After receiving his MBA from the Wharton School, Michael worked for a predecessor of KPMG in consulting and then for Seagram (almost 20 years). He progressed from a financial planning analyst to E.V.P. of The Seagram Beverage Company and Managing Director of Tropicana (Juice) International. He enjoys freelancing and working on a variety of client projects, just as his entire career has constantly shifted from one challenge to another.
Served as an investor, director, and CFO at a New York City film/TV production studio complex/real estate development in the Brooklyn Navy Yard (member of 6 person partnership)—from startup to successful exit, in partnership with a New York City government agency. Won the city contract over Vornado REIT and the Robert DeNiro team.
Developed a financial model and scenarios—convincing the New York City government to award our team the option securing the real estate and development funding.
Established strategic alliances with J.P. Morgan, Sony Pictures Studios, and Jones Lang LaSalle.
Used my contacts during a tense political negotiations period to secure the final contract.
Initiated and managed operational programs such as a margin improvement process—generating $9 million in annual savings from a consumer-neutral product and package changes.
Developed and managed the test of a distributed manufacturing process with a soda bottler in Los Angeles. Enabled our products to fit into their customary business system, rather than be treated like specialty products by shipping a syrup (just like a soft drink) from our winery to the bottler, where they added CO2. The sales volume increased from +2 million cases in the first year.
Developed financial models to evaluate the costs/benefits of external co-packing production vs. using only company owned production facilities in limited locations.
Evaluated the profitability of adding various items to our list of products.
Worked in Seagram's Financial Planning & Analysis Department—growing from a junior analyst to the director of the department (1978 to 1985).