2016

Stories related to "Energy".

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Of Like Minds in the C-Suite

When an organization’s CEO and CFO both hail from Booth, there’s a common methodology to problem solving that cuts to the chase. In a fast-moving environment, according to Byron David Trott, AB ’81, MBA,’82, founder, chairman, and CEO of BDT & Company, applying “the same disciplined approach” as his Booth-trained CFO Mike Burns, ’03, speeds decision making and removes unnecessary drama from the equation. This doesn’t mean that they always agree—far from it. Maria Kim, ’12 (XP-81), CEO of Chicago-based the Cara Program, describes her CFO Carla Denison-Bickett, ’04, as “a healthy agitator.” But in many ways, the open debate leads to increased dynamism that infects the entire leadership team. At BDT & Company in Chicago and Oaktree Capital Management in Los Angeles, the CFOs were the first and most significant external hires by the founding CEOs—and the pairs are still together. At Oaktree, it’s been 20 years as a team for CEO Howard Marks, ’69, and David Kirchheimer, ’78. Kim and Denison-Bickett have led nonprofit the Cara Program for the past year, but previously worked at the organization

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Power Sources

The Challenge: In 1999, Ted Brandt cofounded Marathon Capital in Bannockburn, Illinois, a $25 million investment bank focused on renewable energy. The original compensation structure hewed to the industry norm of a steady balance between salary and bonus, based on both individual and company performance. But in the first several years, Marathon was short of capital and the model was unsustainable. How could the company devise a system of incentives while maintaining the necessary cash flow to sustain the business, Brandt wondered. The Strategy: For the next three years, Marathon slashed salaries and paid bankers big bonuses when deals closed. Revenues grew, but that led to new challenges. This “eat-what-you-kill” model, as Brandt calls it, discouraged teamwork and was unfair to younger bankers who had no say in what projects to join. Also, by paying out bonuses before fixed costs, Marathon had few profits. Compensation ran about 90 to 95 percent of revenues. In comparison, similar banks

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Distinguished Alumni Awards 2018

Since 1971, the Distinguished Alumni Awards have honored leaders across industries who strive to make the world better by turning ideas into action. This year’s winners have applied their transformative insights to address the challenges of a rapidly changing world—from Singapore, to New England, to Nigeria. Their successes in industries as diverse as oil, biopharmaceuticals, education, and agriculture exemplify the resounding impact of Chicago Booth. Swee Chen Goh, ’03 (AXP-2), is the chairman of Shell Companies in Singapore—the first woman to earn a role that high in the company. Goh wants Shell to continue to play a prominent role in Singapore’s future and contribute as an active member of the Singaporean community. In 2003, Goh joined Shell as chief information officer, oil product, East. Just a year into her tenure, she was promoted to vice president of global IT services, a move that made her the first Asian woman to hold such a senior role. She took on a P&L role in 2011, running Shell’s lubricants and commercial fuels business for Asia Pacific/Middle East. Goh, with her family, relocated to Beijing before returning to Singapore, where in October 2014, she assumed the role of chairman of Shell Companies in Singapore, which currently has 3,200 employees.

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Risk and Reward

After a career progression that took her around the globe, Julie A. McLaughlin, ’13 (XP-82), took a leap of faith when she returned stateside to start a job search that ultimately led her to cofounding Vertex Energía, based in Weymouth, Massachusetts. At the 2015 Booth Women Connect Conference, McLaughlin spoke on a panel about encouraging women to take career risks, along with Alyssa Pei, ’02, who had just made her own international move to Toronto as a partner at consulting firm A. T. Kearney, based in Chicago. Here, McLaughlin and Pei continue their conversation and share what they have learned about risk from their own journeys. McLaughlin: A big risk I took was deciding to leave E.ON in 2013 when I finished my executive MBA. My role was centralized back to headquarters in Düsseldorf, Germany, and changed from what I’m the most passionate about, which is negotiating renewable deals on the ground. I had a very difficult time finding an opportunity in the United States. Nobody would take me seriously as a candidate from Europe, so I moved back without a job and then started searching. Pei: Did people take you more seriously once you had a US address? McLaughlin: They did. People asked me how I knew I could do deals in New Jersey, for example, which seemed comical in comparison to many of the difficult countries I had operated in. Well, it stands to reason that if I can figure out how to do it in Indonesia, I can figure it out in New Jersey. However, being able to network locally and easily interview in person made the difference. Pei: I think it’s an interesting reflection of what they saw to be risk, though.

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The View From Houston

A city once known for strip malls and sprawling suburbs has grown into a sophisticated metropolis in recent years. With a serious art scene, one-of-a-kind restaurants, and luxury condominiums going up in the city’s more pedestrian friendly areas, there are suddenly more reasons to leave the office a little earlier and experience some of Houston’s Southern charms. Almost 40 percent of the 655 Booth alumni in the Houston area work in the city’s energy sector. Many visit the city’s historic private clubs and more-casual dining spots for networking. Others use the well-connected airline hub as a springboard for sector-related international work travel.

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A Workday With Sonny Garg

Life at predictive analytics start-up Uptake is a far cry from the buttoned-up corporate world. Sonny Garg, AB ’89, MBA ’00, held senior positions at Chicago utility Exelon for more than 13 years, most recently as chief information and innovation officer. Earlier this year he was recruited to head the energy solutions team at the fast-growing company headed by Chicago entrepreneur Brad Keywell. Uptake already has 300 employees at its headquarters in Chicago’s River North neighborhood and partners with manufacturing giant Caterpillar. Less than a month into the job, Garg reflected on the different way he does business every day.

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Power Play

When Andrea Sreshta watched news footage of the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti, she remembers being struck by something former US president Bill Clinton said on CNN. “He pointed out how we take for granted that we can walk around at night and have streetlights,” said Sreshta, a Full-Time student. The former president’s comment got her thinking: Why hadn’t anyone developed an ultraportable light source that’s powered by solar energy? After all, growth in clean-energy industries, like solar, has been on the rise, partially due to the issue of climate change fueling energy innovations. Sreshta saw an opportunity to apply that sort of technology to help out in disaster areas.

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Treasuring the Earth

Few in the world understand risk better than Henry M. Paulson, Jr. As the 74th secretary of the treasury for the United States during the final years of the Bush administration, Paulson was there when the credit bubble burst. He saw the United States enter the worst financial crisis since the 1930s. And as the chief financial executive for the government during that time, he knew the risk of political dithering—the potential consequences that awaited every American had the US government allowed the financial system to collapse.

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Fracking: An Explosive History

In 1862, a man named Edward A. L. Roberts was fighting against the Confederate army during the Battle of Fredericksburg. The lieutenant colonel noticed the effects of torpedoes hitting a nearby river. He survived the battle and left the armed services a year later, but his torpedo observation remained on his mind. Three years later, the lieutenant colonel launched the Roberts Petroleum Torpedo Company, having invented a new way to extract oil and gas from the ground. He patented his invention as “the Exploding Torpedo.”