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70th Reunion
Tuesday, 6/11/2024

12:00 pm until 4:00 pm
Tavistock Country Club
Friends, children, spouses invited to help us celebrate our last reunion
Send $35 to Mark Sibley, 134 Cider Press Drive, Mullica Hill, NJ 08062 by June 1.
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Third Tuesday of every month September through May/June, except December. Contact us for the location.

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2021 Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient

Donald Chew

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Don Chew enjoyed an illustrious high school career as an athlete at HMHS.  For three years, he was (135-pound) starting quarterback under coach Russ Spicer and varsity starter for three years on the baseball team that won a South Jersey Championship (in ’68) and went undefeated in the Colonial Conference (in ’69).  He lettered in basketball sophomore and junior years, and then took up middle distance running in the winter of his senior year, a sport he continued in college, where he ran (in his words) “a very mediocre” 880 and 440.  

After graduating summa cum laude with a BA in English from Lafayette, Don spent the next six years doing graduate work at the University of Rochester, getting a Ph. D. in English and American Literature while focusing on his three “favorites,” Melville, Conrad and Faulkner—and then an MBA in finance at the Rochester’s Simon School of Business.   

In 1979, Don moved to New York City to work with the Financial Policy Division of the Chase Manhattan Bank.  Failing to find his niche as a consultant, he was instructed by his boss—Joel Stern—to start a publication called The Chase Financial Quarterly.  That publication later became the Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, which Don has edited for the past 40 years.  Made up mainly of articles written by finance academics for practicing corporate executives, the JACF aims to explain the workings of capital markets and how the principles and methods of finance can be used to increase the long-run efficiency and value of all kinds of organizations, whether for-profit, non-profit, or part of the public sector.

In 1982, Don left Chase with six others to start Stern Stewart & Co., a corporate finance advisory firm, where he launched the JACF with the Continental Bank of Chicago as its sponsor.  Some 22 years later, in 2004, with Continental having morphed into Bank of America and ending its sponsorship, Don’s partners sold the JACF (and Don with it) to Morgan Stanley, where the journal was produced and mailed free four times a year to its “platinum” investment banking clients for the next nine years.

Don’s boss at Morgan Stanley was Linda Riefler, whose 25-year career at the firm included the roles of Global Head of Research, Chair of Client Services, and, eventually, Chief Talent Officer (reporting to CEO and Chair John Mack) and member of the Management Committee.  When invited to comment about Don and Morgan Stanley’s motive for acquiring the JACF, Linda described the journal as “unique in the quality of its content and its ability to take fresh looks at market issues and in bringing academics and practitioners together to discuss and explore long-term value creation. I am a deep believer in markets, but markets are not perfect, and Don’s work has been seminal in helping practitioners and academics learn and focus on what matters.” 

    In 2013, facing even greater than usual pressure for profit, Morgan Stanley informed Don of its plan to end its support for the JACF; and in what Don calls “an act of remarkable corporate generosity,” allowed Don and his partners to buy the JACF for $1.  Don started a new company (called Cantillon and Mann) that continues to produce the JACF in partnership with and the financial backing of Carl Ferenbach and his High Meadows Foundation.  (Ferenbach was a co-founder of Boston-based private equity firm Berkshire Partners, and continues to serve as Chair (as he has for the past 12 years) of the Environmental Defense Fund.) 

 In Linda Riefler’s words, “Don has a unique voice, his own voice, and he has been able to continue to produce his journal with integrity through multiple owners in for profit and academic arenas.”  And as Linda goes on to say, “Don has always been on the pulse of key topics and an early voice.”  She cited as an example today’s “Environmental, Social and Governance” movement, noting that “ESG issues have become big and are getting bigger in the news, in boardrooms and in the financial world.  Public companies everywhere—and I sit on the boards of two of them—are being asked by their investors to find new ways to address environmental and other social problems while maintaining (or even increasing) their own long-run productivity and value.  And it gives me satisfaction to think that it was as long ago as 2012, while still at Morgan Stanley, that Don was launching what has become this annual series of Spring issues on ‘sustainable financial management’.”  

Also volunteering to comment was Stewart Myers, who is the Robert C. Merton Professor of Financial Economics at MIT’s Sloan School of Management (and co-author, with Richard Brealey, of the world’s best-known finance textbook Principles of Corporate Finance).  After explaining the importance of Don’s work in presenting research relevant to practical corporate finance in a serious but accessible form,  Professor Myers wrote, “The best academic research is often technically challenging for those not used to formal math or statistics. Don identified the best research and then had to convince the authors to rewrite their ideas and results in a more readable and practical way, without cutting corners or leaving out important qualifications.”

In addition to his work on the Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, Don has edited and published some ten collections of articles, two of which—The New Corporate Finance:  Where Theory Meets Practice (McGraw-Hill) and (with Joel Stern) The Revolution in Corporate Finance (Blackwell)—continue to be used in business schools throughout the world.  

Don’s leadership and influence in the world of corporate finance is not hard to discern.  His writing, editing and sharp insight have led managers, CEOs, and corporate board members to rethink their conventional wisdom on topics as diverse as communicating with investors, private equity and LBOs, sustainable financial management, and even integrity.  His academic writings and publications for graduate students and practicing executives have influenced a generation of future and current business leaders.  His work and dedication to the Journal of Applied Corporate finance have been truly unique.

Don lives on the Upper West Side of Manhattan with his wife of 35 years, Susan Emerson, who after working in software sales with a series of high tech startups, has spent the past ten years with San Francisco-based, where she is Senior Vice President—Analytics and AI.  Don and Sue have raised three kids in the city:  Emily, 33, a freelance writer with an MFA from the University of Michigan who recently returned to NYC; Michael, 31, director of marketing and communications for a corporate finance consulting firm (much like the one Don helped found 40 years ago); and Ben, about to graduate from Tufts.  Don takes "excessive" pride in the fact that both Mike and Ben got into and graduated from the Collegiate School, the oldest high school in America (circa 1628), with a graduating class of 50 boys ("all of them social misfits," as Don likes to say), and that Mike was a "very talented" center fielder and Ben the captain of his soccer team.

Don's volunteer activities, besides serving as coach and umpire in the West Side Little League, include many years as VP-Practitioner Services of the Iternational Financial Management Association (a 5,000 member group of mostly finance academics and "thoughtful" practitioners) and 15 years as Treasurer of the Consortium for the Teaching of the Middle Ages, an interdisciplinary (historians, musicologists, lit scholars) group of medievalists.  This last job came about as a result of Don's now almost 50-year friendship with legendary University of Rochester Chaucer scholar Russell Peck, who at 88 continues to lead the U of R's exceptional Theater in London program, which Don has participated in by spending a week in London for 12 of the past 14 years.

Finally, Don helped set up and was one of the main funders of the John Patterson Italy Traveling Fellowship at Harvard.  John was co-valedictorian (with Bob Comfort) of Don's HMHS '69 Class, and spent over 20 years at Harvard getting an MA in history, a JD, and was at work on a PhD in legal history when he died of AIDS in 1997.





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