Author: Jill Young Miller

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About Jill Young Miller

As research translator for WashU Olin Business School, my job is to highlight professors’ research by “translating” their work into stories. Before coming to Olin, I was a communications specialist at WashU’s Brown School. My background is mostly in newspapers including as a journalist for Missouri Lawyers Media, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Washington Post and the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida. Also, I am the reigning Olin Cornhole Champion.


Carl Casale, EMBA ’92, will be honored on April 30 as the 2021 Dean’s Medalist.

A purpose-driven executive and respected leader in the agriculture and food industries, Casale leads the venture capital practice at Ospraie Ag Science.

His three decades of experience leading globally influential companies across the ag and food sectors provide insight into converging forces that will fundamentally transform global agricultural systems.

“The projections are by 2030 about half the world is going to be middle class or wealthy and the other half is still going to be poor,” he said in an interview.

“What we believe is going to happen is a bifurcation in the food supply. There’ll be those that just want more calories. But increasingly in what we’re seeing in this country is it’s not about how many calories can you produce. It’s how can you produce my calories?”

Consumers are interested in sustainability, transparency and local sources, he said.

“It’s not a fad. It is a shift, we believe. And so we said, ‘OK, if we believe that to be true, what do we want to do?’ And we said, ‘Well, let’s invest in technologies that fulfill those needs that can make farmers more productive but satisfy the desires of consumers in a way that they want met.’”

A farmer himself

A fourth-generation farmer, Casale identifies ag tech investment opportunities that support sustainable food production. In 2018, he helped launch Ospraie Ag Science, which is the venture arm of Ospraie Management. In this role, he leads successful venture campaigns for select companies that help farmers do more with less environmental impact.

In another role, in Casale’s seven years as the CEO and president of CHS Inc., the company returned $3 billion to its owners, invested $9 billion in new capital expenditures and nearly doubled the size of its balance sheet from $8.7 billion in 2010 to $17.3 billion at the end of fiscal 2016. CHS Inc. is a global agribusiness owned by farmers, ranchers and cooperatives across the United States.

Casale said he focused on prudent fiscal management and enhancing management systems at the company. During his tenure, CHS was the only major firm in the industry to manage through the recent economic decline without a planned reduction in workforce, instead relying on strategic cost reductions. Casale reduced working capital by $400 million to help fund a $2.8 billion transformational investment in CF Nitrogen—without taking on an undesirable debt level. The result was an 80-year agreement and a significant new profit source for the co-op’s farmer-owners.

His Monsanto days

At Monsanto Co., Casale rose through the ranks from sales representative to running the company’s largest division at age 36. As executive vice president of strategy and operations, he conceptualized the industry’s first eight-gene agricultural biotech product, “SmartStax,” which became the nation’s No. 1 insect protection trait in corn. As CFO, he reduced several hundred million dollars in operating costs by shifting the reliance on revenue to the strategic use of cash to generate earnings.

From Congress to key industry events, Casale is a sought-after commentator on the future of farming and global ag infrastructure. He remains deeply committed to “creating business models that ensure relevance over time” and continues to shape the ag, food and energy industries in both private and public roles.

Casale and his wife, Kim, operate a 150-acre specialty crop farm in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, and his family resides in Minnesota’s Twin Cities.

Please register for the event here.




Olin Business School will honor four distinguished alumni on April 30 with a morning panel discussion and an evening celebration. Event information can be found at alumni.wustl.edu/daagala 

For more than 32 years, Olin Business School has recognized and presented Distinguished Alumni Awards honoring alumni who have attained distinction in their careers.

Those who will be honored share the characteristics of leadership: progressive thinking, high standards, uncompromising integrity, commitment, courage and confidence. Their careers serve as models for all Washington University students and alumni.

Andrew Rubin, BSBA ’98

CEO and cofounder, Illumio

As CEO and cofounder of Illumio, Andrew Rubin is responsible for the overall strategy and vision of the company. Illumio, founded in 2013, provides visibility, segmentation and control of all network communications across any data center or cloud. Large enterprises including Morgan Stanley, BNP Paribas, Salesforce and Oracle NetSuite trust Illumio to reduce cyber risk.

Rubin

With deep expertise in segmentation, network security and regulatory and compliance management, Rubin is a frequent participant in panels, articles and podcasts for leading industry events and publications. Each year since 2015, Goldman Sachs has named him one of the “100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs” as part of its Builders & Innovators program.

Prior to Illumio, Rubin was president and head of worldwide field operations at Cymtec, a leader in the intrusion detection market. Rubin graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a BSBA in Finance. He was the first undergraduate student to win the Olin Cup, a business plan competition through the Skandalaris Center for Entrepreneurial Studies. Originally from Brooklyn, New York, Rubin now lives in California’s Silicon Valley with his wife and daughter.

Eric Veiel, MBA ’99

Cohead of global equity, head of US equity, T. Rowe Price

Eric Veiel is cohead of Global Equity, head of US Equity, chair of the Equity Steering Committee and a member of the Management Committee of T. Rowe Price. He is also the executive sponsor of WAVE, the firm’s business resource group whose mission is to increase the firm’s ability to attract, develop, advance and retain talented and principled women.

Veiel

The Global Equity division is comprised of over 270 investment professionals based in Baltimore, New York, San Francisco, London, Zurich, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Singapore and Sidney. The team is responsible for the management of over $850 billion of the firm’s $1.1 trillion in client assets and provides portfolios that meet client needs across a wide variety of investment styles, regions and market cap ranges.

Veiel has 20 years of investment experience, 14 of which have been with T. Rowe Price. He was previously a co-director of Equity Research for North America and co-portfolio manager of the U.S. Equity Structured Research Strategy. He joined the firm in 2005 as an investment analyst.

Veiel earned a BBA, magna cum laude, in finance from James Madison University. He also holds an MBA, with concentrations in finance and accounting, from Washington University, where he was a Charles F. Knight Scholar. Veiel resides outside of Annapolis, Maryland, with his wife, Lori (PhD ’04 psychology from Washington University), and their two children. 

Rob Vitale, PMBA ’94

President and CEO, Post Holdings Inc.

Rob Vitale has served as the president and CEO of Post Holdings since 2014. He joined the company during the time of its spinoff from Ralcorp and was the company’s chief financial officer from 2011-2014. He has been a member of the board of directors at Post Holdings since 2014.

Vitale

During his time, the company has completed 15 major acquisitions and executed a variety of innovative financial transactions, including the creation and spinoff of Post’s active nutrition units into a new public company, BellRing Brands Inc. in 2019. He also serves as the executive chairman of the Board of Directors of BellRing Brands. These acquisitions and transactions have increased revenue from $900 million in fiscal 2012 to nearly $6 billion today.

Prior to Post, Vitale’s background included a history of organization leadership, transformative growth and acquisitions. He served as president and CEO of AHM Financial Group LLC, a diversified financial services firm, which grew fivefold in revenue during his time leading the company. Prior to AHM, he was a partner in Westgate Group LLC, a consumer products private equity firm. Early in his career, he worked at Boatmen’s Bancshares Inc. and KPMG. He received his Professional MBA from Washington University in St. Louis and a BSBA from St. Louis University.

Vitale and his wife live in St. Louis near the Danforth Campus. He has two grown children, a daughter in Chicago and a son in St. Louis.

Kelli P. Washington, CFA, BSBA ’94

Managing director, research and investment strategy, Cleveland Clinic Investment Office

Kelli P. Washington joined the Cleveland Clinic Investment Office in 2017. She is primarily responsible for monitoring portfolio asset allocation policies, maintaining the macroeconomic research function and collaborating with the CIO on research that directs tactical investment decisions and hedging strategies for the long-term investment pool. Additionally, Washington conducts manager due diligence across asset classes.

Washington

Prior to joining the Cleveland Clinic Investment Office, Washington was a managing director of investments with Cambridge Associates, where she was responsible for manager selection, investment implementation and strategy for a variety of nonprofit institutions. Before Cambridge Associates, she was an endowment officer at Bowdoin College as well as a senior due diligence analyst with Edward Jones Investments and portfolio manager with the Edward Jones Trust Co. in St. Louis.

Washington is the chair of the Alumni Board of Governors at Washington University in St. Louis and a former investment committee member for the Crittenton Women’s Union (now EMPath) in Boston. Washington is a CFA Charterholder, holds a BSBA from Washington University and an MBA from the Yale School of Management.




In the past decade, the art world has witnessed the rise of historical, museum-quality blockbuster exhibitions in commercial art galleries.

They are a sign of a changing environment. Traditional roles are interchangeable and boundaries are blurring. Why and how are these expensive shows conceived and put together? What is their goal? And what are the results for the galleries that organize them?

Valentina Castellani, former director of New York’s Gagosian Gallery, discussed these questions and more in the inaugural Women and the Kemper Public Lecture on February 20.

In her talk, “Blurring the Boundaries: The Rise of Blockbuster Museum-Quality Exhibitions in Commercial Galleries,” she focused the Gagosian exhibitions Picasso: Mosqueteros and Piero Manzoni: A Retrospective.

Women and the Kemper and Olin Business School cosponsored the event. Olin offers a minor in the Business of the Arts. Visit olin.wustl.edu/arts, or contact us at 314-935-3329, sandraphilius@wustl.edu.

Watch the event and Castellani’s lecture here:

Photo: Frances Roberts / Alamy Stock Photo




Do you believe the company you work for cares about you? Do you feel you have a purpose at work?

“Sixty percent of employees express a need for purpose at work,” Anjan Thakor, Olin’s John E. Simon Professor of Finance, said during a recent Business Research Series event. “But they don’t get it at work.”

In addition, “88% of employees in US companies feel that the company they work for does not care for them,” Thakor said in his March 3 virtual presentation titled “How Can You Create a Purpose-Driven Organization?”

“Everybody hungers for purpose.”

The answer lies in organizations’ embracing an authentic higher purpose, he said, with the higher purpose as the “arbiter of all decisions.”

Thakor’s research shows employees of organizations with higher-purpose statements are happier and prouder of their organizations than are employees at workplaces without such a statement. The effects were stronger when the purpose statement was written—and tied to society, employees and customers, rather than shareholders.

From theory to practice

Here are eight guidelines, which are drawn from research and interviews with leaders of higher-purpose organization:

  • Envision a purpose-driven organization.
  • Discover the purpose.
  • Meet the need for authenticity.
  • Turn the higher purpose into a constant arbiter of all business decisions.
  • Stimulate learning.
  • Turn mid-level managers into purpose-driven leaders.
  • Connect the people to the purpose.
  • Unleash the positive energizers.

Thakor, along with University of Michigan colleague Robert Quinn, collaborated on the research, which culminated in a 2019 book entitled The Economics of Higher Purpose: Eight Counterintuitive Steps for Creating a Purpose-Driven Organization. The pair also collaborated on a 2018 cover story on the topic for the Harvard Business Review.




Arnold B. Zetcher and his wife, Ellen, have made a commitment of at least $8 million in outright and estate gifts to advance Washington University in St. Louis’ effort to adopt a need-blind admissions policy

In recognition of the gift, the university will­ rename the South 40 House on the South 40 residential area of the Danforth Campus the Arnold and Ellen Zetcher House.

Zetcher earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Olin in 1962. He is retired chairman, president and CEO of Talbots Inc.

Read the full story here.