News and Events
Graziadio School of Business and Management Celebrated 2007 Graduation
Students of the Graziadio School of Business and Management celebrated their graduation on Aug. 4 in Firestone Fieldhouse on the Malibu campus.
Foster Friess, founder of Friess Associates, a Wyoming-based prominent investment company, received an honorary doctorate. Arif Shakeel, former CEO and a current director of Western Digital Corporation, was honored as the Distinguished Alumnus.
About Foster Friess
Foster Friess is the founder of Friess Associates, a prominent investment company headquartered in Jackson, Wyoming. Its nearly $15 billion in assets consist of the Brandywine Funds, Fortune 500-company pension funds, endowments, and institutional portfolios. BusinessWeek magazine hailed Friess, who founded his firm in 1974, as “the longest surviving successful growth stock picker.” CNBC’s Ron Insana has dubbed him “one of the last century’s greatest investors.”
Friess grew up in Wisconsin tending livestock at his family’s cattle ranch and served in the U.S. Army as an intelligence officer after completing school. His first job in the investment industry was as a researcher at the NYSE-member firm Brittingham, Inc. Friess rose to the level of director of research before leaving to found Friess Associates.
Friess’ professional achievements and philosophy of success have been well documented in the business press in such books as Investing Under Fire by Alan Ackerman, Secrets of the Investment All-Stars by Kenneth Stern, and The Entrepreneur’s Creed: The Principles and Passions of 20 Successful Entrepreneurs by Merrill Oster, et al.
Friess has served as president of the Council for National Policy, a networking group for conservative activists. He and his wife of 45 years, Lynette, have funded $140 million in three foundations including the Lynn and Foster Friess Family Foundation, which makes charitable grants for small, entrepreneurial, faith-based urban charities; one-on-one mentoring; and recently, tsunami restoration efforts in Sri Lanka. Numerous awards Friess has received include the Richard M. DeVos Free Enterprise Award Leadership in Philanthropy, Hillsdale College’s Adam Smith Award, and the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award.
Friess earned his degree in business administration from the University of Wisconsin, as well as a degree in international economics from the University of Oslo in Norway.
The Friesses reside in Jackson, Wyoming.
About Arif Shakeel
Arif Shakeel is the former chief executive officer and a current director of Western Digital Corporation, headquartered in Lake Forest, California, where he serves as special advisor to the company’s board of directors. Western Digital is the leading industry provider of computer hard drives for businesses and consumers, posting $4.3 billion in revenue with 73.3 million unit shipments last year. Western Digital employs 27,000 workers worldwide delivering to new markets the same quality and reliability that has made it successful in the computing industry.
Under Shakeel’s leadership, the company succeeded in an effort to improve manufacturing efficiency by reducing operating expenses and increasing capacity. As a result of his cost-control efforts Western Digital achieved a nearly 50 percent reduction in operating expenses. Production increased and revenue doubled from $2 billion in 2000 to $4 billion in 2005. In that same time frame, Western Digital posted the most consistent profits and highest returns on invested capital in the hard drive industry.
Shakeel began his career of more than two decades with Western Digital in 1985, holding numerous increasingly responsible positions including product manager; vice president, materials – Asia; senior vice president, worldwide operations; executive vice president and general manager, hard drive solutions; and executive vice president and chief operating officer.
He also serves as corporate director on the board of Bournes, Inc., of Riverside, California, and on the board of Share Our Selves, a Southern California nonprofit organization which is dedicated to advocacy and serving Orange County families in need of social, medical, and dental services.
Shakeel earned his bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering from Memphis State University in Memphis, Tennessee, and received his master of business administration from Pepperdine University in 1981.
Shakeel resides with his wife Maria in Laguna Niguel, California.