The influence of Creighton Grenoble could reach as far as your pocket.

Recently named senior vice president of development and systems at Oberthur Card Systems of America, Grenoble will help the international credit-card giant manage data-processing services, smart-card software engineering and develop e-business infrastructure.

Oberthur identifies itself as the No. 1 supplier of MasterCard and Visa cards in the world, working with companies on five continents.

Despite Oberthur's dominance in the credit-card market, Grenoble said it can be tough to stay ahead in the industry. "It's a very, very competitive market that we're in with some very sophisticated competitors," he said.

And supplying credit cards is becoming an increasingly complicated business.

"There's a real metamorphosis going on in the industry, from straight manufacturing to putting out a much more complex product," Grenoble said. "As you start introducing smart cards and the like into the market, there's a lot more services around the card."

Oberthur officials are betting that smart cards, which are used widely in Europe, will start catching on in the United States. Unlike traditional magnetic stripe ATM or credit cards, smart cards can process information, change data stored on the card and run a wide range of applications, including more secure forms of e-commerce transactions.

The key to staying ahead? "Speed to market is going to be important," Grenoble said. He also emphasized the importance of product reliability.

Grenoble comes to Oberthur with a strong background in technology systems development. His last post was as chief technology officer for E-Insurance Systems in Woodland Hills.

At Oberthur, Grenoble hopes to help clients do a better job of marketing products and services to their customers.

Claudia Peschiutta

Architecture

Marni Tam Murdock has been promoted to principal at Stephen Wen & Associates architects in Pasadena. She will act as the chief liaison with hospital clients and will assume managerial and operational duties at the firm.

Arts

Bruce Mayhall has been named the new artistic director of the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles. He will have overall responsibility for the organization's artistic future, including the selection of music and seeking out guest artists to appear with the chorus. Mayhall, who will begin his tenure in September, is currently a professor of music at the University of Nevada.

Banking & Finance

John Ashkar has been appointed vice president and international marketing officer in the international services department of Manufacturers Bank in Los Angeles. He will be responsible for growing the bank's international trade finance business by generating sales leads, participating in international marketing calls and assisting line officers with trade finance credits structure and conducting training on international products. Prior to joining the bank, Ashkar was vice president and manager of the Los Angeles office of East West Bank.

Energy

Frederick J. Grigsby has been elected vice president of human resources and labor relations at Southern California Edison in Rosemead. He will oversee all labor relations and human resources functions including staffing, total compensation, employee development, client services and benefits administration. Most recently, Grigsby served as senior vice president of human resources for Fluor Corp. in Aliso Viejo.

Entertainment

Rose Sokol has been appointed senior director of national sales at Universal Music and Video Distribution. She is based in Universal City and will be responsible for implementing new releases and ongoing sales programs in addition to working with all Universal Music Group labels to achieve sales plans and objectives. Most recently, Sokol served as national sales director for Interscope Geffen A & M; records group in Santa Monica.

Christopher Violette has been appointed to the newly created position of head of music at Myriad Pictures in Los Angeles. He will be responsible for overseeing the company's film-related interests including hiring music supervisors and composers, music licensing and soliciting soundtracks. Previously, Violette worked with Island Records as director of soundtracks.

Health Care

Alan M. Ino has been named chief financial officer at Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles. Ino was previously vice president of finance and chief financial officer at Cedars-Sinai.

Craig Leach has been promoted to chief operating officer at Torrance Memorial Medical Center. He has been with the 385-bed nonprofit medical center for 17 years, most recently serving as chief financial officer and senior vice president, administration.

John Raudsep has been named vice president of marketing for IPC-The Hospitalist Company, a health care provider in North Hollywood. He will be responsible for providing oversight and direction to the overall marketing of the company and its practices. Raudsep was most recently vice president of business development and sales for DestinationRx.com, an online shopping site for pharmaceuticals and health products.

High Tech

Daniel DeFore has been appointed director of marketing at Oberthur Card Systems of America, a smart card manufacturer in Los Angeles. He is responsible for magnetic stripe cards, personalization and other services. Most recently, DeFore was a senior manager at MCI WorldCom.

Dina C. Johnson has been appointed chief operations officer and vice president of projects at TechEmpower Inc., a software designer in El Segundo. She is responsible for business operations and planning, as well as managing the delivery process of TechEmpower's projects. Prior to joining the company, Johnson served as vice president and chief operations officer for the Southwest district of Commerce One Inc.

Hospitality

Suzan Collins has been appointed director of corporate and leisure travel for the Westin Bonaventure Hotel and Suites in Los Angeles. She is responsible for overseeing local corporate market sales as well as domestic and international travel industry sales for Los Angeles' largest hotel. Collins joined the Westin Bonaventure from the Queen Mary in Long Beach, where she served as convention services manager. Also new to the hotel is Arthur Sands, who has been appointed director of social catering. He is responsible for large social events held at the hotel including weddings, banquets and dance parties. Sands was most recently director of catering at the Warner Center Marriott in Los Angeles.

Mark Schwabenbauer has been appointed corporate group sales manager at the Radisson Wilshire Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles. He will be responsible for all corporate group business.

New Media

Kurt Bensmiller has been named vice president, research at E-Poll, a provider of online audience research services in Encino. He will be responsible for expanding the company's roster of interactive services with a focus on market research products as well as designing specific research programs to broaden E-Poll's database of consumer preferences. Most recently, Bensmiller was vice president of research and community for Warner Bros. online.

Nonprofits

Rachel C. Flores has been named director of education and outreach services for the Entertainment Industries Council, a nonprofit organization. She will oversee EIC's educational programs and outreach efforts as well as cultivate relationships with industry executives and technical experts. Flores was previously a program manager at the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation.

James Watson has been promoted to vice president of consulting services at the California Manufacturing Technology Center, a nonprofit corporation in Gardena that provides consulting services to small and mid-size manufacturers. He will be responsible for the strategic direction of CMTC's seven regional centers, sales support and planning as well as directing the activities of the CMTC's four practice areas: strategic business services, information technology services, quality management services and lean enterprise services. Watson was previously a vice president of business development at the company.

Real Estate

Richard Peltz has been promoted to chief information officer at Marcus & Millichap, a real estate investment brokerage company in Encino. He joined the firm in 1997 and has been responsible for the design, launch and enhancement of a number of Web-based tools. Peltz most recently served as director of information services. Adam P. Christofferson has been named sales manager at the firm's Encino office. He will be responsible for managing, mentoring and training the office's newer agents. Christofferson joined the firm in 1997 and was most recently a sales associate.

Andy Hetzel has been named vice president of sales and marketing, Valencia division, for Newhall Land's Valencia master-planned community. He will be responsible for all new home marketing and sales programs in Valencia, encompassing 20 new home neighborhoods grouped in a variety of village settings. Hetzel joined the company from Greystone Homes.

Restaurants

Steve Wallace has been named vice president, human resources for El Torito/Acapulco Restaurants in Long Beach. He will be responsible for staffing, training, benefits and employee relations for the 140-unit chain of Mexican restaurants. Wallace was previously vice president, employee relations and staffing at Prandium Inc.

Tourism

Misty Kerns has been named executive director of the Santa Monica Convention & Visitors Bureau. She will be responsible for increasing visitor expenditures, tourism revenues and local employment through promotion of the area as a travel destination. Kerns joined the bureau in 1997 and has served as the director of sales and marketing. Joining Kerns will be Joanne M. Bogus, who has been appointed director of corporate sales. She will be responsible for increasing corporate meeting and group events in Santa Monica as well as establishing and implementing sales programs designed to generate sales leads and group bookings from Santa Monica's feeder markets.

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