Alumni Connections - No. 63 - October 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

Alan Gray, Inc.
Jim Olivo, ’86,
has been named director of the newly formed strategic advisory group. The Boston-based firm offers the insurance industry such services as claims management, auditing, legal bill review, inspection, collection, actuary, finance, and accounting.

Associated Banc-Corp
Mark Sander, ’83,
has been named executive vice president of commercial banking. The banking firm is headquartered in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

Barrier Advisors
David Prieto, ’04,
has been appointed vice president, special situations investment banking group. The financial advisory and restructuring firm is based in Dallas.

Andrew Ward, ’97,
has been named chief investment officer. The Chicago-headquartered company makes commercial airplanes and other products for the aerospace and defense industries.

Borders Group, Inc.
Timothy Wolf, ’76, has been named one of five new members on the board of directors. The retailer of books, movies, and music is based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Wolf is chief integration officer of MillerCoors LLC.

Consolidated Thompson Iron Mines Limited
Pierre Lortie, ’74,
has been appointed to the board of directors. The Toronto-based company explores and mines for iron ore.

Diversified Trust Company
William Spitz, ’74,
has joined as a principal in the Nashville office. Headquartered in Memphis, Tennessee, the firm offers comprehensive wealth management.

Harry & David Holdings, Inc.
Ed Dunlap, ’80,
has been appointed senior vice president and CFO. The multichannel specialty retailer sells fruit and gourmet food products and gifts. It is headquartered in Medford, Oregon.

 Huron Capital Partners LLC
Jeremy Busch, ’02,
has joined as a principal in the Detroit-based equity investment firm.

Illinois Tool Works Inc.
Randy Scheuneman, ’
02 (XP-71), has been appointed principal accounting officer. The Glenview, Illinois–based company makes engineered products and specialty systems.

IMS Health
John Walsh, ’78,
has been named senior vice president, payer and government solutions. Based in Norwalk, Connecticut, the company offers sales management and market research services to clients in the pharmaceutical industry.

Investment Industry Association of Canada
Philip Smith, ’94,
has been appointed vice chair of the board of directors. The trade association of the Canadian securities industry is headquartered in Toronto. Smith is managing director and deputy head of global investment banking at Scotia Capital.

JM Family Enterprises Inc.
Eric Gebhard, ’91,
has been promoted to treasurer from assistant vice presidents of product and business development and of portfolio finance. Based in Deerfield Beach, Florida, the company distributes autos and offers automotive financing and insurance.

Kibel Green
Matthew Covington, MBA ’99, JD ’99,
has joined as managing director. The turnaround and restructuring company is based in Los Angeles.

Nexxus Lighting, Inc.
Patrick Doherty, ’91,
has joined the board of directors. Based in Charlotte, North Carolina, the company sells advanced technology lighting systems. Doherty is president of Mariner Equity Management, LLC.

Solar Power Partners, Inc.
Phil Henson, ’89,
has joined as vice president and CFO. Based in Mill Valley, California, the independent company produces solar power.

Alumni to Know

AQR Capital Management “seeks to use some of the best ideas of academic finance in the real world,” according to an August 31 article in Barron’s. AQR stands for Applied Quantitative Research and Cliff Asness, MBA ’91, PhD ’94, is one of its two principals interviewed for the article. Asness said “a tremendous amount of work” goes into AQR’s models. “If someone asks why we’re long a stock, we would list 17 reasons for it. We would list its valuation on 10 different scales: its valuation in the absolute sense, its valuation against its peers and its industry group, its health in terms of its improving margins, its momentum. A lot of what we do is value plus momentum. We try to buy cheap things that are starting to get better,” he said.

Asness said “one of the scariest moments” of his life was telling professor Eugene Fama that he wanted to write a dissertation on price momentum. “And I think I mumbled the part where I said it works really well because it’s not a very Chicago idea. To his credit, Fama said: ‘If it is in the data, write the dissertation.’”

Global value equity manager 3G Capital Markets, cofounded by Pavel Begun, ’03, reached its five-year track record in July, according to an article in the August issue of Emerging Manager Monthly. The firm has started to focus on the institutional market, such as pension plans. Begun said his firm stays away from hard-to-predict sectors. “You have to be able to understand that business. I have no idea with biotech, I couldn’t tell you the faintest thing about that. What I do know is if you are buying a furniture maker, you are going to be able to understand it,” he said.

To protect an influx of Czech Roma refugees arriving in Canada, Bill Bila, ’02, is leading a fight against recently instituted visa requirements. Bila cochairs the board of directors of the Toronto Roma Community and Advocacy Centre. He recently has been quoted in blogs and in a newspaper regarding the visa changes. “The Canadian government is creating a policy of ‘none is too many,’” Bila said in a July 17 article in the Toronto Star. The center has launched an online petition pleading with Canada to address human rights violations of Roma in Europe and drop the visa restrictions, the article said. More than 2,000 Czech Roma refugees have arrived in Canada within the last 18 months.

The center supports refugees through social settlement services and arts and culture programs. It aims to create public awareness of human rights conditions in Eastern Europe through lectures, petitions, letter writing campaigns, and production of a documentary.

Jim Dodge, ’93, is seeking the Republican Party nomination for Illinois comptroller. The primary election is February 2. “If you ran your family finances or a small business like the State of Illinois, you’d be homeless or bankrupt,” Dodge said in an August 18 article on PR Newswire. “If you ran a large corporation like the State of Illinois, you’d either be running to the Feds for a bailout, or from the Feds because they showed up with handcuffs and orange jumpsuits. The most shameful part of the story? The resources the State of Illinois is wasting or mismanaging belong to you and me—the average citizen. It’s our money—sometimes someone needs to step up, take that responsibility very seriously and get the job done.”

A satellite radio company owned by Sean Harper, ’09, was ranked within the top 100 firms by revenue growth. TSS-Radio was named Number 94, according to a company profile on Inc. 500/5000. The profile compared company revenues to the industry average.Harper told Chicago Booth that company revenue amounted to around $3 million in 2007, his first year at Booth. “In 2008 we did $4.5 million and this year, despite the economic downturn and some turmoil in the satellite radio market, is on pace to be our most profitable.”

A Booth alum and current student have created an on-line counseling center for war veterans. Roger Sweis, ’09, and Richard Gengler, student in the full-time MBA program, started the service, Vets Prevail Health Solutions, as a new venture class project. It’s now in the testing phase, according to an article in the September issue of Chicago magazine. Sweis had been the CEO of a mental health clinic in Oak Forest, Illinois, the article said. Gengler had flown fighter jets for the navy.

CEO Watch: Taking the Lead

Craig Taylor, ’94
President and CEO
Applied Neurosolutions, Inc.

Based in Vernon Hills, Illinois, the biopharmaceutical company develops products for the early diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.

Teresa Parker, ’90
CEO of Asia-Pacific region
Northern Trust

Parker’s promotion is effective November 30. She most recently was executive vice president and head of client servicing for Europe, Middle East, and Africa and had been based in the London office. The financial holding company is headquartered in Chicago. Parker will be based in Singapore.

rpillar dealer is headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

CEO Watch: Making Headlines

An August 24 article in poses the question “Who’ll be top banker?” to replace former LaSalle CEO Norman Bobins, ’67. One of the contenders ChicagoBusiness considers is Mitchell Feiger, ’82, CEO of MB Financial Inc. “With $8.4 billion in assets, MB is the product of more than 10 mergers and acquisitions in the past 15 years,” the article said. “In the process, Mr. Feiger has won a reputation as an adept dealmaker.” To be the top banker, Feiger likely would succeed through a major acquisition the article said. “We can do the small and the large (deals), and do them well,” he told ChicagoBusiness.

Zipcar, a car sharing service popular with young urbanites, now is making inroads with older, more mainstream customers, according to an August 27 article from Fortune magazine on Annual revenues have grown about 30 percent a year to $130 million, the article said, and CEO Scott Griffith, ’90, hopes to take the company public next year. The service already has expanded to Britain, and the global potential is enormous. “We’re going to be the market leader of an industry with a $5 billion to $10 billion growth curve,” Griffith predicted.

Luis Miranda, ’89, president and CEO of IDFC Private Equity, said his firm is focusing on clean energy, having invested about 20 percent of its funds there. In a September 2 article in Business Standard, Miranda said cost advantages, global warming concerns, and oil price volatility have led to the growing interest in clean technology.

The financial crisis is only about 40 percent over, said Frits Seegers, ’89, Barclays Plc CEO for global retail and commercial banking. Global Banking News reported August 11 that Seegers predicted the next 18 months could mark a critical turning point in the world economy. Seegers urged students at the University of Nairobi to make full use of a research fund that Barclays has launched.

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