Northwestern appoints seven people to Board of Trustees


Jonah Elkowitz/The Daily Northwestern

The Rebecca Crown Center. Northwestern named seven new trustees Sept. 9.

Northwestern has named seven new members to its Board of Trustees, the University announced Sept. 9.

The individuals are Wendy Abrams, Frank Cohen, José Almeida, Robert Hayward, Emily Heisley Stoeckel, Kristin McDonnell and Joey Wat. Although they all lead various companies and firms, their industries range from health care to fast food.

Abrams (Kellogg ’90) is an activist and environmentalist. She has founded and led numerous nonprofits, such as the sustainability-oriented Eleven Eleven Foundation and the climate-change awareness group Cool Globes. She is also a founding partner of The Earthshot Prize for climate change solutions. Abrams received a Ripple of Hope Award from the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights organization in 2019. 

Almeida is the chairman, president and CEO of health care corporation Baxter International, a frequent collaborator with NU on research and innovation projects. Almeida previously oversaw medical equipment company Covidien and has served as an executive at other healthcare and technology companies like American Home Products and Johnson & Johnson.

Cohen (Weinberg ’95) leads investment management company Blackstone’s Core+Real Estate business and Real Estate Income Trust, playing a role in more than $100 billion in deals since joining Blackstone in 1996. He also has senior executive and advisory roles in real estate organizations such as Tricon Residential, the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts and the Urban Land Institute.

Hayward (Communication ’94, Pritzker ’97) is a partner at law firm Kirkland & Ellis, representing entities such as publicly traded corporations and private equity funds in their financial and legal processes. His team has earned the title “Capital Markets Practice Group of the Year” by Law 360. Hayward is a fourth-generation NU alum.

Heisley Stoeckel (Weinberg ’87) chairs the Heico Companies, a Chicago-based holding company that owns about 50 corporations in sectors such as industrial construction and equipment manufacturing. She first joined Heico more than 25 years ago and specializes in investment origination, mergers and acquisitions and portfolio management. 

McDonnell (McCormick ’85) is the managing partner and founder of venture capital firm Menlo Group. Based in Silicon Valley, she is a long-time technology investor and executive. McDonnell’s accolades include being named to Harvard Business School’s Top 100 Distinguished Alumnae of Northern California and Mobile Entertainment’s Top 50 Female Execs in Mobile Content.

Wat (Kellogg ’00) is the CEO of fast-food company Yum China Holdings. Wat began her business career in the management consulting industry for firms such as McKinsey & Company before joining health and beauty retailer A.S. Watson in 2004 and Yum China in 2014. Wat has been named to Forbes World’s Most Powerful Women list for 2020 and 2021 and Fortune’s Top 50 Most Powerful Women in International Business from 2018-21.

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Twitter: @rjleung7

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