Alumni Connections - No. 53 - December 2008

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

Academic Approach
Maureen Perou, ’89,
has joined as chief marketing officer. The company, which helps students prepare for standardized testing, has offices in Chicago, New York, and Boston.

American International Group, Inc.
David Herzog, ’95,
has been promoted to executive vice president and CFO. He was senior vice president and comptroller of the New York–based global insurance and financial firm.

Allegheny Energy, Inc.
Kirk Oliver, ’85,
has joined as senior vice president and CFO. Headquartered in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, the firm is an investor-owned electric utility that provides service to Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland, and Virginia.

Qingtong Zhou, ’04,has been appointed to the board of directors. The telecom software company is headquartered in Beijing with a primary office in Santa Clara, California. Zhou is CFO of greater Russia and China for Lenovo Group Limited.

Avian Securities
Catharine Trebnick, ’96 (XP-65),
has been appointed senior research analyst. The institutional brokerage firm is headquartered in Boston.

Caterpillar, Inc.
Jiming Zhu, ’01,
will lead the newly formed China division. Based in Peoria, Illinois, Caterpillar is the world’s largest manufacturer of construction and mining equipment.

Chicago Transit Authority
Ken G Kabira, AB ’85, MBA ’92,
has been named executive vice president and chief marketing officer. The CTA, an independent government agency, is the nation’s second largest public transportation system. The CTA is headed by CEO Ron Huberman, MBA ’00, AM ’00.

College of American Pathologists
Charles Roussel, ’88,
has been selected as executive vice president. Based in Northfield, Illinois, the medical society serves more than 17,000 physician members and advocates for high quality and cost-effective medical care.

Corus Bankshares Inc.
Michael Dulberg, ’98,
has been promoted to CFO and executive vice president from senior accounting officer. The bank holding company is headquartered in Chicago.

Credit Suisse Group
Steven Kwok, ’97,has joined as a managing director of private equity in greater China. The global banking giant is headquartered in Zurich.

CyDex Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
James Gale, ’77,
has been elected chairman of the board. The specialty pharmaceutical company is based in Lenexa, Kansas. Gale is the founding partner of Signet Healthcare Partners.

Electronic Ink
Patrick Blake, ’94,
has joined as senior vice president of business development. The Philadelphia-based firm works to improve the design and usability of software and browser-based applications.

Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company
Greg Meyer, ’88,
has been appointed senior vice president, product management, for the personal insurance division. The property and casualty insurance company is based in Novato, California.

General Nutrition Centers, Inc.
Michael Nuzzo, ’98,
has joined as executive vice president and CFO. The Pittsburgh-based company is the largest nationwide specialty retailer of nutrition supplements, operating more than 5,000 retail outlets.

Interline Brands
Kenneth Sweder, ’00,
has been promoted to executive vice president and chief operating officer. He joined the firm in April 2007 as chief merchandising officer. Headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida, the firm markets and distributes plumbing, electrical, hardware, security hardware, and other related products.

Morgan Keegan & Co.
Duncan Dashiff, ’94,
has joined as managing director. Dashiff will lead the Nashville team. The Memphis-based firm is the investment and securities brokerage, trust, and asset management division of Birmingham, Alabama–based Regions Financial Corp.

Norwest Venture Partners
Sohil Chand, ’00,
has joined the Mumbai office as a managing director. The global technology venture capital firm is headquartered in Palo Alto, California.

Post Properties
Dale Anne Reiss, ’70,
has been named director. The Atlanta-based firm offers resort-style garden apartments and high-density urban apartments in multiple markets across the country.

Royal Neighbors of America
Brian Haynes, ’91,
has been named treasurer and CFO. The life insurance company is based in Rock Island, Illinois.

Robert Sevim, ’06,
has been promoted to associate branch manager of the Chicago office. He had been promoted to senior managing director earlier this year. The commercial real estate firm is headquartered in New York.

TI Automotive
Tim Knutson, ’94,
has been named CFO. Based in Warren, Michigan, the company makes fluid systems for automobile manufacturers.

Tygris Commercial Finance
Lawrence Hund, ’90 (XP-59),
has joined as CFO. The financial company is based in New York.

VTB Capital
Andrey Solovyev, ’98,
has been appointed global head of debt capital markets in the global banking department. The Moscow-based firm is the investment business of VTB Group.

Weyerhaeuser Company
Betsy Seaton, MBA ’86, JD ’86,
has been promoted to vice president, strategic planning. She has held a variety of management positions of increasing responsibility since joining the company in 1992. Based in Federal Way, Washington, the company makes building products, paper, and packaging.

W.W. Grainger, Inc.
Michael Pulick, ’94,
has been promoted to senior vice president, industrial supply, from senior vice president for customer service. Based in Lake Forest, Illinois, the company distributes products and services used to maintain facilities.
David Goldberg, ’95,
has been appointed chief operating officer. The online horse racing and betting company is based in Woodland Hills, California.

Alumni to Know

The three-term treasurer of Delaware, Democrat Jack Markell, ’85, has won the race for governor, beating Republican Bill Lee, a retired judge who made his third bid for the seat, according to a November 4 story by the Associated Press. Markell, who will succeed term-limited Governor Ann Minner, made history in the spring primary, according to AP. “Bucking the Democratic Party establishment, Markell took on Lieutenant Governor John Carney in the most expensive gubernatorial primary in Delaware history and won with the help of campaign contributions form around the country. Between them, the two candidates spent more than $5 million,” AP wrote.

The story also noted that Markell “made his fortune helping to grow a small startup into telecommunications giant Nextel, a name he coined.” AP added, “As governor, Markell promises 25,000 new jobs by encouraging entrepreneurship and small business.”


Sathya Narayanaswamy, ’00, and his wife have launched an online Indian parenting community called Parentree. It was listed as one as the “hottest startups in the country” by TATA NEN (National Entrepreneurship Network), according to a November 4 article in the Times of India. “When we returned to Chennai with our children, we were lost,” Narayanaswamy said in the article. “We had questions on everything from what’s a good playschool to day trips for children and found that the best and most practical answers we got were from other parents in our son’s class. That’s when it struck us—why not share this information with all the parents out there who were also looking for answers?” In a November 4 article in Businessworld, Narayanaswamy discusses setting up a company during a period of economic slowdown: “In a downturn, quality becomes increasingly important as the sheen wears off the pretenders. At Parentree, where we deliver a high quality experience, we will find it easier to get our message across to our community and eventually our customers.”

Pete Peterson, ’51, discussed the credit crisis in a September 23 interview on National Public Radio’s Morning Edition. Peterson said the solution will need to be more creative than the formation of the Resolution Trust Corporation in the aftermath of the savings and loan crisis of the 1980s.



In an October 7 article in Daily Vanguard, Craig Robinson, ’91, Oregon State head basketball coach, discussed how he would be stumping for his brother-in-law, now President-elect Barack Obama. “The things that the campaign has asked me to do have been timely with my schedule and have been fun to do,” Robinson said. “I get to do the easy stuff. I don’t have to debate anybody. The only challenging part is you don’t have enough time to tell as many people as you want to the story of Barack Obama.”


Janet Tavakoli, ’81, has written two new books, both published by John Wiley & Sons. One is called Dear Mr. Buffett: What an Investor Learns 1,269 Miles from Wall Street. The jacket cover states, “Janet Tavakoli takes you into the world of Warren Buffett by way of the recent global credit and mortgage loan crisis. In correspondence and discussion with him over three years, they both saw the writing on the wall. Dear Mr. Buffett is a witty, well-told account of how principle triumphs over greed and panic, and is a must-read for all those seeking the timeless wisdom that has beaten, and continues to beat, the market.” The other book is Structured Finance & Collateralized Debt Obligations.

CEO Watch: Taking the Lead

Stephen Harris, ’91
Chief Executive Designate
Bodycote Plc

Harris will take over as CEO in the first quarter of 2009. The specialist thermal processing company is headquartered in Macclesfield, United Kingdom.

William Osborne, ’01 (XP-70)
President and CEO
Federal Signal

Osborne is the first African American CEO of the safety equipment firm, which is based in Oak Brook, Illinois. Previously, he was president and CEO of Ford Canada.

Jeffrey Stone, ’03
President and CEO
Tiburon, Inc.

Based in Pleasanton, California, the software company specializes in products for public safety and justice organizations. It is a division of CompuDyne Corporation.

CEO Watch: Making Headlines

Bart Becht, ’82
Reckitt Benckiser

Purveyor of household and personal care products, the company announced a 10 percent increase in like-for-like sales growth in its third quarter and a 12 percent jump in pretax profits to £373 million, according to an October 29 article in The Times of London. “That will be our second-best year since the merger (with Reckitt & Colman),” Brecht told The Times. “This year has been exceptional.” Despite the downturn in the economy, “I would say we are well positioned in our markets. I know this because we are selling basic necessities. In terms of downtrading, we have not really seen it in our portfolio and we have certainly not lost any share.”

Charlie Cannon Jr., ’82
John Bean Technologies Corp.

Cannon discussed the spin-off of John Bean Technologies, which makes equipment for the food processing and air transportation industries, from Chicago-based FMC Technologies in an October 22 article in the Chicago Sun-Times. “We’re a good real-life example of the trend toward de-conglomerization,” Cannon said. “By becoming independent we can focus on building our two premier positions in global markets, and our free cash flow can be channeled purely into the high priorities in those categories.” The two positions are food processing and world airports.

Brady Dougan, AB ’81, MBA ’82
Credit Suisse Group

A September 22 article in the South China Morning Post reported that “Dougan said the bank had escaped the worst of the credit crunch by not following the crowd. Two years ago, it ordered a 40 percent cut in its subprime portfolio at a time when other banks were still taking on more.” As a result Credit Suisse doesn’t have to concern itself with massive layoffs, the article said. “Credit Suisse has managed our business through the financial crisis over the past 12 to 18 months pretty well,” Dougan said. “We are profitable and are one of the best capitalized groups. This reinforces that we have chosen the right approach and business model.”

Scott Griffith, ’90
Chairman and CEO

In a first-person piece in the November 2 New York Times, Griffith said he drew inspiration to find and follow his passion from his oncologist’s love of his job. After Griffith successfully battled Hodgkin’s disease, he got involved in two start-ups. One was as chief executive of Digital Goods, which had the right to distribute an e-book of the novella Riding the Bullet by Stephen King, the article said. “The company folded and I began wondering if book publishing would be the next steel industry,” which Griffith had watched decline through his high school years in Pittsburgh. “It was a very good idea, perhaps ten years early.” Eventually Griffith was drawn to the job at Zipcar, a car-sharing service for city dwellers, “because I think it will influence how people think about city life,” he said.

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