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Leadership & Management

SSA & Company’s leadership team is comprised of former CEOs and advisors of major multi-national corporations.  This enables us to have a unique understanding the interplay between strategy, organization, and process, as well as the practical aspects of how to get things done in large, complex, global organizations or small, dynamic teams.

Dave Fuente, Chairman

David Fuente is the former chairman and CEO of Office Depot and former president of Sherwin-Williams Paint Stores. In addition to his roles as Chairman of SSA & Company, he is a Senior Advisor at Peter J. Solomon Company. He formerly served on the boards of Office Depot, Ryder Transportation, Dicks Sporting Goods, Sunrise Senior Living and Vitamin Shoppe. Mr. Fuente holds both a BA and MBA from Purdue University.

 

Scott Miller, CEO

Scott Miller was previously CEO of both Hyatt Hotels Corporation and United Infrastructure Company. In addition to serving as CEO of SSA & Company, he is currently a Special Advisor to General Atlantic and serves on the boards of several private companies as well as AXA financial, Inc. and Affinion Group Holdings. Mr. Miller earned an MBA from the University of Chicago and a BA from Stanford University.

 

David Niles, President

David Niles is President of SSA & Company. Previously, Mr. Niles was a partner at Castling Group and manager of GESD/Castling Investors, a $30 million venture fund. Formerly, he was a management consultant with Booz, Allen & Hamilton and head of business development for BMG Direct Marketing, a $1 billion division of Bertelsmann AG. He holds an MBA with distinction from Columbia Business School, and a BA from the University of Virginia. Mr. Niles currently sits on the board of Columbia Business School’s Deming Center.

 

Deb Henretta, Senior Advisor

Deb is a Senior Advisor to SSA & Company where she is working to help companies better use big data and data analytics to drive stronger, sustained top-line and bottom-line results. Prior to this, Deb was the Global President of e-business at Procter & Gamble. Reporting to the CEO, Deb led P&G’s global e-business vision, strategy and creation of new business models for the world’s largest consumer good company. Deb was charged with redefining how P&G innovates, advertises & sells in the dynamic and fast growing digital world. Her work is transforming P&G’s business models to win in the digital economy where nearly half of P&G’s $86 Billion dollar sales are transacted or influenced.

Over her 30 year career with P&G, Deb led a number of large global businesses including the $20 Billion dollar Beauty business with more than 50 brands sold in more than 150 countries around the world including brands like Pantene, Olay, Head & Shoulders and Old Spice. Deb has a history of leading sustained topline and bottom line business results including several business turnarounds. In her 7 years as Group President of Asia, Deb consistently grew top-line and bottom-line results more than doubling the size of the Asia business. Deb led the global turnaround of P&G’s Baby Care business delivering 4 consecutive years of growth on Pampers, P&G’s largest brand reversing a decade long business decline and starting a growth trend that continues today.

Deb has been consistently recognized as an influential business leader, including seven consecutive years on Fortune magazine’s US and international rankings of the 50 Most Powerful Women in Business. In 2008, Deb received a US State Department appointment to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)’s Business Advisory Council. In 2011, she was appointed Chair of this 21-economy Council, becoming the first woman to hold the position. In this role, she advised top government officials including President Barack Obama & former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Deb is on the Board of Directors at Corning Inc., NiSource, and Meritage Homes Corporation, and is on the Board of Trustees for Xavier University and at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

 

Ram Charan, Advisor

Ram Charan is a world-renowned business advisor, author and speaker who has spent the past 35 years working with many top companies, CEOs, and boards of our time. In his work with companies including GE, MeadWestvaco, Bank of America, DuPont, Novartis, EMC, 3M, Verizon, Aditya Birla Group, Tata Group, GMR, Max Group, Yildiz Holdings, and Grupo RBS, he is known for cutting through the complexity of running a business in today’s fast changing environment to uncover the core business problem. His real-world solutions, shared with millions through his books and articles in top business publications, have been praised for being practical, relevant and highly actionable.

Ram’s introduction to business came early while working in the family shoe shop in a small town in northern India, where he was raised. He earned an engineering degree in India and soon after took a job in Australia. When his talent for business was discovered, Ram was encouraged to develop it. He earned MBA and doctorate degrees from Harvard Business School, where he graduated with high distinction and was a Baker Scholar, then served on the faculties of Harvard Business School and Northwestern University before pursuing consulting full-time.

Ram has authored 15 books since 1998 that have sold over 2 million copies in more than a dozen languages. Execution, which he coauthored with former Honeywell CEO Larry Bossidy in 2002, was a #1 Wall Street Journal bestseller and spent more than 150 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. He also has written for publications including Harvard Business Review, Fortune, BusinessWeek, Time, Chief Executive and USA TODAY. Ram was elected a Distinguished Fellow of the National Academy of Human Resources and has served on the Blue Ribbon Commission on Corporate Governance. He has served on the boards of Hindalco in India, Emaar, Austin Industries, Tyco Electronics, and Fischer and Porter. His newest book, Global Tilt (Crown, February 2013), is a guide to leading your business through the radical shift in economic power currently underway.

 

Kaj Ahlman, Advisor

Kaj Ahlmann is the former chairman, president and CEO of Employers Reinsurance (a division of General Electric).  He is currently a director for the Deutsche Bank Advisory Council, Cyrus Re, the American Institute for Chartered Property Casualty Underwriters, RLI Corporation, and is a past chair of the Reinsurance Association of America.  He and his family also own and operate the Six Sigma Ranch, Vineyards and Winery in Lower Lake, California.

 

Mark Habner, Advisor

  |  212-332-3943 | 

Mark Habner delivers operational excellence and business transformation execution services to the private equity firms and their portfolio investments.  Mark previously spent 10 years in private equity roles in the USA and Australia, targeting middle market growth equity and buyout investments.

He was a Partner with RMB Capital Partners in Sydney, Australia before relocating to the USA in 2006 as a Managing Director with Crystal Lake Capital. Mark joined RMB Capital Partners at its establishment in 1996 and was promoted to Partner in 2001. He led investments in healthcare, building and industrial products, automotive aftercare and telecommunications with a realized IRR in excess of 35%.  These investments extended across manufacturing, distribution and services activities.  Mark served on the Board of each portfolio investee as either Chairman or Director, supporting the senior management teams in executing growth strategies that included geographic expansion, acquisitions, product and service innovation and operating efficiencies.  This experience has provided a strong insight into growth dynamics and organizational success.  In a similar role at Crystal Lake Capital, the investments included hospitality and healthcare.

Prior to private equity, Mark was with Booz & Company leading project teams in healthcare, financial services, natural resources (coal and oil) and consumer products with engagements in Europe and Australasia.

 

Rafael L. Costa, Managing Director, Business Technology

  | 610-329-9057 | 

Rafael L. Costa is a Managing Director for SSA & Company, delivering operational excellence and business transformation services. Rafael has held executive positions in startup, private and public industry, hardware, software and consulting companies across the world for over 32 years. He has extensive experience in driving sales and executing transformational change in sales, marketing, product marketing and product management.

Rafael’s experience prior to joining SSA & Company includes being Senior Vice President of Hitachi Consulting (Celerant Consulting), where Rafael was responsible for Sales and Marketing in the Americas of all Management Consulting Services. He led a team of business development executives, marketing personnel and partnerships that drove sales throughout the Americas. Rafael’s efforts focused on Operational Excellence Programs in the oil and gas, Private Equity, chemicals, consumer packaged goods, metals and mining and industrial products sectors.

Rafael has held many titles: At Marathon Technologies, Rafael served as Vice President and was responsible for Global Sales of application availability software via direct, indirect and alliance partnerships. As Group General Manager of CDC Software, he was responsible for management of 5 business units with Profit and Loss responsibility. Business units sold services, software and hardware into various industries via a combination of sales approaches from direct and indirect sales as well as leveraging the web. As Vice President of Worldwide Channels at Inktomi, Rafael was responsible for all aspects of indirect channels (Value Added Resellers, OEM, etc). At Hitachi Data Systems, Rafael was Director of Sales Operations. In this role he established and implemented pricing strategy. Working for CEO as BPR Tsar re-engineered Sales on a global basis shifting to a solution sales model rather than price led model. As Enterprise and Storage Systems Business Unit Executive at IBM, he directed a sales team that met and exceeded a $225M quota and all profit objectives.

 

Paul de Janosi, Senior Managing Director

  | 215-370-1599 | 

Paul de Janosi is a Senior Managing Director for SSA & Company, bringing over 25 years of experience in Fortune 100 and private equity-owned firms leading growth and restructuring to create sustainable shareowner value. Paul’s operational expertise includes all phases of the M&A life-cycle, as well as strategy development and execution for the high-tech, consumer/retail, industrial and oil & gas sectors.

He is a founding member of and currently serves as a Board member of US Shale Solutions, Inc. and is head of the compensation committee. Paul graduated cum laude from Lehigh University where he earned both his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and B.A. in Physics.

Prior to joining SSA & Company, Paul established and ran Celerant’s Private Equity practice as President and Global Head of Mergers & Acquisitions and Private Equity. Celerant was the leading independent global Operations Management Consulting firm and was acquired by Hitachi Consulting. His team of specialists were responsible for working with private equity firms and portfolio company management to address a broad range of operational, business and commercial issues in pre- and post-acquisition situations. Celerant private equity clients included 15 of the top 20 global private equity groups and a number of mid-cap focused firms.

Paul began his career at IBM as an automation and manufacturing efficiency engineer and progressively held executive positions in engineering, sales, marketing and finance where he ultimately led the sales force and technology solutions restructuring of a $1.1B regional division. He then served as VP of Global Manufacturing and Supply Chain for the Campbell Soup Company where his responsibilities included functional and operational oversight of global procurement, manufacturing, logistics and distribution, and customer service systems for the $8B food and distribution company. Paul also served as President and CEO of Benchmarking Partners, an influential research-based consulting firm offering operational strategy consulting and application software best practices analysis.

 

Dr. Thomas Kaiser, Managing Director, Europe & Middle East

  |  +49 171-225-8982  | 

Dr. Thomas Kaiser comprehensively manages SSA & Company’s Europe business, with a focus on overseeing the strategy of our existing portfolio of business as well as new business.

Dr. Kaiser has extensive experience in management consulting, having worked on a global scale for the Management Consulting unit of Siemens. In this role, he successfully led all strategic and operational Quality Management and Process Improvement activities including benchmarking, restructuring, sales stimulation and quality management in Europe, the Americas and China. Consequently, he took over the Corporate Quality Management as Corporate Vice President where he successfully improved preventive methodologies such as Quality Gates or Requirement Engineering with direct impact on product and process quality.

Based on this strong track record, he took over the Corporate Sustainability function at Siemens reporting directly to the CEO. Responsible for the triple bottom line (economic, environmental and social) he gained deep insights on crisis management and compliance recovery based on fundamental process and cultural change. Dr. Kaiser is fluent in English and German.

 

Jeff Krajacic, Managing Director, Private Equity

  | 414-788-8705 | 

Jeff Krajacic is a Managing Director loans no credit check direct lenders of Private Equity for SSA & Company, delivering operational excellence and business transformation services. Jeff has held executive positions in private industry, consulting and Private Equity across the world for over 35 years implementing transformational change within Global 2000 businesses. Mr. Krajacic possesses functional domain expertise in business turnarounds, acquisitions, post-merger integration, asset optimization, operational excellence and revenue/profit enhancement.

Previously, Jeff was a Managing Operating Partner at Foxcode Operations Advisors, where he was responsible for creating and managing the value creation agenda for the Merchant banks portfolio holdings. He partnered with the executive teams to target acquisitions, perform operational due-diligence, drive integration and harvest synergies.

Jeff has held several executive titles in his career including the title of Managing Partner at Celerant/Hitachi Consulting of the North American Private Equity Practice. In this role he was responsible for developing services to support the PE sector with value creation throughout the total transaction life-cycle.  Created over $1.0B of EBITDA for portfolio companies.

Prior to Celerant/Hitachi Consulting, Jeff served as Operating Partner of Radius Equity Partners, where he was responsible for the initial operational assessments of potential acquisitions to fuel due diligence work, as well as developing and implementing a full range of financial improvement opportunities. In this role, Jeff served as President & CEO to drive a very difficult portfolio company turnaround. Jeff also worked as President of the Bourton Group, where he was responsible for strategy formulation, financial performance, sales and marketing, analysis, implementation, channel development and strategic alliances for management consultant focused on asset optimization and improvements to ROIC, ROA, RONA and EBITDA. Jeff has also served as Vice President of Gemini Consulting, where he helped grow the Diversified Industries and Consumer Products Group Industry Sectors, delivering industry specific methodology for and the analysis and implementation of major step level improvements and financial benefits for clients.

 

Jason Meil, Managing Director, New Products and Innovation

  | 646-768-0195 | 

Jason joined SSA & Company in 2013, and brings service design and technology implementation expertise to help companies execute their business strategies. Jason plays a leading role in managing partnerships with consumer-facing businesses in areas like retail, media, consumer products and education. Jason also heads up SSA’s initiatives to design new systems, products, and tools that elevate the core service offering and increase client impact.

Previously, Jason was a Principal and Managing Partner of the San Francisco office at Method, a leading design and technology firm. While at Method, Jason managed client relationships with companies such as Google, Microsoft, Flextronics, Samsung, Sony, Logitech, Intel, Comcast, Charter Communications, First Republic Bank, Barnes & Noble, Martha Stewart, Nissan, Restoration Hardware and Whole Foods, among many others. During Jason’s tenure, Method doubled in revenue and was acquired by GlobalLogic, a product development and technology services company of 6,000 engineers, backed by Sequoia Capital, Goldman Sachs and NEA.

Prior to Method, Jason was Executive Vice President at Interpublic Group, where he led IPG/Initiative’s award-winning Innovations group, the strategic and creative strike force within the media agency tasked with identifying new trends and technologies impacting advertising and leveraging them to help clients cut through the clutter. Jason was a member of IPG/Initiative’s core leadership team, and worked with all of the agency’s major clients – including Hyundai/KIA, SC Johnson, Dr Pepper Snapple Group, Home Depot, Lionsgate and MillerCoors – on executing groundbreaking, high-ROI activations across emerging platforms including branded content, social media and mobile. Jason also worked with fast-growing Interpublic digital agency HUGE on expanding its west coast presence and building out its brand and marketing practice.

Previously, Jason was Senior Vice President of Original Programming and Content Acquisitions at Current TV, where he helped launch the network and served as a driving force in the emerging movement of user-generated content—pre the launch of YouTube. Jason helped grow the company from 10 employees to over 450 in three countries while expanding Current’s footprint from 15 million subscribers to over 60 million, and directly oversaw a staff of 80 who developed and produced programming and led producer/UGC marketing and outreach.

Jason has also held positions at Castling Group, Booz Allen Hamilton, and Lehman Brothers. Jason graduated Magna Cum Laude with a BA from Harvard College and earned an MBA from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business.

 

John Rodgers, Chief Operating Officer, Financial Services and Retail

  | 815-941-1559 | 

John Rodgers is Chief Operating Officer for SSA & Company.  As Chief Operatiing Officer, John helps guide day-to-day operations and is responsible for developing and executing SSA’s business strategy. John is also responsible for ensuring operational excellence firm-wide, focusing on talent development, client delivery and overall firm performance.

John also continues to lead SSA’s Financial Services, Insurance, and Retail practices, where he focuses on inspiring new management thinking by challenging conventional wisdom through the application of operations management methodologies and systems. In this loans for a wedding capacity, he has partnered with executives of Fortune 500 companies to design and deliver world-class operating models.

Most recently, John has served as an Executive Coach, enabling C-Suite leaders of multiple Financial Services firms to raise the bar on their own performance and build an environment for success throughout the organization.

Prior to SSA, John was Director of Six Sigma for Ford Motor Company – Marketing, Sales, and Service Group, where he led the strategic implementation of LSS and ISO throughout Ford Marketing, Sales and Service global operations. While at Ford, John served as a member of the Executive Steering Committee, which provided strategic direction for all brands within the Ford Motor Company family. Before joining Ford Motor Company in 2000, John was Senior Consultant for Six Sigma Academy, where he guided Six Sigma deployments at multi-national companies including GE, DuPont, American Express and Ford Motor Company. In this role, he also successfully trained 500+ Black and Green Belts, delivering millions of dollars to companies’ bottom lines.

John began his Operations Management journey at GE Capital (Employers Reinsurance), where he gained certification as a Black Belt and Master Black Belt. As a Master Black Belt, he specialized in Voice of the Customer implementation and operational integration. As a Black Belt, he spearheaded multiple projects, both customer facing and back office, resulting in $5M+ in validated benefits. He also trained over 250 Green Belts and Black Belts while at GE. Prior to GE Capital, John spent nine years in the insurance industry with Aetna Life & Casualty and Cigna, with increasing levels of responsibility. During this period, he attained multiple industry designations including CPCU, RPLU, ARM, and AIS.

In addition to his client work, John is an accomplished public speaker. He has been invited to guest lecture at elite graduate programs including the University of Chicago (Booth) and Northwestern University (Kellogg). He is also a frequent guest speaker at multiple industry conferences (PEX/IQPC/WCBF).

 

Bob Silvers, construction loans bad credit Managing Director, Energy & Life Sciences

  | 480-734-3426 | 

Bob Silvers joined SSA & Company as a Managing Director in 2003, and leads the firm’s energy and life sciences practices. Prior to joining SSA, Bob worked for GE as a Master Black Belt in the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) – CNBC Division from October 1996 to November 1998.  Prior to his tenure with GE, Bob was a Master Black Belt with Allied Signal in the Automotive Filters & Spark Plugs division.  Bob also held a Research Engineer position at Allied Signal’s corporate research facility. While in this position, he was awarded two US patents in 1988 for an aqueous injection molding process, which utilized agar as the binder vehicle; this process was transferred to the aerospace and automotive sectors.  Further, he co-authored several articles in the field of ceramic engineering.

Bob has been a Master Black Belt instructor for SSA since 1998. During his tenure, he has delivered over 60 waves of Black Belt training and 8 waves of Champion training, reaching over 1800 participants. He trained at Ethicon (a Johnson & Johnson company), American Express, DuPont (Nylons, where the average documented project savings persoonlijk krediet was $315,000 per project), Ford (Power Train Operations and North American Truck), Toshiba (Nuclear Power Systems, Medical Systems, and Computer Systems), BBA (Non-Wovens, and DallasAirmotive), American National Can (now REXAM), and North American Philips Lighting for both manufacturing and transactional processes.  He developed and wrote the Six Sigma Black Belt and Green Belt training materials for North American Philips, and also co-authored “The Black Belt Memory Jogger,” published by Goal QPC in 2002.

 

Dr. Zening Ge, Managing Director, SSA & Company Asia

  | +86 010-6849-2699 | 

Dr. Ge started his professional career as an associate with US consultancy, AT Kearney and moved on to become a manager with GE’s Corporate Initiatives Group (CIG). While with AT Kearney, Dr. Ge focused on strategy consulting for automobile, railway transportation and retail industries in unsecured bad credit installment loans both Asia Pacific and the US. From 1996, Dr. Ge joined GE Corporate and worked in the CIG team. His responsibilities included helping various GE business units implementing Six Sigma. His main focus was on Six Sigma for the manufacturing sector and service processes in GE Capital. He was one of the pioneers to drive Six Sigma in GE’s finance services business units. In 1999, he was transferred to Asia to help in the integration of e-business and Six Sigma in various businesses. His last role with GE was Director of IT and Operation for GE Aircraft Engines Asia. During his tenure with GE, he had the opportunity to work closely with business leaders of GE Capital, Edison Life (in Japan), GE Aircraft Engines and GE Information Systems. Dr. Ge is an expert in Six Sigma implementation in large organizations, operation excellence and corporate strategy.

Dr. Ge earned his Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Chicago. In 2001, he founded the then Processwise Consultants Inc. in Beijing, which was the first focused Six Sigma and continuous improvement consulting firm in China. In the firm’s more than seven years’ operation, it helped many large local and multinationals implementing Six Sigma and Lean successfully and Dr. Ge has been instrumental in leading these engagements. In 2006, the then Six Sigma Academy and Processwise decided to pool their operations together in order to better serve their respective clients in Asia Pacific and in 2009, the firms merged their operations and Processwise became SSA & Company’s Asia office. Dr. Ge continues to lead the new operations.