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UA takes top honors at annual CFO awards ceremony


When it comes to outstanding chief financial officers in Northeast Ohio, graduates of The University of Akron College of Business Administration are among the region’s best and brightest, as judged by a panel of seasoned financial executives and announced October 22 during an awards ceremony at LaCentre in Westlake. 

In fact, three of the 24 finalists in Crain’s 7th annual CFO of the Year competition – Mark Belgya, Marlene Tehi, and Charles Abraham – are UA alumni, and two of those finalists went on to become category winners.

What’s more, the ceremony’s 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Terry Bichsel of FirstMerit Corporation, a friend of the University who has served as a visiting professor and currently sits on the College of Business Administration’s Finance Advisory Board.

“I congratulate all the finalists for being recognized as one of the best in their class,” said Dr. Ravi Krovi, dean of the College of Business Administration at The University of Akron, “and I am particularly proud of our UA alumni – Mark, Marlene, Charles, and Terry – who earned this impressive recognition. It is a great achievement given the number of organizations and successful CFOs in the region, and I believe it reflects their leadership, dedication, and ability to successfully meet challenges in their respective organizations.

“The success of our alumni is also an indication of the quality of our business school,” he added. “At The University of Akron, we focus on developing business leaders through dynamic, real-world programming that addresses the needs of today’s businesses.”

Belgya, of the J.M. Smucker Company in Orville, advanced from Finalist standing to be honored as CFO of the Year in the Large Public Company category. The two-time UA alumnus, who earned an accounting degree from the University in 1982 and an MBA in finance in 1993, has spent 28 years with Smucker’s, helping guide the company from about $1 billion in annual revenue to nearly $6 billion over the last decade. Today, Belgya remains active at the University, as a benefactor and as a member of both the College of Business Administration’s Advancement Council and The University of Akron Foundation’s Investment Committee.

Tehi, of Evolution Capital Partners, is also a 1982 UA accounting graduate and advanced from Finalist standing to be named CFO of the Year in the Medium Private Company category. As the top financial executive at the Beachwood-based private equity firm, Tehi was praised by her boss for her ability to thoroughly understand the finances of diverse companies and her ability to work effortlessly with a range of owners and CEOs of target companies – as well as their investors.

Abraham earned Finalist standing for his exceptional service to Akron-based Hitchcock Fleming & Associates, a marketing and advertising agency he has served for more than 24 years – and has helped guide to profitability every year but one since 1990. Abraham, who earned a B.S. in natural sciences from the University in 1979 and a B.S. in accounting in 1985, was recognized by the University in 2005 with the Beta Alpha Psi Outstanding Alumnus Award.

The award-winning College of Business Administration at The University of Akron is accredited at the highest level with a national and global reputation as a top-100 business school, as ranked by U.S. News & World Report, BusinessWeek, The Princeton Review, and the Public Accounting Report.