Alumni Connections - No. 57 - April 2009

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

Alpha Natural Resources, Inc.
Philip Cavatoni, '91, has joined in the newly created position of treasurer and executive vice president, finance and strategy. Based in Abingdon, Virginia, the company supplies coal to electric utilities, steel producers, and heavy industry.

American Water Works Company, Inc.
William Patterson, '78, has been named senior vice president of corporate and business development. Based in Voorhees, New Jersey, the company is the largest investor-owned water and wastewater utility company in the United States.

Aon Consulting Worldwide
David Sult, '92, has joined as senior vice president for the corporate transactions practice. The global human capital consulting firm is headquartered in Chicago.

Aveus, LLC
Joanne McGowan, '83, has been named owner/partner. Headquartered in St. Paul, Minnesota, the company offers strategy and operational change consultancy. McGowan will be based in Chicago.

BNY ConvergEx Group, LLC
Nicholas Colas, '91, has been appointed chief market strategist. The New York-based firm offers brokerage and investment technology to institutional clients. Colas also is director of research for BNY Jaywalk, the firm's independent equity research consultancy.

CME Group
Kevin Wenta, '91, has been named strategy execution director, a newly created post. The company owns the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.

Cole Taylor Bank
C. Bryan Daniels, '85, has joined the board of directors. The commercial bank is based in Chicago. Daniels is cofounder and principal of Prairie Capital, L.P.

Peter Maenhout, '07 (EXP-12), has joined as executive vice president. The venture capital firm is headquartered in Antwerp, Belgium.

Heineken N.V.
Michael O'Hare, '94, has been appointed group human resources director. The international brewer is headquartered in Amsterdam.

Informed Medical Communications
Raghu Raghunath, '02, has been appointed vice president, information technology. Based in Edison, New Jersey, the company is a marketing group of companies serving the biopharmaceutical industry.

Inlet Technologies
Michael Barros, '97, has joined as senior vice president of worldwide sales. The technology company is headquartered in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Ashish Sinha, '95, was named director in charge of off-shore strategy and execution after the Amsterdam-based audit, tax, and advisory services company bought his outsourcing company.

Medical Innovation & Business
Michael Zimpfer, '98 (EXP-3), has become co-editor of the online journal Medical Innovation & Business, which offers guidance and advice on the entrepreneurial business of drug and medical device development. Zimpfer is professor and chairman of the department of anesthesiology and critical care at the University of Vienna.

S7 Software
Ramesh Parameswaran, '99, has been appointed to the board of directors. The software firm has international headquarters in Bangalore. Parameswaran is founder and CEO of Nirvaha Inc.

UTEK Corporation
Doug Schaedler, '99, has been promoted to president from chief operating officer and chief compliance officer. Based in Tampa, the business development firm forms portfolio companies that license technologies developed at universities and research labs.

Valor Equity Partners
Benjamin Rodman, AB '86, MBA '93, has joined as managing director. The lower-middle-market private equity firm is based in Chicago.

Woodlawn Advisors
Alex Wohl, AB '91, MBA '95, founded the boutique brokerage firm, which caters to institutional accounts by creating and executing options-based risk management strategies. The company is based in Scarsdale, New York.

Alumni to Know

A "Spotlight" article in Crain's Chicago Business February 9 featured Karl Alleman, '91, who said he plans to add staff to expand his office despite the shrinking job market. Alleman is North American automotive and manufacturing practice leader at Egon Zehnder International A.G., an executive search firm in Chicago. "We still need to be fiscally prudent, but at the same time we are very much focused on the long term," he said. One resume gap: he hasn't worked abroad. "Clients are increasingly demanding global searches" for executive posts, Alleman told Crain's.

Andrew Alper, AB '80, MBA '81, has been elected to a three-year term as chairman of the University of Chicago Board of Trustees. Previously vice chairman, he will receive the gavel from current chairman James S. Crown at the end of the board's annual meeting on June 4. A member of the Council on Chicago Booth who co-chaired the business school's record-setting capital campaign, Alper is chairman of EQA Partners, L.P.

Tom Anderson, '05 (XP-74), was named to Barron's "Top 1000 Advisers." Anderson, wealth management adviser with Merrill Lynch, was featured in a cover story about the advisers in Barron's on February 9. Anderson has been with the firm since 2002 and in the securities industry since 1996.

Broadpoint Securities Group is buying Gleacher Partners LLC, a firm owned by Eric Gleacher, '67, for $68 million in cash and stock, according to a March 3 Dow Jones wire story. The article said Gleacher at first resisted, saying he failed to see a need to add sales and trading to his advisory and restructuring business – until Lehman Brothers collapsed in September. "When the world changed in the fall, that's when my thinking changed," Gleacher said. "It took about 30 days once we decided it was an opportunity that we wanted to go after."

Jennifer O'Connell, '96, was profiled in the Boston Globe January 1 for the business she cofounded with husband. Intimate Surprises sells "mail-order gift bags for couples with a monthly theme designed to help couples rediscover their spark," the story said. "You finally get a little time together and you go out to dinner and you spend a lot of money and spend the whole time talking about the kids anyway," O'Connell told the Globe. "We wanted something people could use together in private, have fun, and feel closer to each other. It's an excuse and an opportunity to spend time together and be intimate." Three months in, with minimal advertising the company already had more than 120 subscribers, the article said.

Janet Tavakoli, '81, called the securitization process that led to the credit crisis "a massive Ponzi scheme with many players involved." The author of Dear Mr. Buffett: What an Investor Learns 1,269 Miles from Wall Street, she was interviewed about the subject of her book in a March 5 article in "At times you'd have the CDO [collateralized debt obligations] manager, an investment bank, and a hedge fund involved, all of them knowing they were doing the wrong thing. These people all wanted to get in on the fees, so they all went along with this stuff. Some of the CDO-squareds that came out in 2007 were nothing more than a way of avoiding acknowledging losses. It's a scandal." As for the future of securitization, Tavakoli said that "if we want to go back to using it as a tool of finance, we might have to bust up some existing securitizations. It might be unprecedented but we've already done a lot of unprecedented things."

CEO Watch: Making Headlines

David Booth, '71
Founder and CEO
Dimensional Fund Advisors
Booth was featured in an article about wealthy donors helping to give U.S. schools an edge in The Times of London. Booth's $300 million donation was the largest gift in the university's history and the largest to any business school in the world, the article noted. "I remember Professor [Eugene] Fama standing up on the first day of class and saying, 'This is the most practical course you will ever take,' and it turned out to be true," Booth told The Times. "By using the efficient market hypothesis, we have been able to document clearly that you do not have to try to outguess the market in order to have a good investment experience."

Brady Dougan, AB '81, MBA '82
Credit Suisse

Dougan said his firm has positioned itself well to ride out future financial volatility, according to a February 11 article in Swisster. The bank restructured and cut staff. While admitting the company "did not get everything right by any means," Dougan said in the article that the bank remains strong relative to the decimated industry.

Bernard Drury, '93 (XP-62)
President and CEO
Drury Capital, Inc. and Drury Capital, LLC

With his firm ending 2008 about 75 percent up, Drury has been garnering plenty of media attention. "Bernard V. Drury is a rarity on Wall Street: a hedge fund manager who is making money rather than losing it," said a November 9 article in the New York Times. Regarding competitors' recent losses, Drury commented in the article: "There's going to be, naturally, a lot of forms of disillusionment with hedge funds." One possible key to Drury's success: the firm relies on proprietary computer models to map trends. In a November 11 article in Opalesque Alternative Market Briefing, Drury pegged professor Robin Hogarth as a strong influence. "I entered that University of Chicago program as a grain trader, but I already was accustomed to creating and applying econometric models to evaluate grain pricing situations," Drury said. "The studies with Professor Hogarth increased my curiosity about the ways in which models, or expert systems, could be applied to situations such as trading." On a November 13 appearance on CNBC, Drury said the fund trades in about 70 markets, half in commodities and half in finance. He said earlier in the year the firm held long positions on commodities and then eventually "got short" at the right time, particularly on crude oil in July, using computer model trends.

Scott Griffith, '90

Griffith's success at turning around the car sharing company was featured in a March 10 article in New York Times Magazine. He said the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based firm was "close to missing payroll," when he joined. "There wasn't a sense that financial performance was important. Success was defined as 'change the world,' but we were losing more money on the bottom line than we were making on the top line, with no real sense of how it was ever going to work." Among his strategies: consolidation of scattered Zipcars into a single neighborhood with favorable demographics, curbside demonstrations of Zipcar's technology, and free memberships for merchants who displayed Zipcar pamphlets. The company expects to become profitable this year. "I wasn't opposed to the founder's mission, but you only get to change the world if you build a big company and make money," Griffith said. "We had to focus on the efficiency of capital."

Raj Majumder, '07
Founder and CEO

Majumder's online investment business "is all about the algorithm," he told The Economic Times in a February 13 article. The website features a questionnaire that assesses an investor's risk profile and aids the investor in finding appropriate stocks. He said the detailed questionnaire is crucial given that many people stick to stereotypes when asked about their risk appetite, the article said.

Robert Mariano, '87 (XP-56)
Chairman and CEO
Roundy's Supermarkets

Mariano's style and personal tastes were featured in a profile in the Minneapolis StarTribune February 17. Known as "Chairman Bob," his picture graces shopping bags of Roundy's Rainbow supermarkets and on television commercials for the stores, where customers recognize him, the article said. "People in the ad agency noticed my detailed and granular interest in the product, and that kind of got them thinking," Mariano said. "That's where they came up with the whole 'Chairman Bob,' because it was indeed how we ran the company." He characterized the company as being "in a very strong position," having prepaid some debt with plans to build new stores and remodel others.

Joseph Neubauer, '65
Chairman and CEO

Neubauer's firm was ranked number one in its industry in Fortune's list of World's Most Admired Companies for 2009 for the second year in a row. The magazine published the list in the March 16 issue. Holding a place at the top is nothing new for the professional service provider; it has ranked in the top three on the list every year since 1998, the article said. "We are pleased to be recognized once again as the leader in our industry, particularly among an increasingly competitive list of contenders," Neubauer said. "I am grateful to all of our employees around the world, whose contributions each day continue to drive our reputation for excellence, innovation, and integrity."

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