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Business leaders among UC alumni

Peter Woo at right

Peter Woo at right

Peter Woo in Hong Kong

Peter Woo, A&S ’70, HonDoc ’94, is chairman of Wheelock and Co., which owns landmarks like Hong Kong's Times Square and Harbour City. He also chairman of the Wharf (Holdings) Ltd. and holds advisory posts at JPMorgan Chase and General Electric. From 2000-02, he was chair of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, which made him the de facto trade ambassador. His daughter Jennifer heads the family-owned, Hong Kong luxury retailer Lane Crawford.
(Read "UC Magazine" story about Peter Woo.)

Myron "Mike" Ullman

Myron "Mike" Ullman retired as CEO of J.C. Penney

Retired CEO of J.C. Penney Mike Ullman

Myron “Mike” Ullman III, Bus '69, HonDoc '06, is the former chairman and CEO of J.C. Penney, a position he served twice, first from 2004 to 2011, then from 2013 to 2015. Ullman also serves as a member of the Starbucks Corporation Board of Directors. In addition, he has been a member of the Stanford Medical Center Children's Hospital Board as well as chairman and CEO of Macy's and DFS Group Ltd. Over the years, he has held positions as a managing director with Louis Vuitton Paris and Wharf Holdings in Hong Kong. Prior to entering the retail industry, Ullman served as a White House Fellow for President Ronald Reagan after being vice president of business affairs for UC in the '70s. Ullman started his business career with the IBM Corp. in 1969, where he became an international account manager. In 2006, Ullman was the university's commencement speaker at spring graduation. The following year, he and his wife, Cathy, DAAP '70, donated $10 million to UC's College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning to support academic excellence in the School of Design.

Read feature story on Ullman’s work with Mercy Ships

Read about Ullman’s UC Commencement speech

Louise McCarren in her late teens or early 20s

Mother of credit unions

Louise McCarren Herring (1909-87), Eng ’32, was one of the pioneer leaders of nonprofit credit unions in the U.S. and helped to organize more than 500 credit unions. She has been called the "mother of credit unions."

(Read UC Magazine story about Herring.)

'Big O' five-time CEO, winner of gold medals, NBA lawsuit

Oscar Robertson, Bus '60, HonDoc '07, is best known as the UC basketball player who led the Bearcats to the Final Four two years in a row, then co-captained the U.S. gold-medal winners in the 1960 Romans Olympic Games. In the 1970s, he was the president of the NBA Players Association who lead a class-action lawsuit against the NBA, which helped NBA players become the first major professional athletes to achieve free agency. The settlement that was reached in 1976 is known as the “Oscar Robertson Rule.”

When his on-court career ended, Robertson began to use his business degree seriously, which led him to serve as CEO of five companies, including Oscar Robertson Solutions, Oscar Robertson Foods, Oscar Robertson Document Management Solutions, Orchem Corp. and Oscar Robertson Media Ventures. The latter is located in Los Angeles; all the rest in Fairfield, Ohio.

* OscarRobertsonPorfolio09.pdf
Download the '09 story on Oscar Robertson from the Lindner College of Business Portfolio magazine.

Renowned international business leader

Paul Polman, MA (A&S) '79, MBA '79, HonDoc '09, earned dual UC master's degrees in finance/international marketing and economics, then had an international career heading three of the world's largest consumer-goods companies. Soon after graduation, he began a 26-year career at Procter & Gamble, culminating with his position as group president of P&G Europe. From 2005 through 2008, he was chief financial officer for the world's largest food company, Nestlé. In 2008, he became CEO of Unilever, maker of brands like Lipton, Hellman's, Dove, Ponds, Vaseline and Suave. He was named Investor Magazine's 2007 CFO of the Year and the Wall Street Journal/CNBC 2003 European Business Leader of the Year.

* PaulPolmanPortfolio08.pdf
Download the 2008 story on Paul Polman from the Lindner College of Business Portfolio magazine.

Head shot of S. Jay Stewart.

Stewart corrects Space Shuttle booster problem

S. Jay Stewart, Eng ‘61, was vice chairman of Rohm and Haas Co. and CEO of its wholly owned subsidiary, Morton International, when he retired in 1999. Morton Thioko had manufactured the solid-fuel-rocket booster that was blamed for triggering the 1986 explosion of the shuttle Challenger that killed the seven crew members. Stewart was given senior management responsibility for leading the program to correct booster problems and permit return of the Space Shuttle to safe flight. Because the nation was watching, the process was intensive and highly visible. After two years of work, the shuttle Discovery was successfully launched in 1988 — with Jay and his wife, Judy, on hand to see it. 

John Barrett

Western & Southern joins Fortune 500

John Barrett, Bus '71, HonDoc '11, is chairman, president and CEO of the Cincinnati-based Western & Southern Financial Group. After graduation, he spent 15 years with the Bank of New York, leaving in 1987 to become the chief financial officer at Western & Southern, where his father, Charles Barrett, had once been CEO.  In 1989, John was appointed president. Since John's arrival, he transformed the small Midwestern insurance firm into a Fortune 500 company providing insurance and investment services through 14 member businesses. Its net worth steadily increased from $500 million in 1987 to $6.3 billion in 2011, while assets owned, managed and controlled were well in excess of $50 billion.

* JohnBarrettPorfolio11.pdf
Download '11 story on John Barrett from the Lindner College of Business Portfolio magazine.

Richard Thornburgh portrait

Investment banking career

Richard Thornburgh, Bus '74, joined First Boston Corp. in 1976. In 1997, he became CFO and executive board member for the Credit Suisse Group. Two years later, he was named vice chairman for the executive board from Credit Suisse First Boston. In 2006, he was made a partner and vice chairman of Corsair Capital. His alma matter honored him in 2000 by giving him the Carl H. Lindner Award for Outstanding Business Achievement.

* RichardThornburgPorfolio07.pdf
Download the '07 story on Richard Thornburgh from the Lindner College of Business Portfolio magazine.

Chris Downie

From auctions to health, all online

Chris Downie, Bus '94, left his corporate job right after graduation to found Up4Sale.com, an auction website in Cincinnati, with fellow grad Rob Ratterman, Bus ’95. With the backing of two other partners (Tom Duvall, DAAP ‘95, and Walter Carroll, JD ‘97), the person-to-person auction site became the country's second largest, and eBay bought it in '98 for approximately $70 million in stocks. In '01, Downie invested $5 million to found SparkPeople.com. It has since evolved into the country's largest diet, fitness and healthy-lifestyle website with 12 million free memberships from 150 countries in 2012.

(Read his whole story in UC Magazine.)

Head shot of Donald Wires

At forefront of technological leadership

Donald Wires, CAS ‘75, is the co-author of several patents on machine automation and safety systems. After graduation, Wires spent six years in the U.S. Navy nuclear submarine program. The next 35 years were spent at Procter and Gamble, where he designed and built a computer-based real-time simulator for a hydrolyzed-soap-making process, and introduced the first digital-control system into a shampoo-making system. He then led the electrical design and construction of a new Folgers Coffee plant in Texas, which was the first plant with total programmable control of all process, packing and utility systems, including combustion safeguard systems for boilers and spray towers. As director of engineering for Advanced Mechanical Products, he developed fully electric, zero-emissions highway-speed vehicles with a range of 150 miles.

Austin Allison headshot

Revolutionizing real-estate transactions

Twenty-six-year-old Austin Allison, Eng '04, JD ’11, is co-founder and CEO of DotLoop Co., a software design firm that provides a seamless, online solution to effectively automate real estate transactions. Forbes magazine named him in its prestigious "30 under 30" list in December 2011 the technology category.

(Read more here.)

headshot of Jill Casagrande

Alumna builds Disney Radio

Jill Casagrande, CCM '83, was senior VP and general manager of Radio Disney until 2008 when she decided to return to her hometown of Cincinnati. The company credits her with helping to build Radio Disney to an unrivaled market presence with kids, moms and advertisers.

(Read "UC Magazine" story about Jill Casagrande.)

Home-care model a franchise winner

Jeff Bevis, A&S ’81, founded FirstLight HomeCare in 2009-10 to offer customized, non-medical care to adults in various situations — patients recovering from an illness or surgery, seniors who require general assistance to remain in their homes, special-needs adults dealing with disabilities or dementia, plus family members needing respite care. By 2013 his company had 64 offices in 32 states, plus the distinction of being named to Entrepreneur magazine’s top 500 list of best franchises for 2013. In 2012, Franchise Business Review listed the company as one of the "Top Low-Cost Franchises," and in November, it added FirstLight to its 2012 list of “Top 100 Franchises for Veterans.” CEO and president Bevis has had more than 24 years of experience in franchising and is a Certified Franchise Executive.

(See a video of Bevis discussing his company.)

Robert Nugent, former Jack in the Box CEO

Robert Nugent, former Jack in the Box CEO

Drive-through hamburger chain

Jack in the Box’s 1,900 restaurants in 17 states, first major fast-food chain that started as a drive-through, first fast-food business to introduce breakfast sandwiches and portable salads, CEO was Robert Nugent, Bus ’64 (now retired).

Also browse the following lists:

  • List of alumni who headed U.S. companies worth more than $1 billion in 2009.
  • List of alumni who headed U.S. companies worth more than $100 million in 2007.
  • List of alumni who headed U.S. companies worth more than $150 million in 2002.


All Famous Alumni categories …

page compiled by Deborah Rieselman / updated 10-13