World of M&A: Lessons from the Battlefield


Thursday, October 4, 2018

5:30 - 8:00 pm


Kellogg Wieboldt Hall

340 East Superior Street, Room 540, Chicago, IL 60611


Register here World of M&A: Lessons from the Battlefield Tickets, Thu, Oct 4, 2018 at 5:30 PM | Eventbrite

80% of acquisitions fail. What strategies should be considered for a merger to succeed and what can you do in order to avoid failures?


Four alumni panelists will share their learnings from successful and failed mergers, their lessons on diligence integration, their approach to business development strategy, and their advice on post-acquisition merger integrations. This session will be moderated by Professor Harry Kraemer '79, Clinical Professor of Strategy, former Chairman and CEO of Baxter International.



  • Martin Ellen '87, former EVP, CFO Dr. Pepper Snapple Group
  • Joel Grade '07, EVP, CFO Sysco Foods
  • Robert Rourke '96, Managing Director and Partner at L.E.K. Consulting
  • Greg Koehrsen, Vice President, General Manager Sweet Baked Goods at Bimbo Bakeries USA (Stanford ‘04 and Wharton ’09)


Reception 5:30 PM to 6:30 PM
Panel: 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM


Early Bird Price (through 9/27): $45
Regular Price: $55


Ticket includes open bar and hors d'oeuvres.


Guests and students are welcome.


If you have questions, please contact Elsy Ocejo at



Nixon Peabody LLP is a proud sponsor of the Kellogg Alumni Club of Chicago. With office locations coast-to-coast and abroad, our more than 600 attorneys are dedicated to fostering entrepreneurial vision and spirit through committed partnerships with our clients. We see 21st century law as a tool to help shape our clients’ futures. Our focus is on knowing what is important to our clients now and next so we can foresee obstacles and find opportunities. We have deep connections in our clients’ industries and work hard to leverage them for our clients’ benefit. Nixon Peabody offers industry-leading practices in M&A, private equity, intellectual property, litigation and real estate, among others.


Speaker Bios


Marty retired as EVP & CFO of Dr Pepper Snapple Group in July 2018 after having negotiated the $21 billion dollar sale of the company to JAB Holdings.  Marty joined Dr Pepper in 2010 after having served as EVP & CFO of Snap-on Inc. since 2002. He has been in the CFO position for 29 years, across healthcare, industrial, franchising and consumer businesses, both private and public.  Marty has been sold six times and been involved in most of the post-merger integration activities. Across his career, he’s been engaged in $10 billion of buy-side M&A, and has been active in the integration of those products and entities, including an early career assignment to lead a 60 person integration team.  Marty graduated from the University of Illinois in 1975 with a BS degree in accounting, is a CPA, and graduated with his MBA from Kellogg in 1987.


Joel Grade is Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Houston-based Sysco Corporation, the leading global foodservice distribution company. Grade joined Sysco as a staff auditor in 1996 and has since held a variety of senior finance and commercial roles, culminating with the promotion to his current role in 2015. As EVP and CFO, Grade is directly involved in the development and execution of Sysco’s M & A strategy. Sysco’s M & A priority is to acquire successful, tuck-in, and specialty acquisitions while being opportunistic when it comes to larger strategic transactions, in addition to the consideration, from time-to-time, of various adjacencies and geographies that make sense for the Company. Grade earned an undergraduate degree in Accounting and Finance with a specialization in International Business from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1993 and an MBA in Finance, Strategy and Marketing from Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management in 2007.


Robert Rourke is a Managing Director and Partner in L.E.K.’s Chicago office. He leads L.E.K.’s Americas Building Products & Materials practice and is a member of L.E.K.'s Global Leadership Team. He advises clients in the industrials, building materials and products, and retail industry sectors. Robert has more than 25 years of consulting experience and has directed over 600 consulting projects focused on growth strategy and M&A across a range of industries. He most recently served as the Americas practice leader of L.E.K.’s Industrials sector, with particular expertise in building products and materials. He also has extensive retail and consumer products experience. In 2018, Robert was named one of Consulting magazine’s Top 25 Consultants for Excellence in Leadership — an award that recognizes the most influential consultants making the greatest impact in the industry. He received a BA in finance from Syracuse University and was awarded an MBA with Distinction from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management. Robert is also a frequent lecturer at the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University on mergers and acquisitions. Prior to joining L.E.K., Robert was a manager with Accenture.



Greg Koehrsen is Vice President, General Manager Sweet Baked Goods at Bimbo Bakeries USA.  In his role, Greg is responsible for strategic initiatives and M&A activity for Bimbo in the US.   Bimbo’s recent M&A activity in the US includes the acquisitions of East Balt Bakeries, Bays English Muffins, and a cake plant in Cicero.  All of these acquisitions have a significant presence in the greater Chicago area. Previous to Bimbo, Greg had previous M&A experience within the Private Equity Group of consulting firm Bain & Company.  He served as an advisor on a number of acquisitions in the technology space. Greg earned an undergraduate degree in Mathematics and Astronomy from Haverford College in 2001, an MS in Management Science and Engineering from Stanford University in 2004 and an MBA in Operations Management and Finance from Wharton School in 2009.



Harry M. Jansen Kraemer, Jr. is an executive partner with Madison Dearborn Partners, a private equity firm based in Chicago, Illinois and a Clinical Professor of Strategy at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management. He was named the 2008 Kellogg School Professor of the Year. Harry is the author of two bestselling leadership books: From Values to Action: The Four Principles of Values-Based Leadership and Becoming The Best: Build a World-Class Organization Through Values-Based Leadership. He is the former chairman and chief executive officer of Baxter International Inc., a $12 billion global healthcare company. Mr. Kraemer graduated summa cum laude from Lawrence University of Wisconsin in 1977 with a bachelor's degree in mathematics and economics. He received an MBA degree in finance and accounting from Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management in 1979 and is a certified public accountant.