Categotry Archives: Business


Phil Sokolof


Categories: Business, Media, Medicine

psokolof.jpgFor two decades, Nebraska industrialist Phil Sokolof encouraged people to live healthier lives.
Known as “America’s No. 1 Cholesterol Fighter,” Sokolof spent about $15 million of his own money on a crusade against high-fat foods. He appeared on over 100 network and cable programs and mailed thousands of letters to officials in the food industry. He bought full-page ads in newspapers across the country, and ran commercials during the Super Bowl to encourage Americans to take cholesterol-lowering drugs and avoid subsisting on a diet of greasy foods.
Sokolof’s efforts paid off. Several fast-food chains switched to vegetable oil to cook French fries. Large food processors stopped using highly saturated coconut and palm oil in crackers and cookies. Federal legislation was passed to require the inclusion of nutritional labels on all packaged foods. And Congress designated April as “National Know Your Cholesterol Month.”
Born in Omaha, Sokolof graduated from high school and traveled the country as a song-and-dance man for four years. When superstardom failed to arrive, he returned home and focused his energies on producing affordable construction components. He opened the Phillips Manufacturing Company in 1955, and built a multimillion-dollar empire.
In 1966, Sokolof survived a near-fatal heart attack at the age of 43. As his body healed, he started to learn more about healthy eating habits. Sokolof founded the National Heart Savers Association in 1985. The nonprofit organization offers free cholesterol screenings and informs the public about cardiovascular health. Then in 1992, he sold his business to give Heart Savers his full attention.
Sokolof died on April 15 from heart failure. He was 82.


Jim Cantalupo


Categories: Business

jcantalupo.jpgJames Richard Cantalupo, the CEO and chairman of McDonalds, died on April 19 from an apparent heart attack. He was 60.
The Windy City native studied architecture at the University of Illinois in Chicago. After a few years, Cantalupo switched his major to accounting and transferred to the school’s Champaign, Ill., campus. For eight years, he worked at Arthur Young & Co., an accounting firm that later became Ernst & Young.
Cantalupo joined the McDonalds Corp. in 1974 as a controller. He spent 28 years with the fast food giant, climbing the corporate ladder as a district manager in Chicago, a zone manager for the northeastern portion of the United States and vice chairman of McDonald’s International. Cantalupo retired in 2001 with plans to spend time relaxing at his lake house. But on Jan. 1, 2003, he was appointed chairman and chief executive of the hamburger chain.
During his 15-month tenure as CEO, Cantalupo launched several initiatives to improve operations. He closed hundreds of restaurants, increased sales with the release of new products and ordered the debut of healthier menu options to combat America’s rising obesity rates. These actions helped turn around the fortunes of the world’s largest restaurant chain.
Cantalupo was an honorary member of the board of trustees of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and the past president of the International Federation of the Multiple Sclerosis Societies. He also served on the board of directors of Sears, Roebuck and Co., and the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations.


Micheline Charest


Categories: Business, Hollywood, Media

Micheline Charest, a co-founder of the CINAR animation company, died on April 14 from complications of plastic surgery. She was 51.
Born in Britain and raised in Quebec City, Charest dropped out of college and spent five years traveling through Europe. She attended the London Film School and met Roland Weinberg. They married, moved to New York and formed CINAR as a small film and television distribution company.
In 1984, the couple moved the company to Montreal. Within a few years, CINAR began producing award-winning cartoons that both educated and entertained millions of children. From 1987 to 1999, Charest served as the executive producer on 17 animated films and TV shows, including “Arthur,” “Emily of New Moon” and “Mona the Vampire.” At the time, the Hollywood Reporter ranked her as one of the most powerful women in the entertainment business.
Then in 2000, a financial scandal erupted at the animation company. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police began investigating allegations that CINAR had illegally benefited from federal tax credits by claiming Canadians wrote scripts that were actually penned by Americans. The authorities also examined claims that Charest and Weinberg had invested $122 million in Bahamian hedge funds without the permission of the board of directors.
Although Charest and Weinberg denied these charges, they were ousted from the company. In March, the Quebec Securities Commission fined them $1 million each. The couple was also barred from managing any Canadian company for five years.


Carlos E. Cisneros


Categories: Business, Media

ccisneros.jpgCarlos Enrique Cisneros, the former president of the Cisneros Television Group, died on April 10 from a drug overdose. His death is being investigated as a possible suicide by the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office. He was 38.
The nephew of media mogul Gustavo Cisneros, Carlos was born in Venezuela and attended private schools in Brazil and the United States. He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from American University, then moved to Madrid, where he developed foreign markets for the family business, the Cisneros Group of Companies (CGC).
Cisneros founded the Cisneros Television Group as an offshoot of CGC in 1996, and gained a reputation as a sharp entrepreneur for building a portfolio of a dozen Latin American pay-TV channels. Three years later, he was named a World Economic Forum ”Global Leader for Tomorrow.”
Cisneros, who served on the board of directors of Univision Communications Inc., El Sitio Inc., Univoz Inc. and OneSoft Corp., dedicated his free time to philanthropic ventures. He served two years as the president of the board of trustees for the Miami Art Museum, and raised funds for the United Foundation for AIDS.
In 1999, Miami Metro Magazine named Cisneros one of its 100 sexiest people. The Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce named him “Citizen of the Year” in 2001.