SOURCE: Thunderbird


October 07, 2013 19:14 ET

Thunderbird Ramps Up for Growth With New Trustees & New Hires

GLENDALE, AZ--(Marketwired - October 07, 2013) - Thunderbird School of Global Management is strengthening its leadership team in preparation for growth with the addition of five new Trustees and two new senior managers.

Thunderbird's Board of Trustees has elected five new members, including two alumni and a past Board chairman associated with the school for more than 26 years. The newest members are John Berndt, John Henrickson, Klaus Knappik, Kevin Rohrer, and Douglas Short.

The new trustees, appointed during a special meeting in September 2013, join the volunteer board as Thunderbird moves forward with growth plans that include new global campuses, a new undergraduate program, and expanded online and executive education programs.

"The planned changes provide evidence of the Board's willingness to take bold action, both in recognizing the significant changes sweeping through higher education and in leveraging the unique assets of the school," said new Trustee John Berndt, a past Board chairman who served previously on the Board from 1987 to 2009 and from 2011 to 2012. Berndt also served as interim Vice President of Thunderbird Executive Education and later as Chief Operating Officer. 

Each of Thunderbird's board members has a wealth of experience and unique global perspective. "Mine is the classic Thunderbird story," said Short, a 1975 Thunderbird alumnus. Throughout his life and global banking career, Short has lived and worked in Indonesia, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, and various places in Europe. He is currently based in New York. "Thunderbird has opened doors for me all over the world," he said.

Complimenting Short's insight into Asia, is 1982 alumnus Kevin Rohrer, who is the Founder and Managing Director of Matex Technologies in Hong Kong and the Regional Chair of Thunderbird Alumni Network Board.

"Thunderbird is a magical place that helped me launch my global career," said Rohrer. "I am happy to give back to my alma mater, a community of big thinkers and doers who are revolutionizing business education for future global leaders."

New board member John Henrickson, retired Vice President of IBM, has also worked in Japan and Hong Kong.

"As Thunderbird moves forward on international expansion plans, including a yet to be determined site in Asia, the awareness and understanding of the area that these new trustees bring will be extremely valuable," said Thunderbird President Larry Edward Penley, Ph.D. 

Thunderbird's Board of Trustees Chairwoman, Ann Iverson, added, "Each one of our new trustees brings something unique to the table. They are experienced, global and committed to seeing the school remain the best in international business. I look forward to working alongside them as we continue to carry out Thunderbird's mission to educate global leaders who create sustainable prosperity worldwide while growing our footprint and our impact on the world."

Thunderbird also announced today that it has hired two new senior leaders. Peter J. Hill, a commercial banking veteran with experience across many industries, including higher education, will serve as Chief Operating Officer. Rick Franke, a certified public accountant with a record of implementing effective financial controls, will serve as Vice President of Finance.

"Thunderbird is privileged to have the experience of these two proven leaders during an exciting period in the school's history," said Thunderbird President Larry Edward Penley, Ph.D. "Both men will play central roles as Thunderbird scales up to deliver on its global brand promise in the 21st century."

Prior to joining Thunderbird, Hill worked in the commercial banking industry for 35 years, including senior roles that have required him to make substantial improvements to business processes. Most recently he served as Director of Credit Administration and Chief Credit Officer for an Arizona-based bank. Read more.

Franke comes to Thunderbird from Scottsdale, Arizona-based Hydration Technology Innovations, where he served as chief finance officer. He has more than 30 years of senior leadership experience, including roles on various strategic planning teams focused on short- and long-term criteria to ensure corporate viability. Read more.

The new trustees' experience includes:

John Berndt is the retired president of Sprint International. He has served the school in several capacities over the years, including as a member of the Board of Trustees from 1987 to 2009, and as Chairman of the Board for six years. He resigned from the board in 2009 to serve the school as Executive Vice President of Strategic Initiatives, and in February 2011 took on the role of Senior VP of Corporate Learning. Most recently, Berndt served as the school's Chief Operating Officer. Berndt began his telecommunications career with AT&T in 1963 and rose to a number of senior executive positions within that company. From there, he became president of Fluor Daniel Telecom, an operating unit of the Fluor Corporation, and in 1998, president of the international operating unit of the Sprint Corporation. He retired from Sprint in late 2000.

John Henrickson is the retired vice president of IBM and a member of the Thunderbird Global Council. After serving as a captain in the United States Air Force for five years in Japan, Henrickson went to work for multinational technology and consulting corporation IBM. Throughout his more than 28 years with IBM, he held various senior level positions, including vice president of emerging markets, and CEO of IBM / Qwest JV for IBM Global Services. His career brought him to several locations in the U.S., including New York, as well as international locations such as, Japan and Hong Kong.

Klaus Knappik is CEO at MLA International Consulting and former CEO and President of the airfreight company, Swisscargo. He has been Advisor of SkyPostal Networks, Inc. since July 2008. He is Consultant in the Postal Industry. He serves as Head of International Letter Operations at Deutsche Post AG. From 2004 to 2007, he developed Deutsche Post Global Mail (DHL) to become the world's largest international mail network. Mr. Knappik served as Chairman of Deutsche Post Global Mail in Bonn, Germany. He served as Director of Swiss Post from 1997 to 2001.

Kevin Rohrer '82 is founder and managing director of Matex Technologies and a member of the Thunderbird Global Council. He has nearly 25 years of experience in Hong Kong as a management consultant to companies on both sides of the Pacific. He has hands on experience dealing with both US and Chinese exporters and with US firms establishing manufacturing in the PRC. His industry experience includes: building materials, printed circuits, pollution control technologies, precision metal and plastic parts, heavy machinery, foods, and cement/concrete.

Douglas Short '75 is the Global Compliance Head for Regulatory Coordination and Oversight at Citigroup Inc., where he has worked since 2010. As part of his role, he works closely with the International Franchise Management, which is responsible for the oversight, governance and strategic direction of Citi in over 100 countries. Previously, Short worked for American Express Bank in the United States, United Kingdom, Hong Kong, and Indonesia. He also spent 10 years working for Chemical Bank in Jakarta, Seoul, Hong Kong and Singapore.

About Thunderbird School of Global Management

Thunderbird is the world's No.1-ranked school of international business with nearly 70 years of experience in developing leaders with the global mindset, business skills and social responsibility necessary to create real, sustainable value for their organizations, communities and the world.

Dedicated to preparing students to be global leaders and committed global citizens, Thunderbird was the first graduate business school to adopt a Professional Oath of Honor. Thunderbird's global network of alumni numbers 40,000 graduates in 148 nations worldwide. The school is sought out by graduate students, working professionals and companies seeking to gain the skills necessary for success in today's global economy. For more about Thunderbird, visit

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