College of Business > About > Centers & Institutes > Center For Strategy Execution and Valuation > Leadership & Faculty

Leadership & Faculty

Joel Litman
Joel Litman
Clinical Professor of Strategy
Co-Founder of The Center for Strategy, Execution and Valuation

Joel Litman is Managing Director at Equity Analysis & Strategy, Inc. based in New York. His career spans the interrelationship between business strategy, performance and valuation. Methodologies employed include RETURN DRIVEN STRATEGY™, Strategic Valuation and the HOLT CFROI© methodology. His career has spanned investment management, investment banking, and management consulting, formerly at employers Credit Suisse First Boston, Diamond Management and Technology Consultants, Deloitte Consulting and American Express.

With Dr. Mark L. Frigo, Litman co-authored the book, DRIVEN: Business Strategy, Human Actions and the Creation of Wealth, and has been published articles or served as editor in journals/magazines including Harvard Business Review, Strategic Finance, Insight and others. Litman is a member of the CFA Institute's Retained Speakers Bureau and teaches regularly at universities in cities including Hong Kong, Tokyo, Dubai, London and all over North America. Universities have included Harvard Business School, Wharton, London Business School and others. He is on staff as Professor with the HULT International Business School based in Cambridge and also The Center for Strategy, Execution and Valuation, which he co-founded at the Kellstadt MBA Program in Chicago. Through the Foundation for Socioeconomic Advancement and Children International, Litman is heavily involved in the support of under-developed communities and education, particularly in the Philippines. Joel is a CPA in the State of Illinois, received his BS in Accounting from the College of Commerce at DePaul University and an MBA from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University.

Richard J. Anderson
Richard J. Anderson
Clinical Professor of Strategic Risk Management

Richard (Dick) Anderson is a Clinical Professor in the Center for Strategy, Execution and Valuation and the Strategic Risk Management Lab at DePaul University and is a retired Partner of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP.

Mr. Anderson has a diverse background in the financial and professional services industries. With PwC, he was a Regional Leader in the Financial Services Advisory practice, consulting with major financial services organizations on internal auditing practices, risk management and audit committee activities. Prior to joining PwC, he headed two internal audit functions including serving as global head of internal audit and credit review for a major U.S. bank.

With DePaul University, he is writing and lecturing on risk management and internal audit topics. A frequent author and speaker, his articles have appeared in the Internal Auditor, Financial Executive, The Journal of Business Strategy, Internal Auditing, Director's Monthly and The Journal of Accountancy.

He holds a B.S. Accounting from St. Joseph College and an MBA from Northern Illinois University. In addition, he is a CPA and member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Illinois CPA Society and Institute of Internal Auditors.

Chris Pieszko
Clinical Professor of Strategic Finance

Chris Pieszko is Founder and President of CJP Properties, LLC, which provides management consulting services to small and medium size companies in the areas of operations, financial management, business development strategy, real estate, M&A and capital funding. Prior to founding CJP Properties, Mr. Pieszko was an executive at McDonald's Corporation, serving in various management roles in the finance, real estate, accounting, franchising and new business development areas.

From 2004 to March, 2009 as Senior Vice President of Finance Strategy at McDonald's Corporation, he was responsible for developing long-term ownership strategies for the Company's international markets and executing optimal ownership structures for these businesses. In 2007, Chris led the effort to sell and franchise 18 markets in Latin America, including Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and Puerto Rico, for $700 million under a developmental license (DL) structure to a master franchisee. This was the single largest franchising transaction in McDonald's history. From 2001 to 2004, Mr. Pieszko was responsible for long-term business development as Senior Vice President of McDonald's Global Real Estate and New Business Development. This role involved developing long range strategic plans for new restaurant growth; the relocation, rebuild and re-imaging of existing restaurants; and leveraging the Company's real estate portfolio. The New Business Development group also pursued several new business opportunities, including the global Wi-Fi initiative in McDonald's restaurants and the creation the Redbox DVD concept, currently the U.S. leader in automated movie rental with over $800 million in revenues.

Mr. Pieszko was Senior Vice President and Corporate Controller from 1996 to 2001, where he was responsible for the Corporate and worldwide Accounting functions. In this role he worked very closely with the Audit Committee of the Board of Directors. During this time, he also led the effort to acquire Boston Market, a 600 restaurant chain, and the buy-up to increase McDonald's ownership in Chipotle Mexican Grill.

Mr. Pieszko graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Commerce from DePaul University. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Illinois Certified Public Accountants Society. He also serves on the DePaul University Advisory Board for the College of Commerce and previously served on the Administrative Committee of McDonald's Employee Benefit Plans.

David M. Wong
David M. Wong
Senior Director, Innovation and Acceleration Lab
CME Group

David is responsible for CME Group’s Innovation and Acceleration Lab, our vehicle to connect and further enhance our innovation capabilities across the enterprise.  Through this venture, we increase and accelerate our identification and implementation of new viable offerings and enhancements to create new value and long-term growth for our customers and business.  David has most recently led the formation of CME Group’s Growth Operating System and Growth Board to drive and fund early stage exploration and market testing in promising adjacent and frontier opportunity areas.

Prior to his current role, David helped drive strategy and planning across CME Group’s futures and options-on-futures businesses.  David has also served as Chief of Staff to CME Group’s CEO, as well as the Director of Enterprise Risk Management where he worked closely with Management and the Board to evolve, align, and sustain sound risk management practices across the organization.  

Prior to joining CME Group, David was a First Vice President of Risk Management at LaSalle Bank ABN AMRO and a Manager in Deloitte’s Enterprise Risk Services management consulting practice. 

David has a B.A. in Accountancy from the University of Illinois (inactive CPA), an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Business, a certificate in Strategic Decisions and Risk Management from Stanford University, and a certificate in Leading Innovative Change from Berkeley.  He continues to be involved in academia through interacting regularly with faculty, as well as guest teaching and hosting classes from Kellogg and DePaul.

David is actively involved in the Executives’ Club of Chicago, and serves as First Vice Chair of the club’s Leadership Circle Advisory Board and as a group mentor in the Mentorship Program. 

Jim Hurley
 James E. Hurley
Clinical Professor of Strategy

Jim Hurley was most recently President and CEO of a privately held global manufacturer and marketer of specialty products to the industrial food marketplace. Prior to his tenure as a CEO, Mr. Hurley was Vice President and Chief Financial Officer with HPR Partners, a division of HAVI Group. In this role, Jim directed all aspects of global financial, accounting, treasury, planning and budgeting functions for this $2.5 billion manufacturing and logistics company. Prior to joining HPR Partners, Mr. Hurley was Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Secretary with, Inc., a startup technology and Internet division of Encyclopedia Britannica with subsidiaries in the United States, Australia and United Kingdom. Previously, Mr. Hurley was President of LP International, Inc., where he was recruited to turn around profitability for this troubled international marketer and distributor of consumer packaged products.

Jim holds an MBA with distinction from DePaul University in Finance and a BA from Lewis College in Accounting. He has lectured at the Wharton Business School, Northern Illinois University Department of Accounting and for various corporate clients in areas of strategic planning, business combinations, accounting and finance. Jim is a 2007 graduate of Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management Executive Scholar Program. He is a Fellow of the Wharton School and holds a CPD from Wharton. Jim is a 2010 graduate of the President's Forum advanced study program in Peer Directed Emotional Intelligence (PdEI) at the Liautaud Graduate School of Business at the University of Illinois Jim is a Certified Public Accountant licensed to practice in Illinois. He is also certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM) and a member of the American Inventory and Control Society.

Jim has taught advanced financial topics at the DePaul University's Kellstadt Graduate School of Business in Chicago, Ill. for over 13 years including Mergers and Acquisitions, Business Valuation, Option Theory and Advanced Corporate Finance. Jim has also taught finance classes in DePaul's Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) review program in Chicago.

Jim has completed several marathons, triathlons and long-distance cycling events. Jim is an accomplished high-altitude mountaineer, summiting multiple 20,000+ peaks in North America, Asia, Africa and Europe. He is an avid surfer and is a PADI rescue diver, having both surfing and scuba experience in the USA, Australia, Central America, Southeast Asia and the Caribbean. Jim and his family are dual Irish-American citizens. Jim is on the advisory Board of DePaul University's School of Music in Chicago.

John Kroen
John Kroen, J.D.
Clinical Professor of Risk Management and Security Strategy

John Kroen joined DeVry Education Group as Compliance Officer in July of 2005. In August 2009 he applied his knowledge of business and process controls to the areas of security, emergency response, risk assessment and mitigation, and crisis management as Chief Security Officer.  As Chief Security Officer he had oversight over domestic and global security operations. Named Vice President, Civic Affairs for DeVry Medical International In July 2014, he now manages the organization’s community, municipal, government and diplomatic relations throughout the Caribbean.
Mr. Kroen began his professional career consulting with publicly traded companies in the area of market intelligence – assisting senior management teams communicate strategy, growth plans and investment opportunity to targeted mutual funds managers and independent money managers. This focus on communication and strategy led to his appointment as President of Dresner Corporate Services, a boutique investor and public relations firm and subsidiary of a middle market investment bank.

Besides specializing in crafting messages, crisis management, and speech and presentation writing, Mr. Kroen leveraged his legal education to become a thought and practice leader in the area of disclosure, as prescribed under Regulation FD (effective date October 23, 2000). In 2002, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act ushered in reporting and internal control requirements for publicly traded companies. Over the past six years, Mr. Kroen has balanced US based corporate responsibilities with a focused attention on the Eastern Caribbean. With this recent focus, Mr. Kroen is a founding member of Crime Stoppers St. Kitts-Nevis, and the Coalition of Support for St. Kitts and Nevis Security Initiatives. He is a member of OSAC’s Latin America Regional Council (LARC) and of the recently established Bridgetown/Eastern Caribbean OSAC.

Mr. Kroen is a Clinical Professor of Risk Management and Security Strategy at The Center for Strategy, Execution, and Valuation at DePaul University’s Driehaus College of Business. He is an Adjunct Professor at Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine specializing in the many aspects of Veterinary Law. Mr. Kroen is a graduate of Saint Xavier University and DePaul University College of Law.

Russell Gottesman
Clinical Instructor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship

Russell Gottesman joins the Center as a Clinical Instructor in the Fall Quarter of 2011 working with Dr. Frigo on research focusing on the intersection of strategy and entrepreneurship. He is founder of Commuter Advertising. The first and exclusive provider of location- and timed-based audio sponsorship messages that play on public transportation vehicles. Russ oversees new market development and building the Commuter Advertising sales teams in each market. Commuter Advertising operates nine advertising contracts in seven cities and is in the process of expanding domestically and internationally. The company has been featured in the NY Times, Mass Transit Magazine, Passenger Transport, the Dayton Business Journal and a number of online publications.

Prior to founding Commuter Advertising, Russ managed offices at Westwood One and CBS Radio in Chicago. He won the Soin Award for Innovation as well as two business plan competitions at DePaul University and the University of Dayton. He has an MBA at DePaul University with a double concentration in Strategy, Valuation and Execution (SEV) and Entrepreneurship. Russ also sits on the advisory board of the University of Dayton's Crotty School of Entrepreneurship.

Bartley J. Madden
Bartley J. Madden

Bartley J. Madden retired as a managing director of Credit Suisse HOLT after a career in investment research and money management that included the founding of Callard Madden & Associates. His early research led to the development of the CFROI valuation framework that is used today by money-management firms worldwide. Madden's current research focuses on knowledge building and wealth creation as opposite sides of the same coin. For additional background information, including journal articles, op-eds and videos, visit

His latest book, Value Creation Thinking, focuses on how creating long-term value begins with clarity about the purpose of the firm and about management's core responsibilities, and emphasizes the overriding importance of a knowledge-building culture. Knowledge building is the topic of his book, Reconstructing Your Worldview: The Four Core Beliefs You Need to Solve Complex Business Problems. One idea concerns systems thinking and the identification of key constraints that degrade overall system performance. An application of systems thinking to public policy is reflected in Madden's proposal to restructure the Food and Drug Administration, which is explained in his book Free To Choose Medicine: Better Drugs Sooner at Lower Cost. The fundamental principles of Free To Choose Medicine have already been implemented in Japan for regenerative medicine drugs (see

Ron Graziano
Clinical Professor of Strategic Valuation

Ron Graziano is a Director at Credit Suisse and serves as the Global Accounting Strategist within the HOLT group. Mr. Graziano is actively involved in writing research and consulting the firm's largest institutional investor clients on difficult accounting topics such as quality of earnings, International Financial Reporting Standards, the effect of the credit crunch on corporate balance sheets, share buybacks vs. dividends, pensions and corporate taxes. He often guest lectures/teaches at local universities about accounting, performance and valuation issues. He has authored several white papers, published research papers with major universities such as Harvard, presented at the SEC on the effect of transitioning to IFRS and has been quoted as an expert in major financial journals on numerous subjects that affect the capital markets.

Prior to joining Credit Suisse, Mr. Graziano was a Vice President at Ashton Partners, the nation's largest independent investor relations and strategic consulting firm, a financial consultant with Deloitte & Touché, and a senior auditor with KPMG.

Mr. Graziano graduated with honors (summa cum laude) from Loyola University with a BA in Accounting, received his MBA (with honors) in the Strategy, Execution and Valuation (SEV) concentration from Kellstadt Graduate School of Business at DePaul University and is a CPA. You can reach him at

Mark Ubelhart
Clinical Professor of Strategic Finance and Human Resource Management

Mark Ubelhart joins Dr. Mark Frigo in spearheading the Strategic Human Capital Management Initiative in the Center for Strategy, Execution and Valuation in the Kellstadt Graduate School of Business at DePaul University, which focuses on research linking human capital analytics with shareholder value creation in high-performance companies.

Mark Ubelhart has for over 40 years led the state-of-the-art developments in two disciplines — Corporate Finance and Human Capital. First as the Vice President and Corporate Financial Consulting Division Administrator for Harris Bank in Chicago; then as the Corporate Finance/Executive Compensation Practice Leader for Hewitt Associates — Partner, Owner and Principal as the firm evolved from a partnership to a publicly traded company. This included an equity ownership position he managed in HOLT Value Associates, which was later acquired by Credit Suisse. Finally, as the Human Capital Foresight Practice Leader there involving Global Analytics for their Predictive Analytics capabilities.

He has an MBA from The University of Chicago, Booth School of Business and an AB from Dartmouth College, Phi Beta Kappa majoring in Economics. In October 2014, Mark delivered the Keynote Address entitled "The Convergence of HR and Finance: Leveraging HR's Most Powerful Advantage To Impact The Business" at the HRPS Strategic HR Forum in Boston attended by 140 senior HR executives.

Gary Plaster
Clinical Professor of Strategy Execution

Mr. Plaster is Managing Director, Strategy Consulting for the Landhouse Group. He is an accomplished author and consultant with over two decades of experience advising C-level executives. He is a nationally recognized thought leader in the area of growth strategy and managing growth. Mr. Plaster is the co-author of two books, THE ROAD TO SUCCESS: How to Manage Growth and BEYOND SIX SIGMA: Profitable Growth through Customer Value Creation (both published by John Wiley & Sons).

Mr. Plaster was formerly a Partner with Grant Thornton LLP, a public accounting and management consulting firm. He served the firm in a variety of roles including as the National Managing Partner of the Enterprise Strategies practice and as the firm's Chief Strategy Officer. Mr. Plaster's clients have ranged from middle-market companies to the Global 1000. His clients include: Lockheed Martin, USG, SAP, Honeywell, Exxon Mobil, Federal Signal, TTX, RR Donnelley, Ventas, NCR, Medtronic, IBM, Kellogg's, Eli Lilly, Michael Foods, Liberty Diversified Industries, Michigan State University, Seminole Nation and Alliant Techsystems. He earned a BS in Industrial Engineering and an MBA in Finance from the University of Wisconsin.