Nell Cady-Kruse ’84, MBA ’85
Fostering the frontier spirit at Johnson
“When you go into the newer markets — Mongolia, for instance — it’s really the Wild West right now,” she says. ”There’s a lot of danger, but it’s so interesting.”
Cady-Kruse, who spent five years working for Credit Suisse in Hong Kong before moving on to Singapore as the chief risk officer for Wholesale Banking for Standard Chartered Bank, the risk-opportunity dichotomy is much more colorful than it is for most of us. The organization, she adds, is well known and highly regarded as an emerging markets bank that does business in Asia, Africa and the Middle East “Risk management is exciting in places where there are really risky issues to deal with,” she says. As risk officer, she provides a reality check: “People get excited about the tremendous growth in China, India or Latin America. I can be, on the one hand, really enthusiastic; but, on the other hand, I’m the person who is there to protect the downside.”
Cady-Kruse is passionate about the emerging markets; that’s why she recently gave a gift to support the Nell Cady-Kruse Emerging Markets Institute (EMI) endowment fund and to EMI for current use. In addition, she continues her Annual Fund support. She actively participates in EMI events and also serves as chair of the global committee on Johnson’s Advisory Council.
“I’ve been heavily backing EMI because it’s a fantastic way to set Cornell apart, and integrate global-business concepts and thinking into the daily lives of faculty and students,” says Cady-Kruse. “It’s also tremendously helpful for bringing in very talented candidates."
“Nell has been an active supporter of the institute from its very inception,” says Richard Coyle, EMI executive director. “As an alumna based in an emerging market, she recognized the importance of enhancing this knowledge base within Johnson. Now that we are operational, her support has continued with a generous financial contribution that will enable us to grow our programs and facilitate research.”
When Cady-Kruse graduated in the mid-eighties, the emerging markets weren’t seriously considered in business terms. “China, India, and Vietnam were not talked about much; Latin America had various problems; and Africa was mostly a place to protest because of apartheid issues in South Africa,” says Cady-Kruse. “People thought of global business as mainly about multinationals who might sell things abroad.”
She didn’t envision herself going into the emerging markets. An Ithacan who finished her BS in agricultural economics with honors in 1984, Cady-Kruse quickly completed her MBA and began working in leveraged buyouts for Bankers Trust Company in New York City. She demonstrated her solid skills and expertise in LBOs and dropped hints that she was interested in going abroad; her employer promptly deployed her in Europe. “People realized that I could move to different places; I was enthusiastic about new cultures, people, and places; and change didn’t frighten me!”
Then, Cady-Kruse’s boss asked her to go to Asia. “Nobody at the time knew how much it would grow, but it was important, and I was a trusted pair of hands,” says Cady-Kruse. “My husband and I loved it.” She recently has taken a sabbatical and moved back to Chicago for family reasons, but sees herself at some point moving back to Asia or even South America.
A dedicated Cornellian (her father is Professor Emeritus K. Bingham Cady of Cornell’s Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering), Cady-Kruse wanted to share her love of emerging markets, and to give back to the school. “I learned the basic tools and the thinking process that helped me in my career, and I had brilliant professors, many of whom are still around: Joe Thomas, Maureen O’Hara, Bob Swieringa, Hal Bierman, and many others,” says Cady-Kruse. “I learned all about LBOs from Jerry Hass, and I was strong in LBOs because I had the tools from Johnson. And, once you prove yourself, it’s amazing what people will hand you in terms of responsibility and challenge.”