXP-6); Barry Jones, ’07 (AXP-6);
and Steven Orpurt, MBA ’89, PhD ’04,have founded the consulting firm, which is based in Singapore. “Our goal is to roll out the Chicago method commercially in Asia, hence the name,” said Jones.

Mattel, Inc.
Vasant Prabhu, ’83,
has been elected to the board of directors, effective September 1. The toy-making company is based in El Segundo, California. Prabhu is executive vice president and CFO for Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.

Morningstar, Inc.
Kunal Kapoor, ’04,
has been named president of Morningstar Investment Services, Inc., a subsidiary of the Chicago-based independent investment research firm Morningstar. Kapoor previously was director of business strategy for  international operations. Joe Mansueto, AB ’78, MBA ’80, Morningstar chairman and CEO, said Kapoor last year played a significant role in the firm’s acquisition of Aspect Huntley in Australia and Standard & Poor’s mutual fund data business.

Neuberger Berman Equity Research
Robert Corman, ’82,
has been appointed to the head position. The research arm works alongside portfolio management. Corman had been portfolio manager for the Focus Fund, which will now be driven by the Neuberger Berger Equity Research organization. Based in New York, Neuberger Berman is a subsidiary of Lehman Brothers Holding Inc.

OneAccord Corporation
Jim Fisher, ’72,
has been named partner, joining the firm’s senior sales and marketing leadership team. Headquartered in Seattle, the firm provides sales and marketing professional services.

Orbitz Worldwide
Marsha Williams, ’76,
has joined as senior vice president and CFO. The global online travel company is based in Chicago.

Rackspace Managed Hosting
Doug Loewe, ’02 (EXP-7),
has joined as managing director, Europe, Middle East, and Africa. Headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, the company provides web infrastructure and management to businesses of all sizes.

SkyBridge Capital, LLC
Scott Prince, ’91,
has joined as managing partner. The New York–based firm provides seed money and other services to new hedge funds.

Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal
Kelli Toronyi, ’04 (XP-73),
has joined as a partner in the executive compensation practice group in the firm's Chicago office.

Sylvan Source
John Van Dyke Jr., ’69,
has been named vice president of sales and business development. Based in Sunnyvale, California, the company makes water-cleaning systems for home and industrial use.

Teachers’ Retirement System of the State of Illinois
Juan Lopez Jr., ’07,
has joined as investment officer. The pension system is based in Springfield, Illinois.

XL Capital Ltd
Brian Nocco, ’77,
has been appointed executive vice president and CFO. An insurance and reinsurance firm, it is based in Hamilton, Bermuda.

XLNT Veterinary Care, Inc.
Steven Johnson, ’76,
has been appointed president, chief operating officer, and a member of the board of directors. Based in Los Gatos, California, the company owns and runs 26 veterinary hospitals in that state.

Zila, Inc.
O. B. Parrish, ’59,
has been named to the board of directors and has joined the audit committee. Zila is an oral cancer screening company headquartered in Phoenix. Parrish is chairman and CEO of the Chicago-based Female Health Company, developer of the first female condom.

Alumni to Know

Jack Dziak, ’88, senior vice president, strategy, for Sprint Nextel, said in a July 9 Washington Post profile that one of his main strengths is the ability to “take extremely complex technologies and winnow those down into a set of actionable capabilities and strategies—things that are going to show benefit to customers and employees.” He attributes that strength to “a very highly analytic academic training in finance, regulatory economics, and statistics, which taught me how to think in a very structured fashion.” Dziak started as a consultant after getting his MBA and worked on telecommunications privatizations in 15 to 20 different countries, he told the Post. In 2003 Dziak joined MCI and worked with a leadership team to pull the company out of bankruptcy.

Ayman Halawani, ’00, a former investment banker, is now a movie producer intent on bringing Arab films to international markets, according to the July issue of Egypt Today magazine. Halawani was invited to become general manager of film production at Rotana Group by Saudi Prince Al-Waleed Bin Talal in 2004. The production company is based in Cairo. “We plan to be part of the Cannes’ Film Market every year to seek new distribution peripherals for our films and also make new coproduction agreements with international filmmakers,” Halawani told the magazine. In starting the company, Halawani said he discovered that two distribution companies were trying to “take over the market by force. According to my previous financial experience, this strategy has never worked before.” Instead, his company chose to partner with various producers and distributors and befriend even competing conglomerates on the Egyptian market.

Stephen Hughes, ’78, is part of a team of former food and beverage executives who hope to capitalize on the trans fat ban, which is spreading to major cities. The team created Boulder Specialty Brands in 2005 and recently acquired Smart Balance, which produces non-trans fat oil, margarine, and other products, said a June 29 article in the New York Sun. Hughes told the newspaper he is marketing the company’s cooking oil not just to consumers but also to restaurants and large-scale operations. The article cited Nielsen Market Track statistics, which show Smart Balance has a 13 percent share in the nationwide margarine market and a 19.7 percent share in New York City, the first major city to enact a trans fat ban. “The nicotine of the American food diet is trans fat,” Hughes told the Sun. “This is a business in the crosshairs of a major consumer trend.” He said there is a “perfect storm of public awareness and urgency to find an alternative.”

Avraham Rabby, ’69, the U.S. State Department’s first blind diplomat, has retired. He was profiled in the New York Times on July 7. “People ask me how I can assess a political rally if I can’t see it,” said Rabby, who lost his sight at age 8 because of detached retinas. “I tell them that I listen to the crowd and to the speakers. You can sense what is going on.” Rabby was chief of the political section at the American Embassy in Port of Spain, Trinidad, for the last two years. He also has been stationed in London; Pretoria, South Africa; Washington DC; Lima, Peru; and New Delhi, India.

Tom Ricketts, AB ’87, MBA ’93, and his family are making a bid for the Chicago Cubs, said a July 12 article in the Chicago Tribune. Ricketts is founder and CEO of Chicago-based Incapital Holdings LLC. His family founded discount broker TD Ameritrade Holding Corp. The article said the Ricketts family is “keeping a low profile and working to burnish its credentials with the league, which has the right to veto any potential bidder.”

Ronald Stanley, ’78, deputy managing director at the Institute of International Finance, discusses his career in a July 2 profile in the Washington Post. Stanley has always been in banking, except for one notable time when he came off the board of US Airways to step in as CFO shortly after the company had entered bankruptcy. “It was obviously a difficult time for the company, and we needed to bring stability to the management team,” Stanley recalled. “We had to maintain liquidity and enough funds to finance the operation while we put the plan in place. It took just over a year, which was actually a very short time in the bankruptcy process compared to other airlines.” Despite “virtually insurmountable odds” at one point, “with the right people and the right attitude we were able to stay focused and pull out” of trouble, he said.

Peter Yam, ’84 (XP-53), has worked his way up to president of Emerson, greater China, and chairman of Emerson Electric (China) Holdings, having been with the same employer since 1986, said a June 30 article in the South China Morning Post. Staying at the same company “helped me to build a thorough understanding of the business over the years and to foster trust and relationships,” Yam said. “The continuous learning process allowed me to grow along with the company and has been an inspiring and challenging journey.” The company, founded in the United States in 1890, now has 30 legal entities in China, most of them factories concentrated in the Pearl River Delta and Shanghai’s hinterland, the Post said.

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