Alumni Connections - No. 65 - December 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

Arab Bank
Nemeh Sabbagh, ’76,
has been appointed executive general manager beginning January 17. The international bank is headquartered in Amman, Jordan.

Cambridge Associates LLC
Chi-Ho Song, ’95,
has been promoted to head of the Singapore office from managing director. Headquartered in Boston, the firm offers independent investment advice and research to institutional investors and private clients.

Steve Skalski, ’90,
has been named chief operating officer. A joint venture of Denver-based EchoStar and Hong Kong-based AsiaSat, the firm provides direct-to-home satellite services to Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, and other parts of Asia.

Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond
James Hayes, ’89,
has been named assistant vice president for the corporate planning department.

Ann Mukherjee, ’94,
has been promoted to chief marketing officer and senior vice president from group vice president of marketing. The snack food giant is based in Dallas. 

GC China Turbine Corp.
Chris Wadsworth, ’96,
has been appointed to the board of directors. Headquartered in Wuhan City of Hubei Province, China, the firm makes two-bladed wind turbines. Wadsworth is a founding partner of Ceyuan Ventures.

IBERIABANK Corporation
Lewis Rogers, ’76,
has been named executive vice president and internal audit manager. The multibank financial holding company is headquartered in Lafayette, Louisiana.

Kardol Quality Products
Sumner Saeks, ’87
, has been named chief operating officer. Headquartered in Lebanon, Ohio, the company makes masking paper products, chemicals, coatings, soaps, and waxes.

Maxim Group LLC
Echo Yinghui He, ’05,
has been appointed senior China analyst of the New York–based investment bank.

MedPoint Communications, Inc.
William Gatti, ’08,
has been named director, business development, for the marketing services group. Based in Evanston, Illinois, the communications and eMedia services company serves the biopharmaceutical industry.

MGP Ingredients, Inc.
Don Tracy, ’83,
has been appointed vice president of finance and CFO. Based in Atchison, Kansas, the company supplies ingredients derived from natural products that are used in distilled beverages, foods, and fuels.

MSC.Software Corporation
Jim Johnson, ’84,
has joined as CFO. MSC was recently acquired by Symphony, a strategic private equity firm based in Palo Alto, California.

Omnicare, Inc.
John Workman, ’85,
has been appointed executive vice president and CFO. The pharmaceutical company is based in Covington, Kentucky.

Playboy Enterprises, Inc.
Alex Vaickus, ’87,
has been promoted to the newly created position of president from vice president of the firm and president of global licensing. The firm, which publishes Playboy Magazine, is headquartered in Chicago.

Procter & Gamble
Manoj Kumar, ’07 (EXP-12),
has been named managing director, West Africa. The multinational giant makes products in such areas as personal care, household cleaning, laundry detergents, and prescription drugs. It is headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio.

D. Michael Donnelly, ’84 (XP-53),
has been promoted to president and general manager of the technical specialties division. Based in St. Louis, Missouri, the firm makes performance materials used in the automotive, architectural, transportation, and industrial markets.

Sterling Financial Corporation
William Eisenhart, ’76,
has been appointed nonexecutive chairman of the board of directors. The bank holding company is based in Spokane, Washington.

Syncora Holdings Ltd.
William Fitzgerald, ’88,
has been appointed to the board of directors. A financial guarantee insurance provider, it is based in Bermuda. Fitzgerald founded Global Infrastructure LLC.

Ky Phan, ’00,has joined as business development executive in the Southeast. The medical equipment management company is headquartered in Indianapolis.

Wells Fargo Insurance Services
Todd Wartchow, ’03,
has been named senior finance officer. The insurance brokerage is headquartered in Chicago.

Alumni to Know

Bob Bestani, ’75, is banking on his experience with such issues as the economy, energy, and foreign policy as he runs as a Republican candidate for Congress in New Hampshire’s first district. “No one running truly understands” those issues, he said in an October 13 article published by A visiting scholar at the Collaboratory for Research on Global Projects at Stanford University, Bestani has served as a deputy assistant secretary for international monetary affairs in the Department of the Treasury. He said he plans to push for lower taxes and smaller government. “With everything that is going on around them, taxpayers cannot bear the burden of higher taxes,” Bestani said. “The economy, by far, is the biggest challenge facing not only the citizens of New Hampshire, but also the entire nation. There is a palpable sense of nervousness in our economic markets and that same anxiety is certainly within individual businesses and people as well.”

“My philosophy is to do something special that can be challenging and fun,” said Andrew Bodner, ’82, president of Oxford Penacook Investments Inc. “My career has become one of doing the path less traveled,” he said in an October 26 profile in the Fairfield County (CT) Business Journal. Bodner has made a career in venture capital, turning tires into energy, real estate development, and building a tennis bubble. He also won a seat as selectman in the town hall of Ridgeland, Connecticut.

3G Capital Management’s name stands for “good business, good management, and good price,” said an October 26 article in Barron’s. “We look for well-managed businesses that are competitively entrenched, generate high returns on invested capital, and carry little debt,” said Pavel Begun, ’03, 3G cofounder. “Equally important, we are seeking to purchase these businesses at a significant discount to their intrinsic value. Normally, that entails purchasing those equities at eight to eleven times their normalized sustainable free cash flow.” The article said the fund has averaged annualized returns of 9.5 percent and 9.7 percent over three and five years, compared to Standard & Poor’s 500’s losses of 5.4 percent and gain of 1 percent over those same periods. “Although the fund suffered a 23 percent loss last year, 2009 is shaping up as a winner. Through September 30, it’s up 52.3 percent, versus a 19.3 percent gain by the S & P,” the article said.

Mark Carhart, PhD ’95, is seeking to raise $1 billion to start a new investment fund, according to an October 15 Reuters article published in HedgeWorld News. Carhart previously comanaged the Global Alpha fund at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. He has started to attend investor conferences, the article said. “I’m also taking a lot of calls from people who are interested,” he said.


American Red Cross aims to appeal to young people’s “sense of service and desire to be a part
of something bigger than themselves,” said chief marketing officer Peggy Dyer, ’80, in an October 5 profile in the Washington Post. “When I walk up our office steps in the morning, the motto on the building says ‘Dedicated to the Heroic Women of the Civil War,’” she said. “It inspires me every day, because I know the company is reaching out to help individuals daily, whether it’s sheltering the people of Atlanta who lost their homes due to flooding or encouraging and helping those who face the H1N1 flu strain.”

Rooster Dumpling & Noodle Bar, run by Andy Gartz, ’02, is a “small, modern restaurant that’s a natural place for people to mix-and-mingle with friends,” said an October 28 article in the Salt Lake
City Weekly.
Gartz told the reviewer that when he was at Chicago Booth, he and a friend blew their student loans on meals at Charlie Trotter’s and Rick Bayless’s restaurants in downtown Chicago. Rooster is located in Provo, Utah.

Stores can gain a competitive advantage only if they have at least three fully developed “strategic points of difference,” said Harold Lloyd, ’76, in an article he wrote for Progressive Grocer on October 21. “The fact is, domination in only one or two strategies can be catastrophic,” Lloyd said. He listed 25 alternative strategic points of difference and noted how struggling companies usually have failed to differentiate themselves on more than one point.

Brian Newman, ’00,has been seeking $250 million from institutional investors for the first fund of the new firm he’s launched, Ceres Real Estate Partners LLC, a spinoff of Madison Dearborn’s real estate operation, said a November 2 article in ChicagoBusiness. “My track record is really going to become the track record of that fund,” Newman said.


“Our fiscal policy is on an unsustainable course,” William Poole, MBA ’63, PhD ’66, said in an October 8 lecture reported in an October 16 Targeted News Service article. “How did this happen, and what can we do to stop it from happening again?” Poole’s lecture was sponsored by Widener Law’s Institute of Delaware Corporate and Business Law. Poole is a distinguished scholar in residence at the Alfred Lerner College of Business & Economics at University of Delaware. Poole called the financial collapse “not a failure of regulation, but rather a fundamental failure of economic analysis.” As for remedies, Poole suggested, “We can’t have a system where losses are socialized and gains are privatized.” Instead, creditors should be at risk to force them to maintain control, he said.

A television interview on WLS in Chicago featured Tom Ricketts, AB ’87, MBA ’93, and his family, new owners of the Chicago Cubs. Ricketts will be chairman of the board of the Cubs organization. “It’s a different type of ownership we have here,” he said. “It’s not a corporate owner. We’re able to focus on one goal, which is the World Series. We’re able to reinvest the profits that we make from the team to fix up the stadium and improve the team.”

CEO Watch: Taking the Lead

Phil Harrington, ’69
Founder and CEO
ICM Document Solutions
Harrington previously served as president of the Phoenix-based company, which offers such services as scanning and conversion, engineering, and Web-based document management.

CEO Watch: Making Headlines

Vicki Avril, ’83
President and CEO
TMK Ipsco
Avril discussed the climate for operating mills in a November 1 article in American Metal Market. Based in Downers Grove, Illinois, her company makes seamless and welded pipes. “You want a cold winter, you want the economy to pick up, and you want imports to slow down,” Avril said. “And if you get all three, it would provide us a very favorable outlook here.” Avril’s mill is one of several to take action against Chinese shipments of oil country tubular goods, standard line, and pressure pipe, the article said.

Sean Harper, ’09
Transparent Financial Services
The Chicago-based online comparison-shopping service for businesses has been awarded a grant from the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center to support the company’s national expansion, according to an October 13 Market Wire news service article. TransFS was created while its founders were attending Chicago Booth and incubated at the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship, the article said. “In our previous businesses, we couldn’t accept the excessive credit card processing fees we were paying, and we were stunned at how hard it was to shop for alternatives,” Harper said. “We became passionate about finding a way to solve this problem that we shared with countless other merchants, and the market response confirms that TransFS provides a solution.”

Luis Miranda, ’89
IDFC Private Equity
The firm could raise its fourth fund for large infrastructure projects in India in late 2010, according to an October 7 Reuters article. The company is India’s largest infrastructure-focused fund. “There are tremendous investment opportunities,” Miranda told Reuters. “The challenge is valuation.” India’s stock index has risen 75 percent this year, causing a strong investor response. “Certainly, valuations are so high and investor appetite is so strong that people will say, ‘I’d rather list my company rather than being stuck with a stupid private equity company on my board trying to tell me how to run the company,’” Miranda said.

David Muscatel, ’96
Rand McNally
The Skokie, Ilinois–based mapmaker is heading into the digital age under Muscatel’s direction, according to an October 9 column in the Chicago Tribune. “Muscatel wants to cut printing and shipping costs by consolidating maps, reducing products from thousands to hundreds,” the column said. He is expanding products for truckers and shippers, “who maintain a strong allegiance to the Rand McNally brand”. Long term, Muscatel also is considering a 3-D, virtual reality-type “video-game-style travel experience using motion-sensor technology,” the Tribune said.

Mark Robinson, AB ’83, MBA ’84
Citi South Asia
The company plans to expand in India by opening more branches, Robinson told The Hindu Business Line in a November 2 article. “We have been here for over a hundred years,” Robinson said. “We have been investing all of our net income and profits from India in the country itself. We will continue to do that in the foreseeable future. We want to grow as fast as we can prudently grow in this country.” The bank also is committed to microfinance. “In India, we have a team of five people dedicated full-time to microfinance. We are just going to continue to grow that area,” Robinson said.

John Watson, ’80
Chairman and CEO
Chevron Corporation
Watson, whose promotion from vice chairman takes effect on December 31, delivered remarks to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that were published on October 27 by the Financial Market Regulatory Wire. Part of his lengthy talk focused on domestic oil exploration. “In just the past 25 years, America’s oil production has fallen by nearly 4 million barrels a day,” he said. “That’s the equivalent of taking a major producing country’s supply off the world market. And over the same 25-year period, U.S. demand grew by nearly 4 million barrels a day. And how have we met all that extra demand? By importing still more from other countries. Even with the most ambitious targets for fuel-efficient cars and more use of biofuels, the United States is still going to be importing about 8 million barrels of oil a day in 2030.” Watson said taxing producers will “hinder development and leave America even more dependent on foreign sources.”

Submit information about yourself or fellow alumni to