Alumni Connections - No. 85 - August 2011

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

ACE Group
Sameer Vasudev, '99 has joined as director, corporate development, capital markets. Based in New York, the firm runs the Accredited Capital Exchange, an online securities portal.

Aeris Therapeutics LLC
Charles Carter, '96 has been appointed CFO. The company develops emphysema treatments and is based in Woburn, Massachusetts.

Jiming Zhu, '01 has joined as president, China Rolled Products. Based in New York, the company makes aluminum.

Alpine Access
Robert Pinkerton, '89 has been named CFO. Based in Denver, Colorado, the firm runs a virtual contact center using home-based customer service agents.

Allocade, Inc.
Jean Nelson, '84 has joined as vice president of marketing. Headquartered in Menlo Park, California, the company makes software for hospitals and medical centers.

Aviva USA
Michael Miller, '04 (XP-73) has been promoted to executive vice president of sales and distribution from executive vice president and general counsel. The life insurance and indexed annuities firm is headquartered in West Des Moines, Iowa.

BlackRock Kelso Capital
Willis Ryckman IV, '95 has joined as managing director. The financial services firm is based in New York. With capital resources exceeding $1 billion, the company offers financing such as senior and junior debt and equity securities to middle-market companies, Ryckman writes.

David MacLennan, '88 has been promoted to president and chief operating officer from CFO. The food giant and grain trader is headquartered in Wayzata, Minnesota.

College of American Pathologists
Thomas Malone, '99 has been named senior vice president, transformation. Based in Northfield, Illinois, the medical association represents 18,000 board certified pathologists and accredits more than 7,000 clinical laboratories around the world.

Charles River Associates
Renee McMahon, '11 (XP-80) has joined as vice president in the financial accounting and valuation practice based in Chicago. The management, economic, and financial consulting firm is headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts.

China Recycling Energy Corp.
Albert McLelland, '87 has been appointed to the board of directors, where he will chair the audit committee. Based in Xi'an, China, the company recycles such industrial byproducts as heat, steam, pressure, and exhaust into electricity. McLelland is a senior managing director for AmPac Strategic Capital, LLC.

Conrad Bangkok
Vincent Mercurio, '01 (EXP-5) has been appointed general manager. The 391-room luxury hotel is based in Bangkok, Thailand.

Council for Economic Education
Cathy Levy, '89 has been named vice president of development. The New York-based, nationwide network promotes economic literacy among students and teachers.

Dias Bras Exploration Inc.
Guillermo Kaelin, '05 has been appointed to the board of directors. The mining company is headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It owns and runs the Yauricocha Mine in Central Peru and the Bolivar property in Chihuahua State, Mexico. Kaelin is a director with Arias Resource Capital Management LP.

Direct Insite Corp.
Philip Summe, '96 has been elected to the board of directors. Based in Sunrise, Florida, the company automates financial supply chains and streamlines procure-to-pay and order-to-cash processing. Summe is portfolio manager of Crossfields Capital Management.

Evogi Group
Rick Weber, '93 (XP-62) has joined as CFO. With offices in Scottsdale, Arizona, and Chicago, the information technology company develops advanced telematics technologies and GPS fleet tracking software and hardware.

Gabriel Cerdio, '00 has been named head of business development for the corporate office in Mexico. The conglomerate of infrastructure, finance, and media business is headquartered in Fairfield, Connecticut.

Global Sources Ltd.
Peter Yam, '84 (XP-53) has been appointed a member of the board of directors. The business-to-business media company and facilitator of trade with Greater China is headquartered in Futian, Shenzhen, China. Yam serves as an advisor to Emerson after his retirement as president of Emerson Greater China and chairman of Emerson Electric (China) Holdings Co. Ltd.

Hill & Knowlton, Inc.
Claire Koeneman, '94 has been appointed executive vice president and U.S. practice leader for financial communications. The communications consultancy is headquartered in New York.

HTG Investment Advisors, Inc.
Valerie Connolly, '79 has been named senior investment advisor. The independent investment advisory firm is based in New Canaan, Connecticut.

Richard Ford, '95 has been appointed managing director in the real estate investment banking group in the San Francisco office. Tom Holleb,'98, has been appointed managing director in investment grade corporate bond sales, based in the Chicago office. The global securities and investment banking firm is headquartered in New York.

Moody's Investors Service
Leon Zhaoyang Liang, '00 has been named vice president, head of business development, Greater China. Headquartered in London, England, the firm offers such services as corporate finance, banking, managed funds, and risk management.

Morgan Keegan & Company, Inc.
Michael Nemeroff, '01 has joined as managing director and senior equity research analyst in the New York office. The brokerage and investment banking firm is headquartered in Memphis, Tennessee. It is the securities brokerage arm of Regions Financial Corporation.

MWW Group
Kathy Fieweger, '06 (XP-75) has been appointed executive vice president and general manager of the Chicago office. The public relations firm is headquartered in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

NanoBio Corporation
George Arida, '00 has been appointed to the board of directors. Based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the biopharmaceutical company focuses on dermatological products, anti-infective treatments, and intranasal vaccines. Arida is managing director at Venture Investors LLC.

NewPage Corporation
Jay Epstein, '99 has joined as senior vice president and CFO. The coated paper manufacturer is headquartered in Miamisburg, Ohio.

Northern Trust
Joanie Stringer, '02 has been appointed managing director of the Washington DC office. The investment bank is headquartered in Chicago.

NRP Group, LLC
Andrew Tanner, '99 (XP-68) has been promoted to chief operating officer from vice president and CFO. Headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, the company develops multifamily housing.

Pacira Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Laura Brege, '82 has been appointed to the board of directors. The pharmaceutical company is headquartered in Parsippany, New Jersey. Brege is executive vice president, corporate affairs for Onyx Pharmaceuticals.

Rockwell Global Capital
David Wong, '04 has joined as senior managing director. Headquartered in Melville, New York, the boutique securities firm offers financial products and services to individual investors, institutions, and small- and mid-cap global emerging growth companies.

Spinner Global Technology Fund, Ltd.
Joseph To, '00 has been appointed to the board of directors. The private client fund invests globally in smaller capitalization, information technology stocks. It is managed by Spinner Asset Management, LLC, which is headquartered in New York. To is portfolio manager, primarily for Asian investments, for Spinner Asset Management.

Tecta America Corporation
Brynne Smith, '88 has been named senior vice president and chief operating officer. The commercial roofing contractor is based in Skokie, Illinois.

Telephone and Data Systems, Inc.
Peter Sereda, '84 has been promoted to senior vice president, finance, and treasurer from vice president and treasurer. The wireless, telephone, and broadband services company is headquartered in Chicago.

Vineet Sahgal, '99 has joined as executive vice president and managing director, tenant advisory services group. The commercial real estate company is headquartered in Houston, Texas.

TriMas Corporation
Rajan Sachar, '01 (XP-70) has joined as vice president of corporate audit. Based in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, the company makes engineered and applied products for the packaging, aerospace, energy, and defense industries.

United Stationers Inc.
Fareed Khan, '93 has been elected senior vice president and CFO. Based in Deerfield, Illinois, the company runs a network of 64 distribution centers of business products and office supplies.

Waste Management, Inc.
James Fish, '98 has been promoted to senior vice president of Eastern group operations from area vice president, Pennsylvania and West Virginia market. Headquartered in Houston, Texas, the company collects, transfers, recycles, and disposes of waste.

West Wireless Health Institute
Michael Caponetto, '99 has been named CFO. The research organization works toward lower healthcare costs through wireless technologies. It is based in San Diego, California.

Alumni to Know

Anne Alonzo, '00 (XP-69), is called "the Queen of Cocoa," in a recent article in Latina Style. Alonzo is the first woman to become chair of the World Cocoa Foundation. She also is vice president of global public policy's corporate affairs at Kraft Foods. Alonzo was deputy assistant secretary for the international trade administration at the U.S. Department of Commerce during the Clinton administration. She rose to such great heights from humble beginnings in Chicago, which she described in the article. "I came from a wonderful, but humble, Mexican American family," Alonzo said. "My parents were loving and supportive, but were really not in a position to guide or direct me on to school and to a career. My mom, in particular, was my role model. She has the most integrity, class, and a fundamental quality set. She was also very independent."

"There's almost always a pattern to observe in successful business situations," said Anil Baddi, '05 (XP-74), author of Handbook of Pattern Recognition: Analysis and Applications in Accounting. Baddi said in a May 30 PRWeb article that he hopes his book will instruct business executives and accounting professionals on proven, real-world techniques for specifying accounting scenarios. In the book he describes accounting patterns with potential questions to ask, potential pitfalls and scenarios, and other advice. The book also offers guidance on how to tabulate accounting information in a business situation, such as assumptions, and how to document historical information.

The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas and its digital ad agency, Digital Kitchen, have been awarded the Grand Prix, a top prize at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. The Grand Prix is one of the most prestigious international awards for creative advertising and communications. The hotel received the prize in the category of Hospitality/Leisure. It also received a Gold Lion in the category of Offline Digital Design. "The hotel's 500 digital displays, which it co-created with Digital Kitchen, blend architecture, contemporary art, and digital technology," said a June 23 article in Travel Pulse. "Those displays appear in various areas, including the marquee, the casino, and the elevators."

"Our brand is about delivering on the promise of giving guests stories worth telling and we do that every day by delivering fresh, innovative and provocative content with a strong commitment to art and design," Christopher Burns, '02, Cosmopolitan's director of content and entertainment curation, said in a statement quoted in a June 23 article in VegasInc.

A movie is being made about how Bill Caswell, '04, went from investment banker to rally racer. The actor who is slated to play Caswell is Jeremy Renner, who was nominated for an Academy Award for The Hurt Locker. After receiving a severance package during the recession, Caswell bought a rusted 1991 BMW 318i and entered the WRC Corona Rally in Mexico in 2010, where he stunned the regulars by taking third place. He and his co-driver had dodged a Mexican drug cartel shootout along the way. The story about Caswell's coming biopic is told in a June 23 ESPN article.

Fairy Tale Capitalism: Fact and Fiction Behind Too Big to Fail, written by Emily Eisenlohr, '82, tells the story of how the huge systemic bubble that led to the recent financial collapse came about, said a June 22 article in the Star Global Tribune. "The book peels away the fictions and presents the facts," the article said. "Although reforming the financial sector may be complex, understanding how systemic risk grew is rather simple. Fairy Tale Capitalism puts the puzzle together one piece at a time."

Curt Espeland, '02 (AXP-1), has been named 2011 CFO of the Year by IHS Chemical Week. Espeland is senior vice president and CFO of Eastman Chemical Company. The award honors the best in the chemical industry for financial leadership, said a June 29 article on ENP Newswire. "I am honored to accept this award on behalf of the incredible people at Eastman who dedicate themselves to achieving outstanding financial results and providing a high quality of communication to our stakeholders," Espeland said in the article. "This award is a direct reflection of the strength of Eastman, our leadership, and our world-class financial organization."

Braintree Payments is the latest Internet-based startup from Chicago to receive money from Silicon Valley, said a June 29 article in Crain's Chicago Business. Silicon Valley fund Accel Partners is investing $34 million in Braintree. The company automates credit-card and payment processing for e-commerce companies, the article said. The firm was founded by Bryan Johnson, '07, who had won $25,000 to launch the company through Booth's business plan competition. "As we've grown larger as a payments company, we needed a stronger balance sheet, which allows us to process bigger volumes," Johnson told Crain's.

Amy Lehman, '05, was named one of ELLE magazine's "9 for All Mankind," a brief profile of nine women who are "educating, rebuilding, doctoring, employing, and sustaining the world." Lehman founded the Lake Tanganyika Floating Health Clinic. It is a clinic on a ship in the lake basin "where 3.5 million people live without access to basic health care," said a June 22 article in ELLE. Lehman got the idea when, as a surgical resident on vacation, she got stuck on the lake in a typhoon and realized there was no hospital around, the article said.

The Salvino family of wealth managers was discussed in a June 27 column in Fra Noi - Embrace Your Inner Italian. Like his father and one of his brothers, John Salvino, '06, chose the path of wealth management, working like they do at William Blair & Company. Salvino is an accredited asset management specialist and wealth management advisor as well as a certified financial planner.

CEO Watch: Making Headlines

Charisse Conanan, '10
Founder and CEO
Conanan and Adrissha Wimberly, '10, founder and chief operating officer, Smarteys, were named two of "12 Midwest Superstar Women Entrepreneurs" in a June 8 article in Women 2.0. Smarteys is a "personalized and automated online money management software program geared to helping people with student loan debt manage their money," the article said.

Dhiraj Rajaram, '03
Founder and CEO
Mu Sigma
Based in Chicago with a delivery center in Bangalore, India, the firm is building the world's largest center for analytics and decision science. It is doing so with the help of $25 million in financing from Sequoia Capital.

"I want to thank our clients first and foremost for partnering with us and being such strong advocates," said Rajaram in a June 6 Marketwire article. "Companies today have vast amounts of data that they have collected over the last few decades. To understand all this data, decision sciences is going to play a much bigger role in the coming years. We at Mu Sigma are very excited to be a part of this revolution and we believe that we are not just building a company, but building an industry. Through our work with many market leading Fortune 500 companies such as Microsoft and Dell, we've enabled them to chart, implement and execute through a roadmap in decision sciences and analytics."

Karan Goel, '06
Founder and CEO
Goel's entrepreneurial spirit was born at age 17 when he tutored a friend for $100 and helped him get into the college of his choice, said a June 10 article in Crain's Chicago Business. Five years later, Goel started PrepMe, an online Chicago-based do-it-yourself test-prep company. "Our mission has always been to reach the students who don't live in a big city or college town, who need the knowledge but can't get it face to face," Goel told the publication. "We help them connect." Today the firm has helped 70,000 students from every state and 30 countries.

Stephen Hughes, '78
Chairman, CEO, and Director
Smart Balance, Inc.
"When you look at the number of Americans who are heart-health conscious, about 30 million households fall in that category," Hughes said in a May 31 Q and A in "Smart Balance targets that specific consumer group." Smart Balance develops a butter alternative and products "consistent with living a healthy lifestyle," he said. The firm has three brands: Smart Balance, Bestlife, and Earth Balance. "There are obviously a tremendous amount of people focused on weight management in which the Bestlife brand competes. Finally, Earth Balance is more niche in focus. There might be 5-7 million households that are actually trying to pursue a plant-based diet, due to an interest in veganism or allergies related to dairy or wheat, but we are the only solution in the spreads category as an alternative to butter out there."

Matt Maloney, '10
Maloney credits Booth's New Venture Challenge with getting him to "think big" and teaching him how to communicate to investors, said a June 13 article in Crain's Chicago Business. Maloney said he and his partner "absolutely bombed" on their first pitch in the challenge. "We didn't communicate the value of the business, we didn't identify the unit economics or the possible exit." Meeting with each of the judges helped the partners to refine their business model, Maloney said. "The New Venture Challenge for us was a very successful exercise in fundamentally understanding what was most valuable about our business, what our competitive differentiators were, and how to go from a Chicago neighborhood business to a national level."

Howard Marks, '69
Oaktree Capital Management LP
"There are times when it is important to invest cautiously, and there are times when it's important to invest aggressively," Marks said in a lengthy profile of him published June 16 in Bloomberg. "A big part of the job is knowing where we are and choosing between these two. We believe that compared to one year, two years, maybe three years ago, this is the time to invest cautiously." Oaktree is the biggest distressed-debt investor in the world, the article said, with its 17 distressed debt funds averaging annual gains of 19 percent after fees for the past 22 years. Marks reveals his investing philosophy in a new book, The Most Important Thing.

Glen Senk, '80
Urban Outfitters
Success comes from hiring and cultivating the right people, Senk said in a Wharton Leadership Lecture cited in a May 30 article in The Motley Fool. Leaders then have to listen to their employees, and especially keep an ear out for bad news. "When you are the CEO, everyone wants to 'yes' you; no one wants to give you bad news," Senk said in the article. "But I have to pull [the bad news] out of them. I need to know what I'm doing wrong."

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