Alumni Connections - No. 52 - November 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

AT&T Inc.
Jaime Chico Pardo, '74, has joined the board of directors. The communications holding company is based in Dallas. Chico is chairman of Telmex and Carso Global Telecom, S.A.B. de C.V. and co-chairman of IDEAL, a firm that invests and manages infrastructure assets in Latin America.

Beam Global Spirits & Wine, Inc.
Robert Probst, '93, has been appointed senior vice president and CFO. The liquor company is headquartered in Deerfield, Illinois.

B. Riley & Co.
Dan Whang, '96, has joined as senior analyst. The Los Angeles-based firm offers investment banking and consulting services.

The Brattle Group
Robert Mudge, '88, has joined as a principal. Based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the firm provides consulting and expert testimony in economics and finance to corporations, law firms, and public agencies.

Broadwind Energy, Inc.
Peter Dawes, '98 (XP-67), has been appointed president, service platform. The company owns and positions companies that make, install, and maintain components for energy and infrastructure-related industries, particularly wind energy. It is based in Manitowoc, Wisconsin.

Caribou Coffee Company, Inc.
Timothy Hennessy, '94, has been named CFO. The Minneapolis-based company operates gourmet coffeehouses throughout the United States.

CRA International, Inc.
Rich Patrick, '88, has joined as vice president, chemicals and petroleum practice, in Houston. The management consulting company is headquartered in Boston.

Credit Agricole SA
Bernard Mary, '96 (EXP-1), has been appointed joint deputy CEO. Based in Paris, the banking firm also offers specialized financial services and asset management insurance.

Eaton Corporation
Anoop Nanda, '04, has been promoted from director of material management to head/director of integration in the electrical group. He will be based in Taipei, Taiwan. The leading diversified industrial manufacturer is headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio.

Eaton Vance Corp.
Stephen Kaszynski, '80, has joined as institutional portfolio manager for the large-cap value team. The investment management firm is based in Boston.

Examination Management Services, Inc.
Robert Miller, '98 (XP-67), has been named managing director of underwriting services. The life insurance underwriter is headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Flight Options
Julie Boland, '93, has been named CFO. The Cleveland-based company offers luxury private air travel.

General Nutrition Centers, Inc.
Michael Nuzzo, '98, has joined as executive vice president and CFO. Based in Pittsburgh, the company is the largest global specialty retailer of nutritional products.

Initiative for a New Economy
Warren Bacon, '71, has been appointed senior project manager. The Boston-based nonprofit organization advocates supplier development to help businesses in Massachusetts owned by people of color.

Journey Group plc
Gijs de Reuver, '98, has been appointed a nonexecutive director. Based in Middlesex, England, the company supplies products and services to the travel industry. De Reuver is a partner with Cycladic Capital.

Keais Records Service, Inc.
Warren Walker, '01, has been named director of strategy and acquisitions. The Houston-based company specializes in retrieving medical records for the legal and insurance industries.

Howard Polinski, '08 (EXP-13), has been promoted from director to partner in the firm's Moscow office. The major accounting and consulting firm has world headquarters in Amsterdam.

Kathy Porterfield, '78, has been named managing partner of the Seattle office. The company is the United States member firm of KPMG International.

Lattice Semiconductor
Sean Riley, '92, has joined as corporate vice president and general manager of high density solutions. Based in Hillsboro, Oregon, the company makes programmable chips for circuit boards.

Palladon Ventures Ltd.
Leonard Sojka, AB'82, MBA '86, has been elected to the board of directors. Based in Salt Lake City, the company mines for iron in Iron County, Utah, and invests in a portfolio of gold exploration projects in Nevada, Utah, and Argentina. Sojka is an analyst and portfolio manager with SVR Capital, LLC.

PRTM Management Consultants
Francois Soubien, '06 (EXP-11), has been promoted to director. He will continue to be based in the consulting firm's Paris office. The company is headquartered in Mountain View, California.

Raising Cane's Chicken Fingers
Carey Carrington, '79, has been appointed CFO. Headquartered in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the company is one of the fastest growing restaurant chains in the United States.

Sears Holdings Corporation
Michelle Pearlman, '99, has joined as president, jewelry, and senior vice president. The major retailer is headquartered in Hoffman Estates, Illinois.

U.S. RE Securities, LLC
Gregory Nelson, '01, has been named senior vice president. Based in Pearl River, New York, the firm is the investment banking arm of U.S. RE Companies, Inc.

William Blair & Company
John Salvino, '06, was named a principal and will serve as a liaison to the equity research department at the Chicago-based financial advisory firm. Along with his father and brother, who also work at William Blair, the Salvino Financial Advisory Team manages customized investment portfolios for individuals, families, trusts, and endowments.

Alumni to Know

Tracing the series of events that lead to the present credit crisis, a New York Times article went back to 2004 and the decision by five members of the Securities and Exchange Commission to loosen capital rules for large firms. At the time, the lone dissenting voice to the commission's unanimous vote was consultant and risk management expert Leonard Bole, AB '69, MBA '82 (XP-49), said the article. Bole writes computer programs that financial institutions use to meet capital requirements and his two-page letter to the commission on January 22, 2004 went unheeded. "I'm a little guy in the land of giants. I thought that the reduction in capital was rather dramatic," Bole told the Times. He warned that the computer models run by the firms and used by the regulators would fail to anticipate severe market turbulence, saying that a similar computer standard failed to protect companies from the market plunge of October 1987.

Cofounders of Shoreline Capital Management, Benjamin Fanger, MBA '05, JD '05, and Xiaolin Zhang, '04, discuss their firm's success with distressed assets in China in a September 10 article in the Wall Street Journal. Fanger, who is managing director, said the firm closed on its debut fund of $172.8 million in June. The company took on four portfolios of nonperforming loans from Chinese banks and an investment in an unfinished property development project, the article said. With foreign capital going to large cities in China, Shoreline aims for second-tier cities for real estate dealings, Fanger said. "Spreads are much better [in smaller towns]," he told the newspaper.

Jeff Kautz, '96, comanager of the Janus MidCap Value Fund, talks about the company's investment process in a September 11 article in the Washington Post. The fund primarily invests in stocks undervalued based on earnings or other financial measures, the article said. Looking for companies with strong recurring cash flow has paid off, as takeovers and bids for five companies in the fund have helped to stem losses this year, the article said. "We view it as confirmation of our process," Kautz said. "If Wall Street isn't going to recognize the inherent value in these companies, a strategic or financial buyer can come in and do it for us."

A September 29 feature in Forbes described how Applied Finance Group under cofounders Daniel Obrycki, '91, and Rafael Resendes, '94, "aims neither for hot growth stocks nor for dirt-cheap value ones. Its sweet spot is in between." AFG looks for companies that are "cheap relative to their growth prospects," the article said. It quoted Resendes: "We'd rather bet on a firm's profits turning down than consistently beating the market." The article also mentions his love of a different type of betting: "Resendes, a recreational poker player who hosts a Las Vegas poker tournament for his clients each year, likens stock picking to betting on the mighty New England Patriots. The team might be worth wagering on if bookies lay odds it will win by 14 points. But even the Pats are a lousy bet with a 50-point spread."

Federal Housing Secretary Steve Preston, '85, has his hands full with the national housing crisis. Still, some people are urging him to run for Illinois governor, said a September 25 article in the Chicago Tribune. "I haven't ruled anything out, but I am really very, very heavily focused on the job at hand in Washington," Preston told the Tribune's editorial board. "I'd be doing a disservice to the people I serve and the people who put me in the job if I were spending much time doing anything else." While some Republican leaders said Preston is not well known in Illinois, the article said, other Republican leaders said he could be the "political outsider that the state GOP badly needs."

Investment banker Byron Trott, AB '81, MBA '82, prefers to work behind the scenes, but an October 7 article in the New York Times put him in the spotlight. Vice chairman of investment banking at Goldman Sachs, Trott is the one man in his industry that has the ear of Warren Buffett, according to the article. The partnership between the two started earlier in the decade when Trott came to Buffett, investor and chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, with smart deals the yielded high returns. "He understands Berkshire far better than any investment banker with whom we have talked and-it hurts me to say this-earns his fee," Buffett wrote in his 2003 letter to the shareholders. Most recently, the article noted, Trott helped pair Berkshire with candymaker Mars for the $23 billion acquisition of the Wrigley Company for one of the biggest deals of the year.

GM CFO Ray Young, '86, was featured in a September 21 article in the Detroit Free Press about how top GM execs first learned about the company. Young recollected his father's Buick Wildcat, a GM car. "My parents, being Chinese immigrants, they always liked things big," Young said in the article. Young admitted to having thought that GM was a stodgy company run by an old, homogenous people. When interviewing at Chicago Booth, he learned differently, he said. Now he drives a company car.

CEO Watch: Taking the Lead

Christopher Cooper, '96
Chairman and CEO, international investments business
Prudential Financial, Inc.

Cooper, a 10-year veteran of the firm, was head of wealth management and international investments before he was named chairman and CEO of the business.

John Lane, '71
President and CEO
New Art Trust

Lane has joined the nonprofit organization, which is based in San Francisco. The group promotes technology-based art forms, especially media arts, in the collections of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Tate Modern, London; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; and the Bay Area Video Coalition, San Francisco.

CEO Watch: Making Headlines

Steven Davis, '83
Bob Evans

In an August 31 article in the New York Times, Davis said becoming a chief executive was something he listed on a job application as a 20-year goal after he had graduated from Chicago Booth. He attained that goal in 2006. He also achieved a 10-year goal of being a president of a Fortune 500 company within 10 years. Along the way, joining Kraft Foods as a brand assistant, he got to work with three future CEOs, including James Kilts, '74. "You can only imagine the education I got from these incredible business leaders," Davis told the Times.

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