Alumni Connections - No. 86 - September 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

24 Ore Group
Massimo Arioli, ’03,
has joined as administration, finance and control director. Headquartered in Milan, the multimedia publishing company specializes in business, financial, and professional information.

Aberdeen Asset Management
Melissa Reagen, ’11,
has been appointed head of property research, Americas. The financial services firm is headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It is the wholly owned US subsidiary of Aberdeen Asset Management PLC, a global investment management group.

Accretive Health
Andrew Appel, ’91,
has been appointed senior vice president, revenue operations. The Chicago firm helps hospitals and other healthcare providers qualify patients for insurance reimbursements.

Alexander & Baldwin, Inc.
Joel Wine, ’97,
has joined as senior vice president, CFO, and treasurer. Based in Honolulu, Hawaii, the company runs businesses in the fields of ocean transportation and logistics, real estate, and agribusiness.

Buckingham Asset Management
Tiya Lim, ’04,
has been named director of institutional advisory services. The investment firm is based in St. Louis, Missouri.

Cirrus Aircraft
Todd Simmons, ’95,
has been promoted to executive vice president, sales and marketing from vice president of marketing. The aircraft manufacturer is based in Duluth, Minnesota.

Comerica Incorporated
Karen Parkhill, ’92,
has joined as vice chairman and a member of the management policy committee. The financial services firm is headquartered in Dallas, Texas.

John Podczerwinski, ’91,
has been appointed president. Based in Auburn Hills, Michigan, the company designs and makes automated products for industrial customers.

Energy Recovery Inc.
Baji Gobburi, ’04,
has been appointed director, water product development. The company designs and develops energy recovery devices to reduce energy consumption of desalination and other industrial processes. It is based in San Leandro, California.

The Gold Standard Now
Charles Kadlec, ’74,
has been appointed as advisor. Based in New York, is a website providing historical information and breaking news about the classical gold standard. Kadlec is a member of the Economic Advisory Board of the American Principles Project and a writer for

Huron Consulting Group
C. Mark Hussey, ’90,
has been appointed executive vice president, CFO, and treasurer. The consulting firm is based in Chicago.

Icon Aircraft
Bart Becht, ’82,
has been named a nonexecutive director on the board. Based in Los Angeles, California, the company designs amphibious sports aircraft. Becht is CEO of Reckitt Benckiser.

Mark Iammartino, ’09 (XP-78),
has been promoted to director from associate director. The financial and operational advisory firm is based in Chicago.

NERA Economic Consulting
Scott Bloomberg, ’02,
has joined as vice president, energy, environment, and network industries practice. The consulting firm is based in New York.

Private National Mortgage Acceptance Company, LLC (PennyMac)
Jim Follette, ’01,
has joined as managing director, correspondent fulfillment. The mortgage loan servicing company is based in Calabasas, California.

RealD Inc.
Dave Habiger, ’98 (XP-67),
has been elected to the board of directors. Based in Los Angeles, California, the company licenses 3-D technologies.

Rockwell Global Capital
David Wong, ’04,
has been named senior managing director. The boutique securities firm and investment bank is headquartered in Melville, New York.

Ryder System, Inc.
Dennis Cooke, ’95,
has joined as senior vice president and chief of operations, US and Canada, fleet management solutions. Headquartered in Miami, Florida, the commercial transportation company also offers logistic and supply chain management.

Santa Fe University of Art and Design
Laurence Hinz, ’91,
has been named president. He had been serving as interim president. The university is based in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Seattle-Northwest Securities Corporation
Matthew Banks, ’10,
has joined as managing director of taxable trading. Banks previously worked for the company as assistant vice president on the taxable desk in the Portland office from 2003 to 2005. The West Coast broker dealer is headquartered in Seattle, Washington.

Trans Energy
Stephen Lucado, ’06 (XP-75),
has been named to the board of directors. Based in St. Marys, West Virginia, the company explores for and develops oil and gas energy in the Appalachian Basin.

Ulupono Initiative
Murray Clay, ’01,
has joined as managing director. Based in Hawaii, the social investment firm focuses on renewable resources, local food production, waste reduction, and social transformation.

Viewcast Corporation
George Platt, ’75 (XP-35),
has been named executive chairman. Platt was the former chairman and CEO. The Plano, Texas, company develops hardware and software for video over broadband, enterprise, and mobile networks.

Vitesse Semiconductor Corporation
Martin McDermut, ’75,
has been appointed senior vice president, finance, and CFO. The company designs and develops semiconductors for carrier and enterprise networks. It is headquartered in Camarillo, California.

Alumni to Know

In about 10 years, Hong Kong could be on par with New York and London as a financial center, thanks to China’s rise, said K.C. Chan, MBA ’81, PhD ’85, Hong Kong’s secretary for financial services and the treasurer. “For me, Hong Kong’s strength is definitely international connectivity. We must make sure we build on that strength,” Chan told China Daily in a July 15 article. Chan said when he travels overseas to raise awareness of Hong Kong’s role in global finances, he stresses that “Hong Kong is not only for Chinese investors and institutions but also attracts lot of international players as they can invest in the mainland market.”

Smarteys helps people budget wisely and figure out how to pay off debts. “Money is an emotional thing,” said Charisse Conanan, ’10, cofounder and CEO of the start-up, in a July 16 Chicago Sun-Times article. “Yet anyone, given the right advice, can be a 'smartey’ about money. That’s how we wanted to define our company.” Conanan cofounded the company with Adrissha Wimberly, ’10, who serves as chief operating officer. The two were influenced by Richard H. Thaler, known as the father of behavioral economics. “ strives to strip away mathematical calculations and show people specific effects of their spending and saving based on their paychecks,” Conanan told the newspaper. “If people allocate wisely into four 'buckets’ - income, debt, bills, and savings - they can use the rest for guilt-free spending.”

Power2Switch was described by an NBC Chicago report as “the one stop shop for consumers to find and switch to lower-cost energy plans here in Illinois.” The news feature ran July 6. It tells how Seyi Fabode. ’10, and Phil Nevels, ’10, came to found the web start-up after entering the idea in the New Venture Challenge. The website launched in January 2010 and was one of ten businesses accepted into Excelerate’s Incubator Program, the report said. The two also presented their business model at CGI America at the end of June. Nevels’ advice to new business owners: “Don’t worry about being perfect.” Nevels and Fabode are working on the third revamp of their website.

Braintree, an online payments platform, is generating additional media attention after Accel invested $34 million in it. Not only did Crain’s Chicago Business write about it, but so has in a June 29 article. The company offers a flexible payments platform where clients can streamline and tailor their payments process, said founder Bryan Johnson, ’07 (XP-76). The platform also strives to make online checkouts as easy as possible for consumers.

CFOs play an important and strategic role in an organization, a role that has changed dramatically, said Mumtalakat Holding Company CFO Arun Kumar, ’03 (AXP-2) in an article in Bahrain’s Gulf Daily News. To share knowledge and experience, his firm held a CFO roundtable for executives of its portfolio companies. “The continued global economic uncertainty poses significant challenges to capital availability, liquidity, and earnings. Today’s CFO has to rise to these challenges, and an event such as this will generate thoughts, ideas, and solutions to meet such challenges and manage the expectations of internal and external stakeholders,” Kumar said.

There are three main categories of investment opportunities in Africa: natural resources, consumer growth, and infrastructure, said Larry Seruma, ’96, managing principal of Nile Capital Management, LLC. Seruma discusses those investment opportunities in a July 26 article in “As the rest of the world - especially Asia - industrializes, and developed markets continue to demand natural resources, more and more of these commodities are going to be coming from Africa,” Seruma said. He said the country’s one billion people will continue to demand more goods and services. As for infrastructure, “we are finding opportunities in industries all the way from cement to software or mobile network operators - all that infrastructure spending is going to be a key driver for the next 20 years.”

CEO Watch: Taking the Lead

Meredith Siegfried, ’07

Siegfried was promoted from president to the chief at her family’s business. The aerospace manufacturer is headquartered in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Brenda Wolf, ’88
President and CEO
La Rabida Children’s Hospital

Wolf had served as the Chicago-based hospital’s chief operating officer since 2006.

CEO Watch: Making Headlines

Femi Akinde, ’08
CEO and Founder

Akinde was named a TED Fellow for 2011. His Seattle, Washington-based firm operates in Africa, allowing consumers to buy and sell goods and services using mobile phones. According to information from the TED Fellows website, the TED Fellows program “is designed to bring together young world-changers and trailblazers who have shown unusual accomplishment and exceptional courage.”

Antonio Moncupa, Jr., ’03 (AXP-2)
President and CEO
EastWest Bank

Moncupa said at a Booth executive MBA media roundtable that his company plans to buy a bank this year drew. That statement drew the attention of BusinessWorld, which published an article about it on July 27. The article said this would be EastWest Bank’s first acquisition since obtaining local subsidiaries of AIG two years ago.

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