Alumni Connections - No. 59 - June 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

American Nano Silicon Technologies, Inc.
Robert Fanella, '78, has been appointed an independent member of the board of directors. The New York-based company makes silicon ingredients used in consumer and industrial products. Fanella is a CPA and consultant based in Illinois.

AeroGrow International, Inc.
Sylvia Bernstein, '89, has been promoted to vice president of marketing, innovation, and new product development. Bernstein founded AeroGrow's plant research and development laboratories, production greenhouses, and nursery. Based in Boulder, Colorado, the company makes and markets kitchen garden indoor growing systems and proprietary seed kits.

Broadpoint Capital, Inc.
Brian Zucker, '95, has joined as managing director in the debt capital markets division. The New York-based firm is an equity capital markets subsidiary of Broadpoint Securities Group, Inc., an independent investment bank.

BMO Capital Markets
Neil Pritz, AM '81, MBA '84, has joined as a managing director of the fixed-income group covering public sector and infrastructure. The New York-based financial services provider is the investment and corporate banking arm of Bank of Montreal Financial Group.

Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing Ltd.
Ian Chapman-Banks, '02 (AXP-1), has joined as senior vice president of worldwide sales and marketing. The semiconductor manufacturer is based in Singapore.

CRA International, Inc.
Susan Fickling-Munge, '04, has been promoted to vice president, transfer pricing, from principal. The Boston-based firm offers consulting services to major law firms, businesses, accounting firms, and governments.

Duchossois Group
Donna Zarcone, '87, has been named to the board of directors of the Chamberlain Group, Inc., one of the diversified companies owned and managed by the Duchossois Group is a privately held, family-owned company with holdings in the consumer products, technology and service sectors. Chamberlain, which makes residential and commercial garage door and gate openers and access control systems, is based in Elmhurst, Illinois. Zarcone is founder of D.F. Zarcone & Associates LLC, a strategic advisory firm.

Rob Greyber, '97, has been promoted to president from senior vice president, Egencia North America. Headquartered in Bellevue, Washington, the company is the fifth-largest travel company in the world and is part of Expedia, Inc.

Giant Food
Paula Price, '88, was named CFO. Headquartered in Landover, Maryland, the firm operates 182 supermarkets in Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and the District of Columbia.

Hostway Corporation
M. Jay Sinder, '93, has been named CFO. The Chicago-based company offers managed site hosting on shared or dedicated servers, as well as co-location and domain name registration services.

Kaman Corp.
Robert Starr, '97, has been appointed vice president and treasurer. Based in Bloomfield, Connecticut, the company distributes aerospace and industrial parts.

Karine Street, '05, has been named executive director, fixed income division, in the London international headquarters. She is part of the credit flow sales team. The financial firm is a subsidiary of Japan's Nomura Holdings.

Carmen Espinosa, '05 (EXP-10), has been named director. She leads the management consulting firm's activities in Spain and joins research activities at the Paris headquarters.

Stone & Youngberg
Richard Nold, '05, has joined as vice president, fixed income group, in Chicago. The financial services firm is headquartered in San Francisco.

Robert Whittington, '85, has joined as chief information officer. Based in Dayton, Ohio, the company offers print, document, and supply chain management services.

WellCare Health Plans, Inc.
David Gallitano, '75, has been appointed to the board of directors. The Tampa, Florida-based firm provides managed-care administrative services to government-funded health care programs. Gallitano is president and owner of Tucker Inc., an investment and advisory firm.

Alumni to Know

It's possible to take advantage of the economic downturn in China, according to Francis Bassolino, '02, managing director in Alaris Consulting's Shanghai office. Bassolino coauthored an article on the topic in the March-April issue of China Business Review. Leaders of some major consumer goods companies "recognize that although this year will cause some pain for domestic and international companies, an overly defensive or flat-footed stance will only result in missed opportunities--during and after the downturn," he wrote. The authors labeled China's downturn as "more of a cyclical trough than a sign of structural weakness."

Employing cost-cutting strategies remains important. Still, the time is right "to expand market share through acquisition, brand development, or aggressive organic growth," the article said. The Chinese government has been implementing policies designed to keep companies from leaving. Also, "companies that expand in China in 2009 will enjoy a buyer's market. In the face of plummeting orders from major clients, some Chinese suppliers will be more flexible," Bassolino wrote. "This is the time for foreign firms to re-examine the supply chain, renegotiate contracts, and ask for greater cooperation from Chinese suppliers."

A television news piece on networking featured two Chicago Booth alumnae. Elene Cafasso, '87, president of Enerpace, Inc. Executive and Personal Coaching, was among experts interviewed by NBC News Chicago in a March 9 segment. "I don't know of anyone in this economy who's gotten a job without using their network," Cafasso said in the broadcast. She discussed a common misperception about networking. "People think it's something that's out there, where you go and schmooze and you collect 7,000 business cards," she said. "And I tell my clients, the person who has the most cards loses. It's really about making those authentic mutually beneficial long-term relationships." Among her clients was Rita Gaskins, '85. "The more people you know and the better connected they are, hopefully the shorter your job search," Gaskins said in the broadcast.

Companies face extreme operating pressures during this economic downturn. "We are in an unprecedented time," said Sheila Hooda, '88, senior managing director and head of mergers and acquisitions and corporate development for TIAA-CREF. Hooda was quoted in The Economist's Economist Intelligence Unit report, "Organizational Agility: How Business Can Survive and Thrive in Turbulent Times." "The business world has never seen anything like this complete market dislocation," Hooda said in the report. The article said companies are responding with a back-to-basics mentality of cutting operating costs.

Janet Tavakoli, '81, founder and president of Tavakoli Structured Finance, a Chicago-based consulting firm, was featured in a profile April 27. The first indication of a dangerous credit bubble was the quick ballooning of credit derivatives, which Tavakoli had written about in 2003, she said. This was coupled with such factors as "really weird securitizations," prime brokers dealing with people "that maybe you and I would never have done business with 10 years ago, nor today," CDO managers with previously unacceptable credentials coming into the picture, and CEOs getting stock options "and happy to even back date." The main problem, Tavakoli said, was "being leveraged against shady fixed income products. And whenever you have a situation where you are leveraging up massively against a fixed-income product that doesn't have great integrity, you're cruising for a bruising."

Shundrawn Thomas, '99, president of Northern Trust Securities Inc., a subsidiary of Chicago-based Northern Trust Corp., was featured in an April 27 Chicago Tribune story. "As a manager and leader, you learn to understand a person's unique personality and passions," Thomas said. "You have to understand this if you're going to get maximum effectiveness out of your team." When asked what was the best advice he had ever received, Thomas replied, "My dad used to tell me there are no big 'i's' or little 'u's'. Everyone is important."

CEO Watch: Taking the Lead

Leon Moulder Jr., '97 (XP-66)
Vice Chairman, President, and CEO

The biotechnology company is headquartered in Los Angeles.

CEO Watch: Making Headlines

Andrew Appel, '91
Aon Benfield

Reinsurance companies can benefit from turmoil in the global economy, Appel said in an April 22 article in Best's Insurance News. "This will be a year where reinsurance has the opportunity to play a role in capital infusions into insurance companies," Appel said. Because reinsurance is liquid, inexpensive, and short-term, he said his reinsurance broker firm is advising insurance company clients to shore up capital positions with reinsurance until debt markets open further.

Luis Miranda, '89
President and CEO
IDFC Private Equity

Miranda discussed his Mumbai-based financial firm in an April 7 article in The Hindu Business Line. He said that in many cases, promoters realize their expectations of valuations have been set too high, given current market conditions. "Some just don't want to accept it," Miranda said. "We spend time with them in working out a win-win situation, whereby if the markets improve, they gain along with it. It is not as if because of the bear, you squeeze the best price today because we can," something he said a lot of PE funds are doing. "Promoters had a lot of good time over the last two years, so they sort of dictated terms. Today lots of private equity guys are saying it is our turn. I think that is short-sighted."

Martin Nesbitt, '89
Parking Spot

Nesbitt, who was national treasurer of President Barack Obama's campaign, has been named to Chicago's Olympics bid committee. Nesbitt replaces Valerie Jarrett, who left the committee to become an Obama advisor, said a March 3 article in Crain's Chicago Business. Obama "is seen as potentially playing a crucial role in Chicago's bid and is widely expected to help sell the city to International Olympic Committee members, who will vote on the host city October 2 in Copenhagen, Denmark," the article said.

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