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Meet Westchester’s CEOs & Business Leaders of the Year in 2022

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By Ken Gabrielson

Westchester is moved and shaken by its business landscape. These leaders of industry, public service, and advocacy are making the biggest ripples across the county and beyond.

By Paul Adler, Cristiana Caruso, Jessica Jafet, and Wolfrantz Xhokaxhiu

CEOs and Business Leaders

By Ken Gabrielson

FOR-PROFIT COMPANIES

Leonard Schleifer CEO

Courtesy of Regeneron

Leonard Schleifer
Founder, President & CEO

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals

In 1988, Leonard S. Schleifer, MD, PhD, founded biotech giant Regeneron and has held a position as a director and the company’s president and CEO since its inception. He graduated from Cornell University and earned his MD and PhD in pharmacology from the University of Virginia. Dr. Schleifer also served as chairman of the board for Regeneron from 1990 through 1994.

Together with business partner and scientific founder Dr. George Yancopoulos, Dr. Schleifer has grown Regeneron from a tiny, scrappy startup into a roughly $50 billion market-cap company, with a unique, science-driven culture, triumphant drug discovery and development engine, and nine FDA-approved medicines to date. The company was also one of the first to begin trials for a COVID-19 treatment drug when the pandemic broke out in the early months of 2020. Dr. Schleifer has been recognized as one of Barron’s Best CEOs and as an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year. A licensed physician certified in neurology by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, Dr. Schleifer worked as a practicing neurologist before founding Regeneron. —CC

NONPROFIT — GENERAL

By Jill Singer Graphics

Anahaita Kotval
Executive Director

Lifting Up Westchester

The poor and unhoused living in Westchester County could not have a better friend or advocate than Anahaita Kotval. Since becoming the CEO of Lifting Up Westchester (LUW) in 2017, she has addressed numerous crises, including guiding the organization and the people it serves through a pandemic. On top of growing LUW’s board of directors, Kotval has built productive working relationships throughout county and city governments.

Her most recent endeavor has been refining the organization’s mission and scope of work, which in turn has inspired the board to honor her persistence by giving generously and networking on behalf of the organization. She has recruited and retained a highly competent staff, improving working conditions and staff remuneration while spearheading inspirational, goal-focused development campaigns.

Kotval is a tireless generator for good. Colleagues describe her as “brilliant,” “personable,” “determined,” and obviously passionate about Lifting Up Westchester. As CEO, she has grown the organization to reach more people affected by poverty, elevating the voice and standing of LUW both within Westchester County and Albany. She generously gives her time and expertise to other nonprofit and volunteer organizations. —CC

NONPROFIT — HEALTHCARE

CEO

Courtesy of WMCHealth

Michael Israel
President & CEO

WMCHealth

Innovation is a way of life for Michael Israel. As president and CEO of the Westchester Medical Center Health Network (WMCHealth), pioneering cutting-edge solutions for his network of hospitals is all in a day’s work. Israel has overseen the creation of the medical group’s virtual-medicine program, which works to provide care for patients in desperate need of remote options during a lengthy pandemic. In addition, Israel also spearheaded WMCHealth’s rollout of one of the country’s first post-COVID recovery programs and helped coordinate the distribution of more than 2.5 million doses to area vaccine sites. Made up of 10 Hudson Valley hospitals, WMCHealth benefits each day from Israel’s calm, confident, and forward-thinking leadership. —PA

FOR-PROFIT COMPANIES

Courtesy of Alfred Weissman Real Estate, LLC

Alan Weissman
President

Alfred Weissman Real Estate, LLC

Since 1992, Alan Weissman has been helping to grow and manage the assets of Alfred Weissman Real Estate LLC, a company that provides services in areas such as commercial real estate investment and asset management and development.

Weissman leads a dynamic team that oversees a portfolio of hotels, office buildings, retail and industrial properties, and student housing — including the Hampton Inn & Suites in Yonkers, Heritage Resort & Conference Center in Southbury, CT, and the luxe St. Regis Residences, Rye.

The real estate attorney is a graduate of Colgate University, received his law degree from Hofstra University, and studied economics at Cambridge University. Beyond his interests in real estate, the Westchester resident has served on the board of directors of the Yonkers Chamber of Commerce, Westchester Land Trust, the Community Planning Council, the Yonkers Library Foundation, and the Solomon Schechter School of Westchester (now the Leffell School). He is currently a board member of the Center for Entrepreneurial Jewish Philanthropy and Homrun Group, which helps Israeli companies sell innovative products abroad. —JJ

NONPROFIT – HEALTHCARE

CEO

By Ken Gabrielson

Susan Fox
President & CEO

White Plains Hospital

Changing the face of healthcare in the county is no simple task, but Susan Fox makes it look easy. As president & CEO of White Plains Hospital, Fox has transformed her organization into a formidable force in regional healthcare by recruiting top clinical and administrative talent and forging strategic partnerships while making sure WPH is at the forefront of medical advancements. After joining the hospital in 2010 as senior VP of administration, Fox ascended to president in 2013 and CEO in 2015. Additionally, Fox is a fellow of the New York Academy of Medicine and serves as a chairperson on the Northern Metropolitan Hospital Association’s board of directors. She also serves as the chair of the Westchester County Association (WCA) and the American Hospital Association’s Regional Policy Board, in addition to serving on the board of the Healthcare Association of New York State and the Columbia University School of Nursing Board of Visitors. —PA

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

CEO

Photo by Ken Gabrielson

Louis R. Cappelli
CEO

LRC Construction

For Louis R. Cappelli, the recipient of our Lifetime Achievement Award this year, revitalization of the county he calls home is more than a business venture; it is a mission. As CEO and chairman of LRC Construction and Fuller Development Company, Cappelli has spearheaded the revitalization of several local downtown districts, including that of New Rochelle, White Plains, and Stamford. Cappelli has also pioneered the construction of White Plains’ City Center, Atlantic Station in Stamford, New Rochelle’s New Roc City and Trump Plaza, as well as the former Ritz-Carlton Westchester (now The Opus Westchester). In addition, the hardworking University of Notre Dame graduate is the founder of the Cappelli Organization, which has emerged as a leader in construction and real estate development in the Northeast. Cappelli has also striven to be a positive influence in his community by establishing the Louis R. Cappelli Foundation, which has provided millions of dollars in grants to organizations involved in education and social services. —PA

FOR-PROFIT COMPANIES

CEO

By Janelle Berger

Tim Jones
CEO

Robert Martin Company, LLC

The past couple of years have been challenging for many industries, including real estate. Tim Jones, the CEO of Robert Martin Company, has been riding the storm by continuing to execute the real estate company’s investment and growth strategy while overseeing the management of its existing assets. For 65 years, the company has been acquiring, developing, and managing land and commercial properties throughout the Tristate area and in Florida. The firm’s current portfolio has more than six million square feet of properties and 200 acres of developable land.

Jones, along with company president Greg Berger, has successfully led RMC, which is now regarded as a pioneer in the development of executive office parks across Westchester and Fairfield counties. The CEO earned his undergraduate degree at Yale University and received an MBA from Columbia University. In 2004, he returned to Robert Martin Company after having served as president of Mack-Cali Realty Corporation. Since that time, RMC has invested in transactions with a retail value in excess of $2 billion.

A resident of Rye, Jones currently serves as vice chair of economic development for the Business Council of Westchester and as first VP of the board of trustees at the Windward School in White Plains. —JJ

FOR-PROFIT COMPANIES

CEO

Courtesy of Caremount Medical Group

Scott D. Hayworth
CEO

CareMount Health Solutions and Optum Tri-State

Guiding the organization through a nearly 15-fold expansion, Dr. Scott D. Hayworth has been at the helm of CareMount Medical Group for more than 20 years and continues his dedication to improving the organization’s patient experience. He joined in 1988 as an OB-GYN and has served as CEO since 1996.

In 2020, CareMount Medical Group (formerly Mount Kisco Medical Group) became part of Optum Care’s nationwide network, with Dr. Hayworth taking the helm of the Optum Tri-State Region, a merged entity serving 1.6 million patients across 630 locations. With consummate expertise in practice administration and multispecialty group management, along with invaluable know-how in adapting to the rapidly evolving healthcare environment, Dr. Hayworth now leads the largest independent multispecialty medical group in New York State. He has guided the establishment of relationships between CareMount and several important affiliates and partners, such as Massachusetts General Hospital, Northwell Health, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and nine regional hospitals.

A resident of Bedford, Dr. Hayward received a degree in biology from Princeton University before attending Cornell University Medical College. —JJ

FOR-PROFIT COMPANIES

Michael Miebach
CEO

Mastercard

Michael Miebach is always pushing toward a brighter future. As CEO of Mastercard, Miebach has steadily guided the Purchase-based company from a consumer-card-centric business to a highly diversified payment platform, bolstering areas like open banking, digital identity, and real-time payments. Miebach has also pioneered several major acquisitions, including that of Finicity, Ekata, Vocalink, and Ciphertract. A company employee for more than 12 years, Miebach is also a member of Fannie Mae’s digital advisory council, as well as of the Accion board of directors, which works to aid two billion adults worldwide who lack access to financial services. Miebach also sits on the board of directors for the Metropolitan Opera; is a member of The Business Council, The Business Roundtable, and The International Business Council of the World Economic Forum; he is a board member at large for Ronald McDonald House New York. —PA

FOR-PROFIT COMPANIES

CEO

Courtesy of Xylem

Patrick Decker
President & CEO

Xylem, Inc.

With its global HQ in Rye Brook, Xylem, Inc. does business in more than 150 countries and is a world leader in the design, manufacturing, and application of highly engineered technologies for the water industry. The firm’s mission is to find innovative solutions to meet the world’s water, wastewater, and energy needs while promoting environmental sustainability. President and CEO Patrick Decker has been at the helm since 2014 and serves as a board director.

Under Decker’s leadership, Xylem has expanded its portfolio after completing multiple acquisitions of smart-water infrastructure solutions and advanced data analytics capabilities.

Decker earned a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting and finance from Indiana University and serves on the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Executive Council on Infrastructure, the Infrastructure Committee for the U.S. Business Roundtable, and the advisory council for the Dean of the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University, among other organizations. —JJ

GOVERNMENT

By Ken Gabrielson

George Latimer
County Executive

Westchester County

George Latimer’s status as a native Westchesterite certainly pays dividends when it comes to successfully navigating his high-stress, multifaceted job as county executive. “Each day, when I walk through the doors of the Michaelian Office Building, I am reminded of the many tasks at hand,” says Latimer, who after a successful marketing career made the leap to public service. From his start on the Rye City Council, in 1987, to what is now his second term as county exec, Latimer has had an essential role in moving Westchester forward — even during the darkest of times. “I know we have made much progress over the years. Our county population hit over one million people; we’ve made significant infrastructure improvements to county parks and facilities, like Sprain Ridge Pool, the Miller House, and Playland; we’ve signed landmark legislation to combat hate crimes, help workers and women, protect members of the LGBTQ community, and create a language access program; and we created a memorial site for first responders that will be visited by generations to come. But I also know that our work here is not yet done.” Widely regarded for his bipartisanship, Latimer has worked with politicians from both sides of the aisle on groundbreaking legislation. He continues to lead Westchester into a new era of rebuilding, growth, and working toward the common goal of making life in Westchester better for all residents. —CC

FOR-PROFIT COMPANIES

CEO

Courtesy of Pepsico

Ramon Laguarta
CEO

PepsiCo

Ramon Laguarta is a change-maker. A Barcelona native, Laguarta is a 25-year veteran of PepsiCo and was named CEO in 2018 and chairman of the board a year later. As CEO of PepsiCo, Laguarta has helped the company generate $79 billion in new revenue in 2021 alone and has pivoted PepsiCo toward building more sustainable food systems and mitigating the impacts of climate change with his Beyond the Bottle strategy, which focuses on developing sustainable packaging and practices.

Prior to his appointment as CEO, Laguarta served as president of PepsiCo and as CEO of a company sector formerly known as Europe Sub-Saharan Africa (ESSA). Laguarta also fills his schedule as a board member and director of Visa Inc. and serves as the co-chair of the World Economic Forum’s board of stewards for its Food Systems Initiative. —PA

FOR-PROFIT COMPANIES

CEO

By Joe Serio from GS3Photo.com

Joe Pepe
CEO

Pepe Auto Group

Joe Pepe is dedicated to carrying on his family’s legacy in Westchester County. Coming from a long line of businessmen (his grandfather owned a construction company and his father, Gene, started Pepe Auto Group), Pepe considers it imperative that his family name is synonymous with integrity. “I think it’s important to have a great reputation — not just good, but a great reputation in the place that you live,” he says. Growing up in the business, Pepe spent his summers as a child working and learning under his father until 1991, when he opened the family’s Infiniti dealership as general manager. In 1998, he transferred over to Mercedes-Benz of White Plains before becoming chief operating officer in 2011. In 2019, the responsibility of the entire operation shifted to Pepe in his new role as CEO. For Pepe, providing optimal customer service is the most rewarding part of the job. “This whole business is all about making sure our customers are comfortable and happy.” —CC

NONPROFIT — GENERAL

By Ken Gabrielson

Joanne Dunn
Executive Director

Youth Shelter Program of Westchester

It takes a special soul to work as the executive director of a community not-for-profit. Joanne Dunn exemplifies that level of dedication, drive, and leadership, particularly when tasked with successfully navigating the difficulties faced during COVID-19. Dunn has not missed a beat, nor has she left any stone unturned in her fearless pursuit of securing unprecedented funding, expanding services for youth, and leading the Youth Shelter Program of Westchester in the purchase of a second facility. This past year, while many executives hunkered down by teleworking at home, Dunn spent many hours on-site at her facility, which serves as an alternative to incarceration for young men ages 16 to 21. A visionary for a better future, Dunn has also created the YouthCred Initiative, where young men are trained to serve as role models and facilitate discussions with other youth in danger of entering the juvenile justice system. Dunn’s work in the county is never done, as she has also expanded the organization’s visibility and partnership with the court system in Mount Vernon and collaborated with the Westchester DA’s office and the Westchester Youth Bureau on restorative justice programs and youth workforce development initiatives. —CC

NONPROFIT — GENERAL

CEO

By Leslie Kahan Photography

Richard Nightingale
President & CEO

Westhab

Serving as Westhab’s president and CEO since 2014, Richard Nightingale has been at the forefront of advocating affordable housing and resources for underprivileged communities in Westchester County. He first discovered Westhab as a college intern at the Coachman Family Center 20 years ago. He fell in love with the organization and its mission of building communities and changing lives, officially joining Westhab in 2001. His early years on Westhab’s front lines led him to further pursue his passion for social justice and leading the charge to change lives with the advocacy organization. Nightingale also serves as the vice president of the board of directors of Nonprofit Westchester and serves on the College Council of SUNY Purchase. —CC

FOR-PROFIT COMPANIES

CEO

Courtesy of Thalle Industries

Glenn Pacchiana
CEO

Thalle Industries

Construction is a family affair for Thalle Industries CEO Glenn Pacchiana. He followed in the footsteps of his father and grandfather before him, learning every nook and cranny of the business as a Thalle employee for more than 30 years. As CEO, Pacchiana works hard to build his business while protecting the environment. Pacchiana has championed environmentally friendly policies at Thalle, including the construction of one of New York State’s first green quarries, in Fishkill, planting trees alongside the mining process. He also oversaw the establishment of the Elmsford Virtual Quarry. Pacchiana and his company were honored by the NY League of Conservation Voters for their environmental work — the first time the advocacy organization had ever conferred that honor to someone in the mining-and-construction industry. Pacchiana is also the recipient of the “Best Green Friend Award” by the Friends of Westchester County Parks. —PA

FOR-PROFIT COMPANIES

CEO

Courtesy of IBM

Arvind Krishna
Chairman & CEO

IBM

Innovation is the name of the game for Arvind Krishna. As chairman and CEO of IBM, Krishna has navigated the Armonk-based business toward cutting-edge markets, including quantum computing, artificial intelligence, blockchain, and cloud computing.

A 30-year veteran of Big Blue, Krishna previously served as the company’s senior vice president of Cloud and Cognitive Software; he also headed the research division, where he pioneered work on emerging technologies. Krishna was selected by Wired as “one of 25 geniuses who are creating the future of business” for his work on blockchain.

Recently, Krishna headed the $34 billion purchase of Red Hat, IBM’s largest company acquisition ever. Krishna has served as both CEO of IBM and a member of its board of directors since April 2020. He was elected chairman of the board the following December. —PA

FOR-PROFIT COMPANIES

Maggie Timoney
CEO

Heineken USA

There is more to Maggie Timoney than being the first-ever female CEO of Heineken USA. Hailing from County Mayo, Ireland, Timoney helped auction cattle and sheep when she was fresh out of high school. This experience led her to recognize the intrinsic value each person brings to a company, setting her down a path of astonishing success. Kicking off her career with Heineken in 1998, Timoney worked as a national sales planning manager before transferring to the Netherlands in 2001. In 2010, she returned to Heineken USA as senior vice president of human resources before taking up the helm of Heineken Ireland as CEO, smashing previous benchmarks of volume, revenue, market targets, and profit. She was named CEO of Heineken USA in 2018. Westchester has a special place in Timoney’s heart: She is a graduate of Iona College, where she received both her Bachelor of Arts and Master of Business Administration degrees. —CC

FOR-PROFIT COMPANIES

CEO

By Ken Gabrielson

Elizabeth Nunan
President & CEO

Houlihan Lawrence

Elizabeth Nunan is the president and CEO of Houlihan Lawrence, the top real estate brokerage serving New York City’s northern and eastern suburbs. As a licensed Realtor, Nunan has been on the board of directors of the National Association of Realtors since 2006 and served on the board of directors of the Hudson Gateway MLS from 2014 to 2017. In 2018, Nunan was appointed chief operating officer, empowering her to oversee all core functions of Houlihan Lawrence’s business and set a strategic plan for growing both agent and company productivity. Bringing significant experience to the role, Nunan’s unique perspective — a fusion of knowledge between brokerage management and operations — has enabled her to competently manage all aspects of Houlihan Lawrence’s operations, including the company’s residential and commercial brokerage divisions, comprising 32 offices and 1,450 agents.

Promoted to president and CEO in 2019, Nunan is the driving force that shapes Houlihan Lawrence’s strategy and operations. While focusing on growth, this CEO has maintained the fundamental values of her company by exceeding the expectations of both buyers and sellers. —WX

EDUCATION

Courtesy of SUNY Westchester Community College

Dr. Belinda Miles
President

Westchester Community College

For Dr. Belinda S. Miles, serving as president of the largest college in Westchester is as notable as it is trailblazing. Under Dr. Miles’ guidance since her arrival in 2015, the college educates and trains more than 26,000 students in credit and noncredit programs annually and is the State University of New York system’s first Hispanic Serving Institution. In her tenure, Miles has galvanized multiple teams to realign college structures, policies, and procedures to reflect an agile organization committed to more directed and supportive pathways for students. These reworkings have contributed to a 42% increase in Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) graduation rates; up to 20% more college readiness; and an 11% increase in retention for First-Year Experience cohorts. In tandem with her role as president, Miles also serves on several boards focused on workforce development, expanding mobility, and the impact of technology on the future of work. —CC

FOR-PROFIT COMPANIES

By Andrew Weisz

Robert Weisz
President

RPW Group

After moving to the United States from Montevideo, Uruguay, in 1977, Robert Weisz dove into a career in the furniture industry. Just two years later, Weisz bought his first warehouse, using it as the base of his furniture company. For many people, a successful launch into a desired career in such a short time would have been enough. But not for Weisz, who was intent on founding a commercial real estate business as well. By 1980, that aspiration had become a reality. Since then, Weisz has served as president and CEO of RPW Group, Inc. The company has seen tremendous growth since its nascency in the ’80s, in no small part to Weisz’s leadership, his team’s consistent dedication, and the rigorous integrity and customer-service model at the heart of RPW Group. Due to his stellar success, Weisz has become a highly sought-after expert and lecturer in commercial real estate and was awarded an honorary doctorate in commercial sciences by Mercy College in 2014. —WX

Related: These Wunderkinds Are Changing Westchester’s Business Scene in 2022

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