Executive Alert: Sprint strategy chief resigns, CEOs make Harvard list

Executive Alert is a regular report on career moves, awards, recognition and other news about top executives from across the Show-Me State.


Career moves

Justin VanOpdorp | Courtesy of Lockton

Michael Schwartz resigned from his post as Sprint’s senior vice president of corporate strategy development. He will depart from the Overland Park, Kan.-based telecom company Nov. 6.

Lockton has added a new executive position, chief analytics officer, and Justin VanOpdorp will be promoted to fill the post. In his new role with the Kansas City-based insurance brokerage, VanOpdorp will be responsible for business intelligence and analytics designed to help company’s clients across the globe.

Vickie Schatz has been elected president of the Conference of Metropolitan Bar Associations. Schatz who has been executive director of the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association since 2011, will lead the national group for two years.

Molly Biwer | Courtesy of Linkedin-molly-biwer
Molly Biwer | Courtesy of Molly Biwer/Linkedin

Molly Biwer will replace Steve Doyal as Hallmark’s senior vice president of public affairs and communications. Doyal is retiring after serving the company for 41 years. Biwer will assume her new duty Nov. 9.

Jeff Chambers, a co-founder of Overland Park, Kan.-based Alterra Bank, has decided to focus on his startup. Chambers has about 12 years of experience in the banking sector and had been working as Alterra’s chief strategy officer before the bank sold in November. Now, he has raised a $600,000 seed round to support his new venture, Big Machine Parts, an online retailer for heavy-duty parts.

Awards and recognition

Hugh Grant, Monsanto chairman and CEO | Photo courtesy of Monsanto
Hugh Grant| Courtesy of Monsanto

Several executives with ties to St. Louis and Kansas City were named in the Harvard Business Review’s list of best CEOs in the world. From the St. Louis area, George Paz of Express Scripts and Hugh Grant of Monsanto were ranked 64th and 66th, respectively. Masayoshi Son of Softbank Corp., the parent company of Overland Park, Kan.-based Sprint, took the No. 78 spot. Neal Patterson of North Kansas City-based Cerner Corp. followed at No. 79.

In the news

Rhonda Hamm-Niebrugge, director of airports, remains the top-paid city employee in St. Louis. The top 10 city employees saw a 10 percent increase in their salary in 2014 as compared to 2013. Hamm-Niebrugge’s annual salary was $200,236. Jeff Rainford, who has since resigned from his position as Mayor Francis Slay’s chief of staff, occupied the No. 2 spot for 2014 with an annual salary of $160,811. Airport deputy director of finance and administration Susan Kopinski was third with a salary of $155,776.


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