Alumni Connections - No. 68 - March 2010

Alumni Connections - No. 75 - October 2010

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

Tarak Mehta, '00,
has been appointed head of the low voltage products division and has joined the executive committee as of October 1. The power and automation technology company is headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland.

AbsolutData Research & Analytics
Laura DeYonker, '96,
has joined as a consultant. Based in San Francisco, California, the company offers consulting-oriented market research and marketing analytics.

Annaly Capital Management, Inc.
Peter Dancy, '94,
has joined the investment team of FIDAC, the firm's wholly-owned investment advisor, which is based in New York.

Bayer Ltd Consumer Care
Sergio Schuler, '07 (EXP-12),
has been appointed country division head for Ireland. Headquartered in Leverkusen, Germany, the division of Bayer HealthCare makes products that include over-the-counter medications and nutritional supplements.

Skip Shean, '01,
has been named chief operating officer. The firm, which offers educational products and investment recommendation services, is based in Cincinnati, Ohio.

BrightSource Energy, Inc.
Thomas O'Flynn, '86,
has been named to the board of directors. The developer of solar thermal power plants is headquartered in Oakland, California. O'Flynn is chief operating officer and CFO of Transmission Developers, Inc. He also is a senior advisor to the Blackstone Group.

Caris Life Sciences, Inc.
Winston K. C. Lam, '01,
has joined as chief legal officer and executive vice president, business development. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, the firm develops anatomic pathology, molecular profiling, and blood-based diagnostic technologies.

John Bremer, SM '94, MBA '08,
has joined as chief research officer. A Kantar media company, the marketing firm is based in Boston, Massachusetts.

Edward Hospital
Joseph Beatty, '89,
has been appointed chairman of the board of trusteesof the Naperville, Illinois-based hospital. Beatty is president and CEO of Telular Corp.

Equity Risk Partners
Brian Stratton, '04,
has been named director of business development. Headquartered in San Francisco, California, the insurance brokerage and consulting firm focuses on the private equity industry.

Exelon Corporation
Sunil "Sonny" Garg, AB '89, MBA '02,
has been promoted to president of Exelon Power from senior vice president of human resources. The utility company is headquartered in Chicago.

Man Group
Emmanuel Roman, '87,
has been named to the newly created role of chief operating officer. Based in Munich, Germany, the company makes commercial vehicles, engines, and mechanical engineering equipment.

NeoStem, Inc.
Ian Zhang, '96,
has been appointed president and managing director. The biopharmaceutical company is headquartered in New York.

Oregon State University Foundation
Steven Zamsky, '95,
has been elected to the board of trustees. The university is located in Corvallis, Oregon. Zamsky is managing director in the credit trading business at Morgan Stanley in New York.

Sears Holdings Corporation
David Friedman, '89,
has joined as senior vice president and president of marketing. The retailer, whose holdings include Sears and Kmart stores, is headquartered in Hoffman Estates, Illinois.

Tasktop Technologies
Neelan Choksi, '98,
has been named president and chief operating officer. Headquartered in Orlando, Florida, the firm offers open-source and commercial computer programs for businesses.

Alumni to Know

A cross-country bicycle trip first appealed to Steve Koch, MBA '82, JD '82, about four years ago during a walk across Chicago's Loop when a friend mentioned someone had biked across the country. "I just stopped dead in my tracks. And I thought, 'Hmm, I ought to do that.'It just really resonated," Koch said in a September 1 article in the Chicago Tribune. In September 2010 Koch and his son were to start pedaling with a purpose: the trip is to raise money for Mount Sinai Hospital, where Koch is chairman of the board. Koch also is cochairman of Credit Suisse's mergers and acquisitions group.

Large stocks haven't fared as well as mid-cap and smaller stocks for the past decade. But as consumers cut back on spending, the biggest stocks will outperform smaller ones, predicted Dennis Stattman, '80, in an August 27 Bloomberg article. Stattman, who manages $65 billion in global equities and bonds for BlackRock Inc., said: "We can't find a stock among the 20 or 30 biggest U.S. companies that looks expensive."

CEO Watch: Taking the Lead

Steven Goldman, '90
Groupe Du Louvre

The French company is one of Starwood Capital Group's portfolio holding companies. It comprises a luxury and budget hotel business; a super majority controlling interest in Baccarat, which is a crystal manufacturer; and Annick Goutal, which is an upscale perfumery house.

Stephen Schwartz, '87
President and CEO
Brooks Automation, Inc.

Based in Chelmsford, Massachusetts, the company makes production tools and factory automation products for the semiconductor industry.

CEO Watch: Making Headlines

Sean Harper, AB '03, MBA '09
Cofounder and CEO

Most small businesses can't negotiate lower rates with credit card-processing companies like large corporations do, said Harper in an August 10 Wall Street Journal article. That can leave them in the dark about comparison shopping. "It's really complicated because there are a lot of providers," he said told the Journal. "No one knows how they stack up with each other with respect to reputation and capabilities and pricing rules, which are always negotiated." Enter Harper's firm, which stands for Transparent Financial Services. The company presents such information as fees and processing rules from credit card companies. It holds a reverse auction where merchants can select from bids from the processing companies, the article said.

James Kilts, '74
Former CEO
Gillette Inc.

Kilts weighed in on the controversy about a new SEC rule that allows shareholders greater clout to place directors on corporate boards. The new rule "provides a bigger club for activists to deal with those companies," Kilts said in an August 26 Wall Street Journal article. "The only thing you can do is try to resolve the issues so disgruntled shareholders are happy."

Carmen Magar, '09
Create My Chocolate

Magar boldly asked executives at a German custom chocolate bar web-based firm if they were interested in entering the U.S. market. "Germans are comfortable with mass customization and I wondered if Americans would like it," Magar said in an August 24 feature on She launched her online firm in January. The American version differs slightly from the German, offering such new flavors as peanut butter drops, bacon, M&M-type candies, chocolate drops, cookies, and toffee, the article said. The site axed one German ingredient: hemp seeds, the article said.

Dennis Keller, '68
Former CEO

The story of how Keller cofounded a successful for-profit college is told in an August 9 article in Investor's Business Daily. The school founders faced many challenges. They had to get Illinois law changed so that students in for-profit schools could receive public loans. They had to convince an accreditation agency that their policy of hiring teachers with hands-on experience was a worthy one. And they had to raise huge sums of money. An initial public offering raised $25 million in 1991, when DeVry became the first postsecondary education company to be publicly traded, the article said. The company had paid off its debt the next year. "When it's the investors' money that you're working with, there's a real incentive to be as careful as possible in the use of that money," Keller said. "Whereas, if it's everybody's money but it's nobody's money in a not-for-profit, you don't have the same controls."

Tom Ricketts, AB '87, MBA '93
Incapital LLC

The firm underwrites corporate bonds for individual investors. Underwriting municipal bonds is a next step for the firm, which already sells them, said an August 30 article in Crain's Chicago Business. "The municipal market is growing because of the needs of issuers and the flexibility they now have to issue taxable debt," Ricketts said. As Ricketts, who is chairman of the Chicago Cubs, spends more and more time on the baseball business, he is transitioning away from his bond business and is expected to transfer the reins of power soon, possibly settling into the chairman position at the bond company, the article said.

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