Dr. Garo H. Armen is a Turkish-born, of Armenian descent, USA businessman.
He was born on January 31, 1953, in Turkey. He moved to New York in 1970. According to the New York Times he became a messenger boy for a nonprofit Armenian organization. In the article Armen stated, “I worked five hours a day, five days a week. I got two bucks an hour…and that was a lot of money for me. His second job was in the kitchen of the Lawyers’ Club but it only lasted a day. “I thought I’d learn to cook. Instead, they asked me to wash dishes. I had to climb into the soup bucket, which was huge, and clean it out. Shortly after, I got a job in a bank as a clerk.”
One night in 1978, in the middle of the energy crisis, Armen was driving home when he stopped at a gas station. “I noticed that gas pumps only had two digits [for the per gallon price],” in interview with The Scientist “Realizing that continued rising prices would force the pumps to be replaced in the near future, I borrowed $5,000 to invest in gas pumps.” Soon enough, virtually every gas pump in America was replaced – and Armen had made $20,000. His interest in business was pricked, and had already paid off.
By 1979, he received his PhD in physical chemistry from the City University of New York. Armen served as Senior Vice President of Research for Dean Witter Reynolds (1986–1989), focusing on the chemical and pharmaceutical industries and with E.F. Hutton & Company as first Vice President (1981–1986). Before entering finance, Armen has been an associate professor at the Merchant Marine Academy and as a research associate at the Brookhaven National Laboratory.
Armen’s journey into drug development began when his mother died from breast cancer in 1973. The two shared a one-room Brooklyn apartment where Armen administered her morphine shots until she died. In 1994, Armen was approached by Pramod Srivastava, then a biochemist at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, about the possibility of developing Oncophage from a clinical and commercial perspective. The treatment involved removing a patient’s tumor cells, isolating and fortifying the cellular proteins that normally alert the immune system to disease, and re-injecting the proteins into the patient. In 1994, Armen co-founded Antigenics with Srivastava.
Career and business ventures:
Armen is chairman and chief executive officer of Agenus Inc., formerly known as Antigenics Inc., a biotechnology company that discovered Oncophage, a personalized cancer vaccine recently approved in Russia for patients with earlier-stage kidney cancer and currently under review with the European Regulatory Agency. The clinical history of Oncophage was chartered extensively in a front-page story in the Wall Street Journal, August 2, 2007. In another interview with Business Week and CBS, Armen described how the idea of personalized medicine tailored to the patient grabbed him and launched Antigenics with $250,000 of his own money, plus the backing of a few friends. He was initially stirred by the results from animal testing; the vaccine cured 80% of mice in the early stages of cancer with virtually no side effects.
By February 2000, Antigenics went public at $18 a share, raising $72.5 million. A few months later the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) agreed to review the vaccine on an accelerated schedule when the company filed for approval, and Antigenics began recruiting 728 patients with kidney cancer for the phase 3 trial, the largest study conducted in the world.
Ultimately, 118 cancer centers participated in the trial, 63 of them outside the U.S.. The largest group of patients, 172, was treated in Russia. In April 2008, Oncophage was approved by the Russian Ministry of Health, making Russia the first country in the world to approve a personalized cancer vaccine in patients with earlier-stage kidney cancer. On the day Antigenics announced Oncophage’s approval, CNBC ran a lead story on the personalized cancer vaccine as well as generating a debate on both television and their website on the regulatory landscape in Russia versus USA – the question posed to the audience was whether America had fallen behind the rest of the world in terms of approving innovative drugs? CNBC concluded with the following statement “The Antigenics story, of course, is making big news in Russia. It’s the top story, for example, on this news web site. According to our Senior Economics Correspondent Steve Liesman–who used to live and work in Russia where he won a Pulitzer for his reporting–the headline says, Russia becomes the first country in the world to sell an American cancer vaccine.” Armen is now focusing the company’s efforts in Europe, and hopes to receive marketing approval for Oncophage in early 2010.
Oncophage is currently[when?] in clinical development for brain cancer, a devastating disease with few treatment options and survival rates of between three and six months, according to the lead investigator, Dr. Andrew Parsa from UCSF. The study is showing encouraging results and the first patient who received the vaccine, Ms Hammerman, was interviewed by Good Morning America describing her experiences of taking the vaccine.
While retaining his position at Antigenics, Armen became chairman of the board of directors for the biopharmaceutical company Élan Corporation plc from mid-2002 through 2004. The company was on the brink of collapse brought down by an accounting scandal that earned it the label of “Europe’s Enron”. During his tenure, Armen became the architect of the company’s $1 billion restructuring program by strengthening Élan’s finances, refocusing the group on its core clinical development business and returning shareholder value. On the day that Armen assumed chairmanship, the Wall Street Journal and BBC discussed the restructuring plan in some detail. He said “(our) first task is clean house…the world is concerned we’ll file for bankruptcy”.
By 2004, the Sunday Times of London hailed Armen as the chairman that saved the company stating that “it is one of the great corporate recovery stories.” Armen commented “ For about three months… every day, every hour was critical. Any one of many things could have made the company collapse. We were on the hook every single day until we had an agreement to sell our first major asset.”
Prior to founding Antigenics in 1994, Armen established Armen Partners, a money management firm specializing in biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, and was the originator of the widely publicized creation of the Immunex Lederle oncology business in 1993.
Gary C. Kelly is the chief executive officer and chairman of Southwest Airlines. He first joined the company in 1986 as Controller. In 1989, Kelly was promoted to Chief Financial Officer and Vice President of Finance. In 2001, he was promoted to Executive Vice President. Kelly spent 3 years in this role until he was promoted to his current position as CEO and vice chairman in 2004 replacing James Parker who succeeded Herb Kelleher in 2001. He received a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting from The University of Texas at Austin and is a Certified Public Accountant.
Kelly was named Chairman of the Board of Directors of Southwest Airlines on May 21, 2008, replacing co-founder Herb Kelleher. Gary Kelly also became president of Southwest Airlines the same year, replacing Colleen Barrett when her contract expired on July 15, 2008.
Kelly was named one of the best CEOs in America for 2008, 2009 and 2010 by Institutional Investor magazine and serves on the President’s Council of Jobs and Competitiveness.
Glenn Tilton (born April 1948, in Washington, D.C.) was Midwest Chairman and a member of the Executive Committee, at JP Morgan Chase, a position he has held from June 6, 2011 to 2014. Tilton was formerly non-executive Chairman of United Continental Holdings Inc., the parent company of United Air Lines, Inc. and Continental Airlines, Inc. as of October 1, 2010. Tilton was formerly Chairman, President, and CEO of UAL Corporation from 2002-2010.
Tilton testifies before the United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation in June 2010
Tilton is also the former Chairman of the Air Transport Association, the industry trade organization representing U.S. airlines.
Tilton grew up in Latin America, and attended high school in Brazil, where his father worked for the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency. After earning a bachelor’s degree in International Relations from the University of South Carolina, Tilton wanted to start a career in the airline industry, but was warned against it by a family friend, the manager of the Pan American Airways Latin America Division. Tilton listened to the friend’s advice and went on to follow his father’s footsteps and join the C.I.A. but months before his start date, Tilton began a career in the private sector working for Texaco in 1970, servicing gas stations throughout Washington, D.C.
Tilton attained positions of increasing responsibility over the next three decades, and in early 2001 Tilton was briefly named chairman and chief executive officer before Chevron and Texaco merged to form ChevronTexaco Corporation. He was named vice chairman of the newly merged company in late 2001 and a few months later he was also named interim chairman of Dynegy, in which ChevronTexaco held a significant stake.
In September 2002, Tilton was recruited by the Board of Directors of the struggling UAL Corporation to be Chairman, President, and CEO, replacing John W. Creighton, Jr. as Chairman and CEO, and Rono Dutta as President. The board believed that an airline outsider such as Tilton could turnaround the struggling carrier. UAL Corporation and its subsidiaries filed for bankruptcy in December 2002, three months into Tilton’s tenure.
What would follow would be one of the largest, longest, and most complex bankruptcy cases in American history. UAL Corporation operated in bankruptcy until February 2, 2006.
Tilton is controversial for his stance as a major advocate for consolidation in the airline industry. Tilton has stated he believes it is the only way to end commercial aviation’s cycles of booms and busts. Since 2006, Tilton had been searching for a merger partner for United Airlines. In May 2010, Tilton inked a deal to merge UAL Corporation with Continental Airlines, Inc. to form United Continental Holdings, Inc. of which Tilton was the first Chairman of the Board. As agreed prior to the merger of United and Continental, Tilton was replaced by CEO Jeff Smisek as Chairman on December 31, 2012. Tilton remains a board member for UAL.
Tilton serves on the board of directors of Abbott Laboratories and a member of the U.S. Travel & Tourism Advisory Board. Tilton also serves on the board of trustees for the Field Museum and the Museum of Science and Industry, and the board for the Economic Club of Chicago, the Executives’ Club of Chicago, and After School Matters, as well as on the civic committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago and the International Relations Advisory Council of Chicago 2016.
Glenn F. Tilton was inducted as a Laureate of The Lincoln Academy of Illinois and awarded the Order of Lincoln (the State’s highest honor) by the Governor of Illinois in 2014 in the area of Business & Industry.
Gregory David Wasson (born October 19, 1958) is Co-Founder and President of Wasson Enterprise, a family-based investment office, and the former President and CEO of Walgreens Boots Alliance. Prior to the merger of Walgreens and Alliance Boots, Greg was President and Chief Executive Officer of Walgreen Co. (NYSE: WAG), the nation’s largest retail community pharmacy chain, which in fiscal 2014 had $76.4 billion of sales, 8,309 locations, and 251,000 employees.
Greg served as chief executive officer at Walgreens and as a member of the company’s Board of Directors from 2009 to 2014. Since joined the company in 1980, Greg was appointed to positions of increasing responsibility, including President of Walgreens Health Initiatives in 2002, Senior Vice President of Walgreens in 2004, Executive Vice President of Walgreens in 2005, and President and Chief Operating Officer of Walgreens in 2007.
Greg has served as a Director of Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ), since March 2013 and is a member of the Audit Committee and the Human Resources Committee. As of July 2015, Greg was appointed as Director and a member of the Audit Committee of PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. (NYSE: PNC). Greg joined Health Care Service Corporation (HCSC), the largest customer-owned health insurance company, as a Director in November 2015, and in addition to serving on its Board, Wasson serves on HCSC’s Finance and Audit & Compliance committee.
In addition, Greg serves on the Trustee Board of the Museum of Science and Industry (MSI) and Board of World Business Chicago (WBA) as well as a member of The Business Council, CEO Perspective, The Economic Club of Chicago, The Commercial Club of Chicago and Chicago Club. Greg and his wife Kimberly are the 2016 co-chairs of the 36th Annual MSI Columbian Ball.
In 2015, Greg received the Sheldon W. Fantle Lifetime Achievement Award for exceptional accomplishments and contributions to the industry from National Association of Chain Drug Stores’ (NACDS) and the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) honored Greg with the GMA Hall of Achievement Award. In 2016, Greg received two awards from Purdue University: the Distinguished Alumni Award in recognition of professional and endeavor achievements, and the Career Achievement Award, the pinnacle award bestowed upon alumni who have distinguished themselves through a lifetime of exemplary service in pharmacy and service to Purdue.
Previously, Greg served as a Director of AmerisourceBergen Corporation (NYSE: ABC), a leader in global pharmaceutical sourcing and distribution services, with which Walgreens has a long-term strategic relationship, and served as member of the Board of Directors of Alliance Boots GmbH, the leading international pharmacy-led health and beauty group.
Past roles include Chairman of National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS), the Vice Chairman of Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), member of the Healthcare Leadership Council (HLC), The Wall Street Journal CEO Council, and the civic committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago, as well as being a member of the British-American Business Council International Advisory Board. In addition, Greg served many years as a board member of Consumer Goods Forum (CGF), The Field Museum, and the Midtown Educational Foundation and a member of the Illinois chapter of the American Cancer Society’s CEOs Against Cancer and co-chaired the society’s 2014 Discovery Ball.
Wasson was born October 19, 1958 in Lafayette, Indiana, the third of five children of Richard “Dick” and Phyllis Wasson. His family lived in Delphi until he was 13, and then moved to nearby Monticello, Indiana. Wasson graduated from Twin Lakes High School.
Two of Wasson’s relatives were pharmacists, and they encouraged him to study pharmacy at Purdue University. Wasson met his future wife there, also a pharmacy student. They married on their graduation day in 1981.