C-Suite Spotlight is pleased to announce The Top 25 C-Suite Executives of Connecticut for 2022. Connecticut is a recognized leader in aerospace manufacturing, shipbuilding, insurance, and asset management. Not to mention, it is home to a wealth of production and post-production facilities, studios, game designers, and software developers. So it should be no surprise that many of our awardees work in these industries while others helm C-level positions across healthcare, content, technology, and entertainment.
Among this year’s awardees is Carlo Pochintesta, the Chief Information Officer at Barnes and Noble who has over 25 years of IT experience managing multi-billion-dollar companies like Steve Madden, Gucci Group, and Ann Taylor. Awardee Stew Leonard Jr., the CEO of Stew Leonard’s Farm Fresh Food grew his family-owned business from one retail food store in Norwalk, Connecticut to seven stores across Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey. Meanwhile, Mary McHugh, who’s the Chief Delivery and Supply Chain Officer of Xerox, leads more than 18,000 global delivery and manufacturing associates.
Please join us in celebrating the accomplishments of The Top 25 C-Suite Executives of Connecticut for 2022.
1. Brian Bucher
CFO of CVS and Aetna Digital, CVS Health
Brian Bucher is the CFO of CVS and Aetna Digital at CVS Health, the leading health solutions company. He first got his start in 1997 in a financial management program at GE Power Systems. From there, he went on to Genworth Financial before eventually rising to CFO of Aetna Digital and Aetna One Advocate Business at Aetna. Before joining CVS Health, his 10-year tenure at Aetna was his most recent position.
Bucher graduated from UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School with an MBA in finance and marketing analytics and from the University of Michigan Stephen M. Ross School of Business with an undergraduate degree in finance and accounting.
2. Thomas Buccellato
CFO of GE Ventures, Commercial and Communications, GE
Thomas Buccellato is the Senior Managing Director of GE Ventures, Commercial, and Communications. Buccellato leads a team that commercializes GE’s intellectual property across several of its business units, including GE Power, GE Renewables, GE Capital, and parts of GE Corporate. He is also the leader of the GE Trademark business, which works with world-class global partners to leverage the GE brand in new products and markets.
Buccellato has been with GE for 25 years, starting his career as a graduate of the company’s Manufacturing Management Program. In 1996, he joined the Corporate Audit Staff, conducting and leading financial, compliance, and process reviews across GE. Later, he had several finance leadership roles at GE Corporate, including CFO of GE Business Innovation. Tom graduated from Notre Dame with a BS in mechanical engineering and an MBA. in finance and operations.
3. William Donovan
CFO of UK and Ireland, Atos
William Donovan is the CFO of the UK and Ireland at Atos. The French company is a global leader in digital transformation, providing consulting services and solutions ranging from supporting strategy development to enterprise solutions and technology. Donovan has spent over 14 years with Atos. Most recently, he was Chief Financial Officer of the company’s North American business. Over the last decade, he has served as Chief Financial Officer of the company's Asia Pacific business (based in Singapore) and its business in Spain (based in Madrid). Donovan graduated from Trinity University with an undergraduate degree in accounting and finance.
4. Catherine Mayone
Chief Strategy and Client Services Officer, Publicis Groupe
Catherine Mayone is the Chief Strategy and Client Services Officer of Publicis Groupe, a leader in marketing, communication, and digital business transformation. Mayone has held various roles at Publicis and first joined the company in 2010 as EVP, Chief Strategic Officer, Saatchi & Saatchi Health. She started her career in 1990 as a senior manager at Accenture. From there, she went on to MRM Partners. Outside of work, Mayone mentors and is a member of the Step Up NYC Board, an organization that supports under-resourced teenage girls to graduate high school and become college and career-bound.
Mayone graduated from Gettysburg College with an undergraduate degree in business management.
5. Jeff Jaklitch
COO of Global Business Services for the Middle East and Africa, IBM
Jeff Jaklitch is the Chief Operations Officer of IBM’s Global Business Services for the Middle East and Africa. In this role, he implements business strategies, plans, policies, practices, and procedures across a $300 million portfolio. He first joined the company in 2006 as the Worldwide Signings and Backlog Coordinator and has since gone on to serve in multiple roles over 16 years at the company. Before being appointed as COO, Jaklitch was the Global Pricing Leader of Global Business Services, Worldwide and previously served as Operations Leader of Global Business Services in the Middle East and Africa. Jaklitsch earned an undergraduate degree in finance and marketing from McMaster University.
6. Pramodh Chakravarthy
Chief Strategy Officer, Cigna
Pramodh Chakravarthy is the Chief Strategy Officer of Cigna, a global health service company. He first joined the company in 2009 as Chief of Staff and Business Manager of Corporate IT. and later was appointed AVP of Strategy and Operations. Previously, Chakravarthy was a strategy execution lead specializing in risk center consolidation at Chubb and, before that, an IT project manager at Hartford Life. Earlier in his career, he worked with Validea.com as an Equity Research Analyst. Chakravarthy earned an MBA from the University of Hartford and an undergraduate degree in industrial biotechnology from Anna University.
7. Debbie Leppones
Chief Financial Officer, UnitedHealth Group
Debbie Leppones is the Chief Financial Officer of National MedTrans at UnitedHealth Group, a healthcare and well-being company with a mission to build a modern, high-performing health system. In her current role, Leppones uses her experience with project Management to deliver solutions in support of business objectives that drive operational efficiencies. She joined the company in 2010 as Associate Director of Business Performance Management. Before joining UnitedHealth Group, Leppones was the Assistant Director of Finance at CIGNA. Prior to this, she served as Director of Operations, Technology, and Finance at Travelers Life and Annuity. Leppones graduated from the University of Connecticut with an undergraduate degree in finance.
8. Mary McHugh
EVP & Chief Delivery and Supply Chain Officer, Xerox
Mary McHugh is the Chief Delivery and Supply Chain Officer of Xerox. She’s also the Executive Vice President of Xerox Holdings Corporation. In her role, McHugh is responsible for the global delivery and supply chain for Xerox products, services, consumables, and supplies. She joined Xerox in June 2018 as Senior Vice President and Chief Delivery Officer, leading both the company’s global service delivery mission and the operations for the equipment and toner manufacturing sites. Before joining Xerox, she served as the Senior Vice President of North America SaaS Implementation Success management and SaaS consulting at Oracle. Previously, she was at Hewlett Packard Enterprise and spent more than 20 years at IBM. McHugh earned her MBA from Simmons College and a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Manhattan College.
9. Jeana Thomas
Vice President & CIO, Pratt & Whitney
Jeana Thomas is the Vice President and CIO of Pratt & Whitney, a designer, manufacturer and servicer of the world’s most advanced aircraft engines and auxiliary power systems. Thomas leads the Digital Technology organization with overall responsibility for enterprise business systems management, software development, user design, product management, cybersecurity, data science and analytics, and infrastructure services. She first joined Pratt & Whitney in 2005 as an IT Business Analyst. From there, she went on to United Technologies before eventually rising to executive director of global digital sales and service at Otis Elevator Company.
Thomas graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University with an MBA in business administration and management and an undergraduate degree in computer systems technology from Purdue University.
10. Steven Nikolopoulos
Chief Procurement Officer, Newell Brands
Steve Nikolopoulos is the Chief Procurement Officer of Newell Brands. Nikolopoulos leads the global procurement organization in identifying and implementing enterprise-wide sourcing strategies that leverage Newell Brands' scale and strategic partner relationships. He has over 25 years of broad supply chain experience in logistics, real estate, value engineering and commodities.
Before this role, Nikolopoulos was the Vice President of Enterprise Procurement and Supply Chain, where he led the development of a global corporate procurement strategy, including commodity risk management. Before joining the company in 2007, he spent 20 years at Pitney Bowes, serving in various supply chain management positions. Nikolopoulos has a Bachelor of Science in economics from Southern Connecticut State University and an MBA in management and industrial relations from the University of Bridgeport.
11. Dale Asplund
Chief Operating Officer, United Rentals
Dale Asplund is the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of United Rentals. In this role, he leads the company’s general rentals segments, with company-wide responsibility for safety and operational excellence. He also leads the company’s functional organizations for information technology, corporate fleet management, and procurement.
He previously served as Executive Vice President of Business Services and Chief Information Officer. since January 2017. During his 25-year tenure at the company, Asplund has held numerous roles at the company, including Senior Vice President of Business Services and Chief Information Officer and Senior Vice President of Business Services. He joined the company in 1998. Asplund graduated from Northern Michigan University.
12. Don Daniels
SVP, Corporate Controller & Chief Accounting Officer, Frontier Communications
Donald Daniels is the Senior Vice President, Corporate Controller and Chief Accounting Officer of Frontier Communications. He has 20 years of leading and developing high-performing organizations, managing accounting and transaction processing functions, and executing external audits and reviews. Most recently, Daniels was Corporate Controller and Chief Accounting Officer of JetBlue Airways, responsible for the airline's accounting and tax functions. He joined JetBlue in 2002 as Director and served as Assistant Controller, Financial Accounting and Reporting. Before joining JetBlue, he was General Manager of Financial Reporting at Delta Air Lines and a Senior Auditor at Deloitte & Touche.
Daniels is a veteran of the US Army. He graduated from the University of Florida Warrington College of Business with an MBA and received a BBA in accounting from Georgia Southern University.
13. Chuck Joseph
Chairman & CEO, Joseph Family Markets
Chuck Joseph is the Chairman and Chief Operating Officer of Joseph Family Markets. Joseph Family Markets is the family-owned business of ShopRite supermarkets and a member of the Wakefern Food Cooperative. It all started in 2010 when he purchased two ShopRite stores that needed to be remodeled, staffed, and stocked in a matter of weeks. The company’s mission is to positively impact its associates, customers and community while upholding its core values of integrity, enjoyment, and sustainability.
Before founding Joseph Markets, Joseph had a 30-year career in the grocery industry. He’s also the chairman of his town’s Finance Committee, a Vice Chairman of the Board of Junior Achievement of Northern New Jersey, and a board member of the YMCA of Morris and Sussex Counties. Joseph earned an undergraduate degree in biology from Boston College.
14. Carlo Pochintesta
Chief Information Officer, Barnes and Noble
Carlo Pochintesta is the Chief Information Officer of Barnes and Noble. As CIO, Pochintesta oversees BN.com, the NOOK eReader business, and the company’s information technology, telecommunication networks and computer systems. This includes evaluating its overall technology resources and strategies. Prior to Barnes & Noble, Pochintesta was Chief Information Officer at Rag & Bone for nearly five years, where he led all aspects of its technology enterprise, including IT strategy, budget planning, capital investments, service delivery and performance measurement. He has over 25 years of IT experience managing multi-billion-dollar public and private businesses across the retail industry, including companies like Steve Madden, Gucci Group, and Ann Taylor. Pochintesta has a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Pace University.
15. Bill Hughes
Chief Communications Officer, Pitney Bowes
Bill Hughes is Chief Communications Officer at Pitney Bowes Inc. In this role, he directs communications for employees, the media and other influencers. He also oversees government affairs and works closely with the marketing and investor relations groups.
Hughes joined Pitney Bowes in 2013 with more than 25 years of communications experience. Previously, he was Chief Communications Officer at CA Technologies, one of the world's largest IT management software companies. Before that, he was Vice President, Global Communications and Public Affairs at IMS Health. He’s also served in several communications roles at IBM, including managing communications and programs for Japan, Greater China, Korea, Australia/New Zealand, and ASEAN/SA. Earlier in his career, Hughes spent more than 12 years at Burson-Marsteller, WeberShandwick and Miller Communications. He has a BA in English from Hampden-Sydney College.
16. Phyllis Mercurio
Chief Operating Officer and Operating Partner, Red Robin
Phyllis Mercurio is the Chief Operating Officer and Operating Partner of Red Robin, a national casual dining restaurant chain. She first joined the company in 2007. Mercurio joined the company in 2007. Mercurio's experience spans operational responsibilities for restaurants across the US, managing directors, and developing national strategic business plans. Before this, she spent over 10 years at Burger King Corporation in various roles, most recently as Vice President of US Company Restaurants and Regional Vice President. She joined Burger King Corporation in 1992 as Director of Development.
17. Brad Stackhouse
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, SGA
Brad Stackhouse is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of SGA. Stackhouse co-founded SGA with Cannon Garber in 1988. He’s devoted his career to developing learning experiences that integrate research from an unprecedented combination of studies with SGA’s own results of surveys and workshops conducted globally.
Stackhouse has led client teams globally and facilitated a range of workshops throughout North and South America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and Africa. As an acknowledged expert in the Master’s Mindset, Brad is a highly engaging public speaker and is in demand as a coach to senior sales executives throughout the world. Previously, Stackhouse was a Vice President at Leadership Technologies. He graduated from the University of Toronto Victoria University.
18. Mark Rosa
SVP and Chief Information Officer, Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment
Mark Rosa is the SVP and Chief Information Officer of Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment. In this role, he oversees strategic business decisions related to technology across all MGE properties. He also manages the increased use of technology across the MGE enterprise with a goal of growth and expansion. He has been with the Mohegan Tribe (Mohegan Sun) in Connecticut as the Chief Audit Executive since 2016.
Rosa started his career with Deloitte in the Enterprise Risk Services practice. Later, he transitioned into Staples's private industry and joined Altra Industrial Motion as the Chief Audit Executive. Then he joined Houghton Mifflin Harcourt as the Vice President of Internal Audit. Rosa is a Certified Public Accountant, Internal Auditor and Certified Information Systems Auditor and holds degrees from Stonehill College and Northeastern University.
19. Michael Kuziak
Chief Operating Officer, LAZ Parking
Michael Kuziak is one of the principal shareholders of LAZ Parking and serves as its Chief Operating Officer. He joined LAZ in 1981 as a valet parking attendant while attending university. In his current role, Kuziak is responsible for executing strategic growth initiatives that include digital technology and mobility, operational expansions throughout the US, business development and company acquisitions.
Kuziak is a Principal in LAZ Parking Realty Investors, the company’s real estate affiliate, and has been instrumental in acquiring core parking assets and institutional parking concessions throughout the US. Additionally, he serves on the Board of Directors of Armco Healthcare Services, and is currently the Treasurer of the LAZ Charitable Foundation. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the Orthodox Christian Mission Center, the Hartford Knights, and is on the Honorary Board of Directors of the Jordan Porco Foundation He has a degree in finance and marketing from the University of Hartford.
20. Nick Stanage
President and Chief Executive Officer, Hexcel
Nick Stanage is the Director and Chief Executive Officer and President of Hexel. He’s also the Chairman of the Board. Prior to joining Hexcel, Stanage was President of the Heavy Vehicle Products group at Dana Holding Corporation. Before this, Stanage held increasing responsibility in engineering, operations and marketing positions with Honeywell (formerly AlliedSignal Inc.), including Vice President of Integrated Supply Chain and Technology for the Consumer Products Group.
Currently, Stanage serves on the board of directors of TriMas Corporation, as well as on the audit, compensation, and corporate governance and nominating committees of TriMas. He has an undergraduate degree from Western Michigan University and an MBA from the University of Notre Dame.
21. Philip Minichino
Chief Procurement Officer, Foxwoods Resort Casino
Philip Minichino is the Chief Procurement Officer of Foxwoods Resort Casino, the largest resort casino in North America. In this role, he oversees everything from purchasing slot machines for the casinos to buying dump trucks for tribal public works projects. He’s always looking for ways to save money, simplify operations and deliver excellent guest experiences. He joined Foxwoods Resort Casino in 1999 as an Accounting Manager. Prior to this, he was an electrician for the US Navy. Minichino graduated from Eastern Connecticut State University with an undergraduate degree in accounting.
22. George Batton
Chief Financial Officer, Ivy Rehab Physical Therapy
George Batton joined Ivy Rehab in 2019 as Chief Financial Officer. Batton has over 25 years of financial oversight experience in consumer-focused businesses. He’s had many leadership roles, at the corporate level as well as in the field, both in the US and internationally.
Before Ivy Rehab, Batton was the SVP and CFO at Fresh Direct, SVP and Global Chief Financial Officer at CSM Bakery Supplies and spent over 12 years at PepsiCo, most recently as VP of Finance of PepsiCo Sales. Batton has a BSc in technology and business studies from the University of Strathclyde.
23. Karl Murphy
Chief Commercial Officer, HEI Hotels and Resorts
Karl Murphy is the Chief Commercial Officer HEI Hotels and Resorts. In this role, he’s responsible for the strategy and execution of sales, revenue management and marketing. He’s held multiple positions within HEI Hotels and Resorts, including Chief Sales Officer, Corporate Vice President of Sales, Marketing and Operational Development and Regional Vice President of Sales and Marketing.
Prior to HEI, Murphy spent ten years in Executive Global Branding and Marketing roles for major brands such as Virgin Music, The Body Shop and Bass PLC. He’s a member of various industry boards and organizations as an owner, and franchise representative, including Marriott, IHG, Hilton, CVENT, and GBTA. Outside of work, Murphy supports various charitable organizations such as Save The Children, Teenage Cancer Trust UK, CCA, and Battersea Cats and Dogs Home.
24. Stew Leonard Jr.
CEO, Stew Leonard's Farm Fresh Food
Stew Leonard Jr. is President and CEO of Stew Leonard’s Farm Fresh Food, a unique family-owned farm fresh food retailer. The company has been recognized as one of Fortune Magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work for in America for 10 consecutive years. Leonard Jr. took over as President and CEO in 1991 and grew the company from one retail food store in Norwalk, Connecticut to seven stores across Connecticut, New York and New Jersey. This now includes eight family-owned wine stores.
Leonard Jr. has been internationally recognized as a company leader. He has appeared on numerous national television shows such as CBS Early Morning Show, Martha Stewart, CNN, MSNBC, FOX, The History Channel and The Food Network. He graduated from Ithaca College with a degree in accounting and earned his MBA from UCLA.
25. Matt L'heureux
SVP and Chief Product Officer, COCC
Matt L’Heureux is the Senior Vice President and Chief Product Officer at COCC. In this role, L’Heureux directs the release of COCC’s leading-edge products. With over twenty years of experience in the financial services industry, he specializes in providing strategic oversight to COCC’s product management, technology selection and implementations. He’s been with the company for over 24 years.
Prior to joining COCC, L’Heureux was the Planning Officer for a community bank with responsibilities centered around strategic and financial planning. He is a recognized speaker and participates in strategic planning and board of directors engagements. L’Heureux is a Central Connecticut State University graduate and graduated first in his class at the Connecticut School of Finance and Management.