Alumni Connections - No. 60 - July 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

Analysis Group, Inc.
D. Lee Heavner, PhD ’98, has been promoted to managing principal of securities and antitrust specialist in the Boston-based consulting firm’s Los Angeles office. Heavner joined the firm in 2003 and has directed the support of expert witnesses in numerous finance and antitrust matters.

Argonne National Laboratory
Matthew Howard, ’07 (XP-76), has been named director of communications and public affairs. He joined the U.S. Department of Energy laboratory in 2007 as manager of special initiatives; the following year, he was appointed interim director of communications and public affairs.

Bioheart, Inc.
Mark Borman, ’87, has been appointed an independent member of the board of directors and will serve on the audit committee. The biotechnology company is based in Sunrise, Florida, and develops devices to monitor, diagnose, and treat heart failure and cardiovascular diseases. Borman most recently served as vice president, investor relations, and treasurer of ADC Telecommunications.

Banks Baker, ’05, has been named vice president, marketing. The Dallas-based company is the largest in the country club market.

Cook Associates M&A Advisory Services
Neil Midler, ’02, has joined as managing director. Headquartered in Chicago, the company provides investment banking and acquisition search services to private equity firms.

District of Columbia Commission on Human Rights
Nimesh Patel, ’03, has been elected vice chairman. Based in Washington DC, the organization is charged with enforcing the district’s human rights act through adjudication of private sector complaints, issuance of regulations, and public outreach. Patel is an attorney at Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP.

Gulf Oil
Ron Sabia, ’89, has been promoted to president. He continues to serve as chief operating officer at the company, one of the Northeast’s largest wholesalers of refined petroleum products. It is headquartered in Newton, Massachusetts.

Indochina Capital Vietnam Holdings Limited
Eric Brock, ’97, has been appointed nonexecutive director. The investment firm has licensed representative offices in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City and a project office in Danang. Brock is a partner and portfolio manager at Boston-based Clough Capital Partners, LP.

Marie Beeson, ’99 (XP-68), has been named business intelligence manager, overseeing a $70 million project for the State of California Department of Health Services. The health care information and research company is based in Eden Prairie, Minnesota.

Liquidation World Inc.
<a"52664'" target="_blank">William Wolf, ’90, has been appointed chairman of the board of directors. Based in Brantford, Ontario, Canada, the company liquidates consumer merchandise through 97 stores in the United States and Canada. Wolf is chief operating officer and portfolio manager of Talon Asset Management LLC.

Octapharma AG
Eric Ballestraz, ’03 (EXP-8), has rejoined as vice president, Latin America. The biopharmaceutical company is headquartered in Lachen, Switzerland. Though he is based in its regional headquarters in Lisbon, Portugal, Ballestraz frequently visits key markets in Central and South America.

PIMCO Europe
Felix Fischer, ’08 (EXP-13), has joined as senior credit analyst. Headquartered in London, the PIMCO subsidiary offers fixed-income management services to clients in the United Kingdom and Europe.

Sultan Center Company
Ammar Al Hinnawi, ’07 (EXP-12), has been promoted to CFO from internal audit director. Based in Kuwait City, the company is Kuwait’s largest independent retailer and a leading supplier in the Middle East of supermarket items, perishables, and general merchandise.

Systems Alliance, Inc.
Brad Merryman, ’93 (XP-62), has joined as senior business development director. The consultancy is based in Sparks, Maryland.

Water Street Healthcare Partners
Robert Womsley, ’91, has joined the firm as partner. The Chicago-based private equity firm is focused exclusively on the health care industry.

Alumni to Know

The managing and founding principal of AQR Capital Management, Clifford Asness, MBA ’91, PhD ’94, is “the only businessperson of any standing to have opposed the [Obama] administration in public,” according to Forbes columnist Peter Robinson. In a May 22 column headlined “The Protest of a Patriot,” Robinson quotes a note that Asness sent to friends and investors criticizing Obama for chastising Chrysler bondholders who opposed his plan to pay them 29 cents on the dollar: Asness wrote, “He called them ‘speculators’ who were ‘refusing to sacrifice like everyone else. The president’s diktat takes money from bondholders and gives it to a labor union that delivers money and votes for him. Why is he not calling on his party to ‘sacrifice’ some campaign contributions, and votes, for the greater good?” Asness also said the free enterprise system fixes itself when it fails. Robinson concluded, “That is the protest of a patriot.”

Numerous marketing techniques drove the market share gains for the Hussman brand, which captured an additional 10.5 percent share in the equipment market in North America and set a record with more than a 50 percent share in food retail markets during the first quarter of 2009, according to Praveen Reddy, ’03, vice president of marketing and sales operations for Retail Solutions America, a $1.2 billion business unit with Hussman. Reddy told Ingersoll Rand News Service that Hussman’s gross margins increased compared to the same period last year, beating the operating income forecast by $15 million.

Hussman, a refrigerator manufacturer, also launched a dozen products and services at its annual sales meeting in March. “Our ‘voice-of-the-customer’ research showed that most important and unmet needs for our customers were in the areas of food safety, energy efficiency, shelf life, and merchandising,” Reddy said in another News Service article. “By launching innovations addressing these areas, we will drive the percentage of revenue coming from new products and services to 44 percent in 2010.”

Doug Schaedler, ’99, new president of UTEK Corp., aims to grow the Tampa-based firm’s consulting business while de-emphasizing investments in small companies, according to a May 20 article in the St. Petersburg Times and on “We are trying to drive innovation,” he told the Times. The company is allotting more time to exploring corporate patents with larger companies and increasing corporate consulting with its recent purchases of Strategos, a Chicago-based firm, and Social Technologies Group, a consulting firm.

Myron Scholes, MBA ’64, PhD ’70, hasn’t changed his ideas about mathematical models despite the recent banking crisis, he said in a Q&A in the May 14 New York Times Magazine. “A bank needs models to measure risk. The problem, however, is that any one bank can measure its risk, but it also has to know what the risk taken by other banks in the system happens to be at any particular moment,” Scholes said. When asked “What good is a theory of risk management if it applies to one tree instead of the forest?” Scholes responded, “Most of the time, your risk management works. With a systemic event such as the recent shocks following the collapse of Lehman Brothers, obviously the risk-management system of any one bank appears, after the fact, to be incomplete. We ended up where banks couldn’t liquidate their risk, and the system tended to freeze up.”

A BusinessWeek article about “CEOs of Tomorrow” featured John Watson, ’80, Chevron vice chairman. The article said Watson has experience in “nearly every part of the company,” including jobs like running refineries and international oil exploration. Regarding the push to alternative energies, Watson told BusinessWeek, “The world needs all forms of energy.”

CEO Watch: Taking the Lead

Igor Buchatskiy, ’01
Sagro LLC

Based in Kiev, Sagro is the agrobusiness of Smart-Holding. Buchatskiy had been business development director for Smart-Holding.

Michael Mainelli Jr., ’95 (XP-64)
President and CEO
Active Implants Corporation

Based in Memphis, Tennessee, the firm is a pioneer of advanced polymer technology for the hip and knee segments of the orthopedic market.

Thomas Rooney Jr., ’91
SPG Solar, Inc
The company finances, designs, and installs photovoltaic power systems. It is based in Novato, California.

Jeffrey Warne, ’94
President and CEO
O’Charley’s Inc.

The casual dining company is headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee. Warne also was appointed to the board of directors.

CEO Watch: Making Headlines

As project manager supervising construction of plants for APV Crepaco, “I was actually running a small business,” said Andy Cukurs, ’94, “responsible for $20 million to $25 million projects, 2 million square feet of manufacturing space. I discovered I liked running a business and didn’t want to be an engineer for the rest of my life.” Cukurs outlined his career path for a May 18 article in the Chicago Tribune. “I liked the autonomy, planning, decision making, dealing with the contracts and people, but I needed to become more adept at leadership skills and understanding balance sheets,” he said. So he got his MBA. Today he is CEO of Suzlon Wind Energy Corp., the Chicago-based subsidiary of Suzlon Inc., an India-based wind turbine manufacturer.

As president and CEO of the charitable McGregor Group, Rob Hilton, ’74, works to make sure low-income elderly people in Cleveland have attractive, affordable places to live. The organization runs a 148-unit nursing home and provides seed money for senior housing. “I always felt very fortunate to be a banker, but never passionate,” Hilton said in a May 17 article in the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “I feel passion about what I’m doing now. And I know the difference.”'

Hyatt CEO Mark Hoplamazian, ’89, was selected to be a guest blogger for “Checking in with the Chief,” a new series on the USA Today Website Hotel Check-In, according to a May 13 article in USA Today. In the June 21 edition of the New York Times Magazine, columnist Rob Walker outlined the “random acts of generosity” that Hoplamazian advocated on the blog posting, “like unexpectedly picking up the tab for your hotel-bar drinks or hotel-spa massage,” Walker wrote. “The idea is that the unexpected nature of the gifts will leave the customer not just pleased but also grateful. Gratitude is a powerful, and potentially quite profitable, emotion to inspire.”

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