People: Newsmakers

KPMG Veteran Takes New Role in L.A.

Philip Schimmel is the new managing partner of the Los Angeles unit of KPMG LLP, who also will lead the firm's audit practice here.

The L.A. business unit, the firm's third largest, employs 1,200 and has offices in downtown Los Angeles, Century City, Woodland Hills, Orange County and Honolulu.

"The size and the breadth alone make it interesting," said Schimmel, speaking about L.A.'s diverse economy. "It's already taking my organizational skills."

Schimmel also is one of KPMG's SEC reviewing partners, meaning he takes a second look at public company audits after they have been approved. In the past, he said he reviewed about 15 to 20 audits per year. He has since reduced his load to about five.

While the accounting profession has been under fire due to the fall of Enron Corp., Schimmel said his industry's recent scrutiny would not change his role as a manager or as a CPA. "Certainly something like Enron causes people to reflect on their confidence in the financial reporting system," he said. "And the firms have gotten together to try and patch that up."

Besides his management duties, Schimmel works with some of KPMG's largest West Coast clients including Apple Computer, Beckman Coulter and Western Digital Corp.

A 26-year firm veteran, Schimmel was recruited into KPMG's Orange County office in Costa Mesa upon graduating from Cal State Fullerton in 1975. He was admitted to the firm partnership in 1985, then promoted to partner-in-charge of the firm's audit practice in 2000. He is in the process of buying a house in the Hollywood area. He has two children, one in college the other in graduate school.

Conor Dougherty

Advertising & P.R.

Mary Ellen Stevens has joined Motta Co., a full-service marketing and communications firm in Los Angeles, as director of media and marketing. She will oversee media planning and buying as well as primary and secondary research in concert with the agency's planning department.

Architecture & Design

WET Design, a Universal City-based water feature design studio, has appointed Teresa Powell as director of business development. She is responsible for identifying new business opportunities, cultivating and maintaining client relationships and negotiating new proposals and contracts, in addition to overseeing all activities and staff within the firm's business development department.

Banking & Finance

Angel Chang has been appointed vice president and business development officer for the small business administration division of Alliance Bank in Culver City. He is responsible for development and management of new relationships in the Los Angeles County and Inland Empire markets for small business financing, in addition to developing new products and services bank-wide. Chang was most recently employed by Temecula Valley bank as a business development officer.

Sean R. Hughes has been named vice president and business development officer of Wells Fargo Business Credit Inc. Hughes will be responsible for the Southern California region.

Malaga Bank announced that John R. Polen will succeed the late R. Eric P. Allan, the bank's founder, as president and chief executive. Polen had served as the bank's chief operating officer for nine years. Debbie J. Richardson, senior vice president and director of retail banking, has had her responsibilities expanded to include public relations and business development.


Andrew Horn has been named controller of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. He has seven years experience as a financial auditor and consultant for PricewaterhouseCoopers, and for the past four years has served as the senior manager, providing audit, accounting and balloting services to the Academy and the Academy Foundation. He replaces Otto Spoerri, who retired on Dec. 31 after 23 years on the job.

Curt Northrup has been promoted to executive director of development at the Game Show Network in Culver City. Kevin Belinkoff has been appointed executive director of programming, a new position. Northrup's responsibilities have broadened to include supervising show pitches, presentations and pilots in addition to serving as the company's creative contact for producers presenting new ideas for game shows and other original programming. He joined the network as director of development in fall 2000. Belinkoff will oversee all current series productions and will be the liaison to outside producers on creative matters in addition to working with issues related to scheduling, library acquisitions and stunt programming.

Greg Ptacek has been appointed director of corporate communications at the American Film Market Association, a Los Angeles-based trade association that represents independent distributors and producers of motion pictures and television programming.

Matthew Ringel has joined YaYa, a producer of Internet-based video games serving as marketing vehicles, as executive vice president. He is in charge of developing business and strategy at the company. Ringel joins the company from KPE where he was formerly senior vice president of strategy and digital solutions.

MGM Home Marketing Group has realigned its marketing operations, expanding the role of Blake Thomas, executive vice president of worldwide marketing, to include the day-to-day oversight of MGM's pay-per-view and video-on-demand businesses. Thomas will continue to oversee the creation and implementation of video and DVD marketing campaigns for MGM's film library on a worldwide basis. Alex Carloss has been hired by MGM as senior vice president, domestic marketing. He will supervise all aspects of marketing for the company's VHS and DVD rentals and sell-through product throughout the U.S. and Canada. Carloss was previously a consultant for Walt Disney Co., assisting the interactive division optimize its assets for future Internet businesses.

Health Care

SCAN, a Long Beach-based health plan focusing on care for older adults, has promoted Kit Donaldson and Marc Radner. Donaldson serves as vice president of programs and Radner has been elevated to vice president of human resources. Donaldson is responsible for overseeing the development of new case management programs to enhance the community-based services of SCAN. She has been with the company since 1997, serving as a director of various programs. Radner, who has been with SCAN since March 2001, is responsible for organizational development functions and activities supporting the company's strategic goals and objectives.

PMI Dental Health Plan, the dental HMO affiliate of Delta Dental Plan of California, has promoted Belinda Martinez to senior vice president and chief operating officer. She will oversee operations for PMI, replacing Anthony S. Barth who was recently named senior vice president of Delta Dental Plan of California's commercial business unit. Martinez most recently served as director of account services for Delta Dental.


Jay Cooper is the new chair of the entertainment practice at Greenberg Traurig LLP in Los Angeles. He joined the firm from Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, where he was a senior partner. Cooper has brought along Mario Gonzalez, who joins the firm as a shareholder and Kenneth Burry, who is joining as an associate. Gonzalez's practice focuses on concert tours, representing both concert promoters and talent. Burry's practice encompasses transactional matters primarily in the music industry with special emphasis in digital distribution and emerging Internet music issues.

Joseph N. Demko, Andrew R. Hunter, Christine L. Lofgren, David M. Wiseblood and Monica D. Witt have been elected to the partnership at Jeffer, Mangels, Butler & Marmaro in Los Angeles. Demko practices bankruptcy litigation and real estate law while Hunter emphasizes general business, real estate and construction litigation. Lofgren is in the firm's intellectual property department and concentrates on trademark, copyright, e-commerce and Internet domain matters. Wiseblood, another member of the bankruptcy department, counsels national and community banks, leasing companies and real estate loan service corporations in commercial code issues, real property and personal property transactions. Witt focuses her practice on administrative land use matters and land use litigation, eminent domain and inverse condemnation.

Grace A. Jamra has been elected a partner at Phillips, Lerner & Lauzon LLP, a Century City-based family practice that specializes in high-asset marital, paternity, mediation and related issues.


HealthPro Nutrition, the nutrition division of PetPro Products Inc., a Los Angeles-based manufacturer of pet products, has promoted Jordan Greenhut to national sales manager, pet specialty division. He is responsible for increasing distribution as well as implementing marketing programs nationwide. Greenhut previously served as the company's West/Midwest sales manager, responsible for launching a new merchandising program.


Paul Button has been named assistant news director for KCAL 9 in Los Angeles. He is responsible for the daily operation of the KCAL newsroom's six and a half hours of live broadcasts. Button has worked for the station since 1990, first as a producer for the KCAL9 News at Noon and then as a producer of the KCAL9 News at 9 p.m.

Dar Brown has been named associate publisher/advertising director for LA Weekly. She will head up the advertising and marketing departments, as well as new business development, special projects and events. Brown was most recently advertising director for the Desert Sun in Palm Springs and has held the position of publisher for West Coast Community Newspapers.


Gregory A. Silberman has been named vice president of development at Partners in Care Foundation, a Burbank-based organization that focuses on delivering care to vulnerable populations. He will lead the organization's annual giving, grant, major, donor and capital development programs. Silberman was director of corporate, foundation and government giving for Northridge Hospital Foundation before taking his new post.

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