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Friday, Jul 19, 2024

VALLEY NEWSMAKERS

Wells Fargo is shaking up its local management team thanks to its merger with Wachovia, sending Los Angeles area veterans to far-off lands like Miami and Charlotte, North Carolina, and bringing in California-based execs to Los Angeles to keep things running smoothly. New regional president for Los Angeles Metro Community Banking is John Sotoodeh who has been serving as regional president in San Diego. The L.A. Metro division includes the San Fernando, Santa Clarita, Simi and Conejo valleys. In total, he will be responsible for 265 banking stores with 5,200 employees, replacing Shelley Freeman who is off to Florida. Sotoodeh began his career with Wells Fargo 19 years ago as a teller. In addition to his regional responsibilities, he is a cabinet member of the Wells Fargo’s Community Support and United Way Campaign. He is a graduate of San Jose State University. Reporting to Sotoodeh will be Vince Liuzzi, San Fernando Valley regional president, who said he’s very pleased with the choice of his new boss. “John is a wonderful person and a great human being, and he’s been so successful in the San Diego market,” said Liuzzi who has worked with Sotoodeh on various committees and task forces in the past. “John’s the right person to fill Shelly Freeman’s big shoes.” Also coming to Los Angeles will be Lisa Stevens who has been tapped to take Laura Schulte’s position as regional president of California Community Banking. Stevens joins the management team from Northern California where she was most recently led the Community Banking teams in the San Francisco and Oregon markets. — Linda Coburn Advertising Dan Dieffenbach has joined Mile 9 as a managing partner and chief creative officer. In that role he will coordinate campaign management, business development and overall creative strategy for clients. Prior to joining Mile 9, Dieffenbach wrote and directed commercials and campaigns for FOX Sports and the cable division of FSN; was marketing manager at Nike; and writer for SPORT magazine. Cosmetics Jafra Cosmetics International, Inc. has promoted Dr. Friedrich (Fred) Kroos to president and chief executive officer. He will be responsible for the overall management of the Westlake Village-based beauty products company which has more than 500,000 consultants worldwide. Kroos will report directly to the executive board of Vorwerk, the parent company of Jafra Kroos has 14 years combined tenure with Vorwerk and Jafra. After spending 12 years in various management level positions within the Vorwerk Group in Europe, in March 2007 he was named senior vice president of worldwide operations and business development for Jafra Cosmetics International. Economic Development Julia Ladd has joined the board of directors of the Economic Development Collaborative-Ventura County. Ladd is the senior property manager for the Oaks Mall in Thousand Oak. She will represent Macerich Corp. one of the nation’s largest owners, operators and developers of major retail properties, including the Oaks Mall. She also serves on the board for the Thousand Oaks Rotary Club, Alliance for the Arts, and Thousand Oaks Police Foundation. Engineering Matthew J. Vernon has recently been elected to a one-year term as president of the California Land Surveyors Association. In his post, Vernon will promote and enhance the profession of land surveying. Vernon continues to serve as governor of the National Society of Professional Surveyors. He is a past president of the Channel Islands Chapter of CLSA. Vernon is a project manager for the engineering firm RBF Consulting in their Camarillo survey and mapping department. Entertainment Laura Fryer has been appointed general manager of Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment’s Seattle Studios. In that position she will oversee the company’s internal development studios in Seattle and help set strategic direction for the Seattle studios’ game franchises. Prior to Warner Bros., Fryer was an executive producer for Microsoft Games Studios responsible for shipping games for the Xbox and Windows platforms. Betsy McGowen has been named president of newdance kids, the kids division of newdance, a new division of Studio City-based Alan Ett Creative Group. McGowen will be responsible for overseeing newdance kids’ slate of children’s programming, product development, strategic planning, promotion, marketing, network relationships and production. Prior to joining newdance kids, McGowen served as Senior Vice President and General Manager, Kids’ WB! on The CW and The WB Television Networks; as Senior Vice President, Kids’ WB! Marketing and held a top marketing position at Kids’ WB! since its inception in 1995. Kenneth Kiers has been promoted to senior vice president of operations at post-production facility My Eye Media. In that position Kiers will be responsible for directing and overseeing day-to-day quality assurance and technical services operations. Prior to joining My Eye, Kiers was at Buena Vista Home Video feature mastering. Craig Leener has joined My Eye Media as vice president of human resources. In that role Leener develops, coordinates and administrates human resources strategies and policies. Leener previously worked at Ascent Media Group where he was manager of human resources for the media division. Nonprofit Paul Sabolic donated $10,000 to the Los Angeles Valley College Athletic Endowment. Sabolic attended Valley College from 1966-1967 and was a Junior College All-American in football and later played for the University of Washington. He started his business VTM, a marketing consulting firm based in Tarzana. The athletic endowment will support athletic department items such as supplies, equipment, and travel. Real Estate Jones Lang LaSalle has added Brad Wilson to the firm’s recently established North Los Angeles office. He will be executive vice president. Wilson has more than 24 years of experience analyzing, structuring and negotiating commercial real estate transactions, He spent the previous four years as director and then vice president of real estate for Universal Studios, where he managed their worldwide owned and occupied real estate portfolio assets. Lee & Associates-LA North/Ventura, Inc. has raised four brokers to principal status,. The four are Stephen J. Geiger, Jay Martinez, Peter Steigleder and Spencer Strull. Geiger has been instrumental in organizing and managing a company-wide multi-housing group that operates across the country. Martinez specializes in commercial property sales and leasing. He was also recognized as Lee’s Associate of the Year for 2008. Martinez is on the board of Lee’s Strategic Asset Advisory Group (SAAG), which specializes in distressed property brokerage and advisory services. Steigleder is an industrial specialist who has been with Lee since 2006. Strull, also an industrial specialist, has consistently ranked among the company’s top producing associates since joined the firm in 2004. Lee also named Sherman Oaks principal Trevor Belden as Top Broker for outstanding performance in 2008. This was the second year in a row Belden has been awarded the honor. Other top performers honored at a Feb. 12 ceremony included Sherman Oaks principals Brett Warner, Scott Romick and Christine Deschaine; Calabasas principals Mark Leonard, Jay Rubin, and Ron Feder; and Ventura County principals Grant Harris and John Ochoa. Bob Scullin, CEO of Encino-based NAI Capital, was presented with the NAI Global President’s Award for performance in 2008. NAI Global also recognized the outstanding performance of three other Encino-based broker executives with its Global Elite award. The honorees are Lee Black, Barry Rothstein, and Cathy Scullin. Restaurants John “Jack” F. Tierney has been appointed as chief financial officer of DineEquity, the Glendale-based parent company of Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar and IHOP Restaurants. Tierney has served as CFO at Global Passenger Services and Brother Industries and held controller positions at Perdue Farms and Nestl & #233; USA. He most recently was CFO of The Dial Corporation, a $1.5 billion laundry, home care, beauty and personal care products business. DineEquity also announced the addition of Howard M. Berk to the board of directors. Since 2002, Berk has been a partner at MSD Capital L.P., an investment firm formed in 1998 to exclusively manage the capital of computer magnate Michael Dell and his family. From 1998 to 2002, Berk was managing director of investment group TG Capital Corp. From 1995 to 1998, Berk was with the Stenbeck Group, acquiring and managing businesses in multiple countries. He has also worked in principal investment and mergers and acquisitions for Goldman, Sachs & Co. Desmond Hague, president of IHOP Restaurants, a DineEquity company, resigned from the company Feb. 20 to serve as CEO of Centerplate Inc., a Connecticut company which specializes in food and beverage, event management, and restaurants. Technology THQ Inc. has appointed Paul J. Pucino as executive vice president and chief financial officer. Prior to joining THQ, which develops, publishes and distributes interactive entertainment software, Pucino was executive vice president and CFO of Classmates Media Corp., a United Online subsidiary. From 2005 to 2007, Pucino was CFO of Internet services company Digital Insight, which was merged with Intuit in February 2007. He also served as executive vice president and CFO of Tekelec, a publicly traded developer of Internet and telecommunications networking equipment. A certified public accountant, Pucino replaces Colin Slade who remains on an indefinite medical leave of absence. Ken Ford has been named as president and chief executive at Global Conference Partners, a telephony and web-based conference provider on Glendale. Ford will lead Global’s teleconferencing and collaboration business. He previously worked at j2 Global Communications, OnSite Access, Telemark Technologies and Metromedia Communications.

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