A Message From Your Webmaster:
Since this is the
Members Page, I would like to start something new for the
benefit of our members, and to honor achievements of our
members. Our 1st honoree is Christos Cotsakos.
Christos came to USAH, Camp Zama,
as a patient from wounds he received in Vietnam in 1968. He was
reassigned to us and spent the remainder of his time in Japan.
He was decorated with the Bronze Star with V device For Valor,
The Army Commendation Medal, Air Medal, Combat Infantrymen's
Badge, & Purple Heart. After leaving Japan in 1970 and receiving
a stateside discharge, Christos finished college on the GI Bill
at William Patterson University in
From his many successful business ventures, he
has donated millions to his university,
William Patterson University
has named it's Business School,
the Cotsakos College of Business.
Below you will read about some of Doctor Cotsakos'
exploits and accomplishments. Congratulations Christos. We are
proud of you. Christos' wife, Tami also has a long list of
accomplishments. Congratulations to you also. They always say
that the secret to a successful man is the support from a good
woman. We hope that you will become an active participant and
join us during some, if not all of, our annual reunions.
Christos, we hope to see you and Tami in
you have someone you would like the Website to honor, please
send it in to me.
By Business Week Staff Editor, Jessi Hempel
A "Hyperactive" Christos Cotsakos
The former E*Trade CEO talks about his passion,
honoring Vietnam vets, and his latest brainstorm, making
financial info "easy, simple"
Christos Cotsakos stepped down as CEO
of E*Trade (ET
) more than two years ago. Now he has reemerged as the chairman
of a $40 million fund-raising campaign to build an educational
facility near the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington,
D.C. The new Vietnam Veterans Memorial Center will provide a
history lesson on the war for the wall's visitors. On Apr. 22,
Cotsakos will travel to Vietnam as part of the Vietnam Veterans
Memorial Fund's project to remove land mines from the area.
Jessi Hempel recently talked to
Cotsakos about his charitable work, new business ventures,
and his thoughts on the company he steered through the dot-com
years. Edited excerpts of their conversation follow:
Q: Why is the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund important to
A: I have always been a big believer in the armed services.
My godfather was in the U.S. 101st Airborne. I was in Vietnam in
1967-68 as a fire-team and squad leader with the 101st Airborne
Division. That was a character-defining era for our nation.
Q: How did plans for the new educational center emerge?
A: The museum was a three-and-a-half year legislative
struggle. In November, 2003, legislation (H.R. 1442) was signed
authorizing construction of the Memorial Center near the Vietnam
Veterans Memorial. It has to be built underground -- and at no
cost to taxpayers.
Our goal is to raise $1.5 million for seed money immediately. We
hope to raise $7.5 million through December, 2005. Then we go
into the major gift-raising phase where we need to pull together
$20 million. We'll break ground in June, 2007, and then launch
the final phase. We believe if we use military precision and
financial discipline, we'll be able to pull it together.
Q: Does this project take on increased significance in light
of the war in Iraq?
A: Especially during times of unrest in the country, the
veteran can be a great teacher. All wars are sacred, and all
veterans are heroes. But Vietnam was such a character-defining
moment for our nation. It stands out above all other wars in
that it both galvanized and polarized us as a nation.
Q: What else have you been doing since you left E*Trade?
A: My wife, Tami, is my business partner. We spend about a
third of our time on our philanthropic endeavors. We do three
things: We work with William Patterson University where we are
raising additional money for the business school, and we support
a lot of faith-based charities. The third is our work with the
Vietnam Veteran's Fund.
Q: And the rest of your time?
A: I work with Pennington Ventures, which does startup work.
And in 2004, I formed Money & Living Holdings to fund the
entrepreneurial phase of a product we hope to launch in 2006.
Q: Can you tell me about the product?
A: I've had a concept for financial media that has been
around for about six years. It's a way to provide financial
information through media and entertainment. It's very visual,
incorporating both podcasting and blogs to tie into how we reach
a larger group. We're focusing on the 18-32 demographic. We'll
provide content and distribution. We have about 10 programs in
the can. We will do original programming.
Q: So it's TV programming?
A: Think of it as HDTV for financial media. It's a way to
make it really accessible, easy, simple. Too much of finance is
medicine and prescriptive. Everything else is kind of left by
Q: You're doing a lot!
A: When you're always hyperactive, you get involved a lot.
Q: What do you think of what has happened at E*Trade since
A: When I was there, we built the category known as online
investing. We built the brand, and we defined the space. We
built the supermarket brand for banking and online brokerage,
tying them together.
Today, the world has shifted dramatically. You shouldn't just
have a me-too strategy. I'm looking for them to reinvent
themselves again, and I haven't seen that yet.
M. Cotsakos, Ph.D.
is Founder, Chairman and CEO of Pennington Ventures, LLC, a
digital media and strategic management company providing
interactive digital media solutions to a broad range of
serves on the Executive Committee and is a member of the Board
of Directors for MySpace Japan (2006-present), a Web 2.0 joint
venture between News Corporation and Softbank Corporation, a
comprehensive digital information company. Dr. Cotsakos
played a key role in forming the joint venture between both
companies. Dr. Cotsakos is the Senior Interactive Media and
Internet Advisor for News Corporation (2005-present).
is a member of the Board of Directors for OPEN Sports, a
comprehensive platform of products and services that brings
together breaking sports news, social media tools, user
generated content and multimedia applications to create the
ultimate community-oriented destination. OPEN Sports users will
be able to compete against other passionate fans with
next-generation fantasy games.
Dr. Cotsakos serves as Co-Chair of the
Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund with Senator Charles Hagel
(R-Nebraska) and James V. Kimsey (Founder and Chairman Emeritus
of AOL). Established in 1979, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund
built the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C. (also
known as The Wall). Today, through a series of outreach
programs, the organization works to preserve the legacy of the
Vietnam Veterans Memorial, promote healing, and educate about
the impact of the Vietnam War.
In 2005, Dr. Cotsakos
was appointed Chairman of a nationwide effort to
raise $90 million with former Secretary of State General Colin
Powell (retired) as Honorary Chairman to build a Vietnam
Veterans Memorial Center in Washington, D.C. near the Vietnam
Veterans Memorial. In 2003, President George W. Bush signed into
law H.R. 1442, which authorized the construction of this
has served as Founder, Chairman of the Board, Chief Executive
Officer, and President of Mainstream Holdings, a holding company
providing customizable internet technology and digital media
Dr. Cotsakos has also served as
Founder, Chairman of the Board, and Chief Executive Officer of
MOLI®, a social media and social commerce company (2003-2008);
Money and Living™, a personalized digital financial media
project (2003-2008); CoVibe® Technologies, an internet and
customizable digital media solutions company (2004-2008),
Mainstream Integrated, an international new media company
(2007-2008); and MOLI Kids™, an online educational project for
children ages 5 and up (2007-2008). Dr. Cotsakos has
served as Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of
Tertiary Productions®, a new media production company
(2004-2008), and MOLI Asia (2007-2008). Dr. Cotsakos is
also among a team of inventors for Mainstream Holdings and, as
such, is listed in multiple patent applications covering aspects
of CoVibe Technologies’ social media and social commerce
co-founded and served as Co-Managing General Partner of
ArrowPath Ventures Inc. (1999-2003), where the Co-Managing
General Partners raised $350 million in venture capital.
served as Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer
(1998-2003) and President and Chief Executive Officer
(1996-1998) of E*TRADE Group, Inc., where he raised $13 million
in private equity to help finance the company's start-up
operations. He led the company’s initial public offering and
listed E*TRADE on the National Association of Securities Dealers
Automated Quotations (NASDAQ) under the symbol EGRP in August
1996, raising an additional $53 million. In February 2001, after
the company earned $1 billion in revenue, he listed E*TRADE on
the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the symbol ET.
raised an additional $1.5 billion to finance E*TRADE’s growth,
infrastructure, technology innovations, and leading
brand-building strategy. He initiated the company’s global
diversification program by acquiring 18 companies for over $3
billion and broadening the company's products and services
portfolio to include online banking, an ATM network, corporate
stock plan administration, online mortgage origination,
international and institutional multi-currency securities
execution and settlement services, community and calendaring,
advisory services, market making, and personalized digital
financial media. Dr. Cotsakos launched international
E*TRADE destinations in Canada, Europe, and Asia. Dr.
Cotsakos founded, developed, and managed E*TRADE's extensive
and profitable global investment and venture portfolio, which
included early-stage financing for Archipelago, an
all-electronic financial marketplace that merged with the NYSE
under the name NYSE Arca and completed their initial public
offering in 2006 and International Securities Exchange (ISE), an
electronic exchange for equity options listed on the NYSE and
completed their initial public offering in 2005.
Under Dr. Cotsakos’ stewardship,
E*TRADE received numerous industry awards and recognitions for
innovation, marketing, and technology. Fortune magazine named
E*TRADE as one of the 10 most admired companies in financial
services for the first time in 2002. It was included in both the
S&P 500 and the Forbes Super 500 in 2003.
is considered to be one of the visionaries, architects, and
entrepreneurs of e-commerce and e-finance. He also pioneered the
early stages of development for personalized digital financial
Dr. Cotsakos previously served as
Global Co-Chief Executive Officer, President, and Chief
Operating Officer of ACNielsen, the global leader in market
research, information, and analysis. Dr. Cotsakos
expanded the company’s reach in Asia, Europe, and Latin America
and reinvigorated its brand and market position. Dr. Cotsakos
received Dun & Bradstreet’s Chairman’s Award for Global
Leadership in 1993 and the President’s Award in 1995 for his
innovative leadership in developing and expanding the company’s
international strategic business units.
Dr. Cotsakos served 19 years
(1973-1992) with the Federal Express Corporation, a market
leader in transportation, information, and logistics solutions,
where he held a number of senior executive positions. Dr.
Cotsakos was instrumental in developing several of the
People-Service-Profit initiatives that Federal Express is known
and respected for today. Dr. Cotsakos received the Chief
Operating Officer’s Five Star Award for Leadership and
Innovation in 1984 and was instrumental in Federal Express
receiving the Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award in
1990. Dr. Cotsakos has served on the Board of
Directors for public, private, and non-profit companies
including the NYSE’s Listed Advisory Committee, an advisory
council of key NYSE listed company chief executives who provided
issues-based counsel for the Chairman and CEO as well as the
senior management team of the NYSE; Corporate Council for the
John F. Kennedy Center, America’s national center for cultural
and performing arts; the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund’s
Corporate Council, a network of business executives who assist
in directing both the fundraising and distribution of funds
through targeted educational programs associated with Vietnam
Veterans; Pepperdine University’s Board of Visitors, a network
of prominent business leaders and alumni who counsel Pepperdine
University’s Graziadio School of Business and Management;
E*TRADE Group, Inc. USA and E*TRADE Financial Japan, a
diversified financial services company; E-Offering, a
diversified on-line financial institution acquired by WIT
Capital; ACNielsen, a leader in global media and research
company acquired by VNU; Forte Software, a leader in the
integration and development of scalable enterprise-class
distributed applications acquired by Sun Microsystems; Digital
Island, a leading global e-business delivery network acquired by
Cable and Wireless; National Processing Company, a provider of
business transaction processing from point-of-sale credit card
processing to e-commerce solutions; TradeStation Group, Inc., a
leader in rule-based trading; Tickets.com, a leading
business-to-business ticketing service for live events; PlanetRX,
an online healthcare destination and pharmacy for commerce,
content, and community; Critical Path, a consumer messaging
software and services company for mobile operators; DataCard, a
leader in secure ID and personalized smart card services; Fourth
Communication Network, an internet service provider that
delivered high speed access for consumers in the lodging
industry; ePlay Inc., a learning, educational, and software
company that provided tutorial products to children, teachers,
and parents; Official Payments Corp., the leading provider in
electronic government payments including personal income taxes,
business taxes, property and real estate taxes, and utility and
education payments acquired by Tier Technologies Inc.; and
Webvan, an online grocery delivery business. Dr. Cotsakos was
also elected Chairman of the Board to assist Webvan's executive
team and Board with its strategic exit alternatives in 2001.
Through his extensive experiences in start-ups, venture capital,
Fortune 1000 companies, board memberships and advisory services,
Dr. Cotsakos has helped companies raise over $4.0 billion
in equity and debt financing. He also provided counsel on
globalization, organization and development, technology, sales
and marketing, financing, product development and innovation,
transaction processing, e-commerce, interactive multimedia,
corporate governance, and exit strategies at critical junctures
in those companies' growth cycles.
Dr. Cotsakos served on the Board of
Directors for the FOX Entertainment Group (1999-2005), a leader
in the development, production, and worldwide distribution of
feature films and television programs, television broadcasting,
and cable network programming. Dr. Cotsakos chaired both the
audit committee and the special committee of independent
directors when News Corporation, a diversified entertainment
company, acquired the minority interest in the FOX Entertainment
Group in 2005.
Dr. Cotsakos served as Co-Chair of the
Capital Campaign at William Paterson University. The Campaign
ended in 2006 having successfully raised over $40 million for
In 2005, Dr. Cotsakos accepted the
role of Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors for the
National Democratic Party’s candidate for the President of
Dr. Cotsakos served as a technical
advisor at President Clinton’s first Cyber Security Summit at
the White House and has also served as an advisor to the
Military in the Information Age, a project on national defense
and security systems technology sponsored by the Pentagon.
Dr. Cotsakos is personally engaged in
various civic and community activities through the Cotsakos
Family Trust, of which his wife and daughter are principals.
The Cotsakos Family Trust focuses on education,
faith-based community outreach, and the Vietnam Veterans
The Trust has provided seed and operating capital for the
Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund and its outreach programs
including Project RENEW, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund's
unexploded ordinance removal and awareness program in Quang Tri
Province, Vietnam; the establishment of the computer learning
center at Hanoi University of Foreign Studies; and Echoes from
The Wall, a Vietnam War educational curriculum distributed to
40,000 schools throughout the United States.
Dr. Cotsakos enlisted in the military
in 1967. He is a decorated Vietnam veteran and was awarded the
Bronze Star Medal with V for Valor, the Army Commendation Medal
with V for Valor, the Purple Heart for wounds received in
combat, the Air Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal, the Vietnam
Campaign Medal, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Parachutist
Badge, as well as other ribbons and citations. Dr. Cotsakos
served in Vietnam as a fire team leader and squad leader with
Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion, 501st Infantry, 101st Airborne
Division (known as the Screaming Eagles). Dr. Cotsakos
was honorably discharged from active military service in January
Dr. Cotsakos was able to attend
college at William Paterson University through a combination of
the GI bill, an alumni scholarship, and working nights loading
trucks. He received a B.A. in Communications (cum laude) with a
minor in Theatre and a concentration in Political Science
(1973). He earned an M.B.A. (summa cum laude) from Pepperdine
University (Malibu, California, 1983). Dr. Cotsakos
earned a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of London,
Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine (London,
United Kingdom, 2002).
In May 2001, William Paterson University,
one of the nine state colleges and universities in New Jersey,
named its business school the Cotsakos
College of Business in honor of Dr. Cotsakos.
Dr. Cotsakos earned a lifetime
teaching credential in Industrial Management for the California
community school system (1984). Dr. Cotsakos has been an
international speaker on a variety of topics including the
global economy, e-commerce, leadership, chaos and uncertainty in
the digital environment, landmine awareness, education and
removal and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund. He has spoken at
venues such as the Davos World Economic Forum, MSNBC’s Summit I
and II hosted by Tom Brokaw, and on cable and network television
including Bloomberg, CNBC, CNN, CNNfn, FOX, MSNBC and NBC. He
has also provided commentary on nationally syndicated radio and
lectures at leading colleges and universities.
Dr. Cotsakos was invited to become a
Visiting Professor of Economics at the University of London,
Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine
is the author of the national bestseller It’s Your Money,
published in June 2000. It’s Your Money has over 275,000 copies
in several languages in print worldwide. Dr. Cotsakos
donated all proceeds from the book to the Vietnam Veterans
Memorial Fund. He is currently authoring several additional
books on entrepreneurship, marketing, and strategy.
is the fourth of five children of Greek immigrant parents. Dr.
Cotsakos and his wife both grew up in Paterson, New Jersey. They
attended Paterson’s public schools (Dr. Cotsakos: PS 15
and Mrs. Cotsakos: PS 21 and PS 26) and are graduates of
Eastside High School (1965 and 1967, respectively). Dr.
Cotsakos lived in Japan for two years and he and his family
resided in Brussels, Belgium for eight years. Dr.
Cotsakos has been married to Tami Cotsakos for 35
Mrs. Cotsakos holds a B.S. in Music
and a teaching credential (K-12) from William Paterson
University (1971); and was recognized in 2007 as a Distinguished
Alumnus. Mrs. Cotsakos currently manages the Cotsakos Family
Trust. She has served as Co-Founder and President of Pennington
Ventures since 1999, where she co-manages the company's
investment portfolio and is Co-Managing Partner of its
Children’s Education Practice. Mrs. Cotsakos is also
among a team of inventors for Mainstream Holdings and, as such,
is listed in multiple patent applications covering aspects of
CoVibe Technologies social media and social commerce technology.
Mrs. Cotsakos is also engaged in several civic and
charitable endeavors. Mrs. Cotsakos served as Vice
Chairman of Mainstream Holdings, a member of its Board of
Directors, and Chair of its Social Responsibility Committee
(2003-2008). Mrs. Cotsakos has also served as Vice Chairman of
MOLI, CoVibe Technologies, and Tertiary Productions (2006-2008).
Mrs. Cotsakos served as a member of the Money and Living
Board of Directors (2005-2008) and a member of the Mainstream
Integrated Holdings Board of Directors (2007-2008). She has also
served as Co-Founder, President and Chief Operating Officer of
MOLI Kids (2007-2008) Mrs. Cotsakos is Chair of the
Tami Cotsakos Music Scholarship at William Paterson
University and Co-Chaired the William Paterson University
Capital Campaign. Prior to this, Mrs. Cotsakos built a career in
design, retail, childcare management, education (as an
elementary school music teacher in the New Jersey and the
California public school systems) and philanthropy. Mrs.
Cotsakos has also founded and managed as a small business
owner several entrepreneurial ventures.
Suzanne R. Cotsakos
holds a B.A. in Theatre Arts from Pepperdine University (Malibu,
California, 2002), a B.F.A. in Motion Pictures and Television
from the Academy of Art University (San Francisco, California,
2004), and is currently pursuing an M.B.A. from William Paterson
University. She has served as Co-Founder and Director of
Investments for Pennington Ventures since 1999 and is also
Co-Managing Partner of its New Media Practice. Ms. Cotsakos
has been Co-Founder of Tertiary Productions since October 2004
and Co-President of Tertiary Productions since April 2006.
Ms. Cotsakos is also among a team of inventors for
Mainstream Holdings and, as such, is listed in multiple patent
applications covering aspects of CoVibe Technologies’ social
media and social commerce technology. Ms. Cotsakos served
as Vice President of Community Outreach Programs for Mainstream
Holdings (2006-2008). Ms. Cotsakos also served as a member of
the Board of Directors of Mainstream Holdings and a member of
the Board’s Social Responsibility Committee (2003-2008). She is
also Co-Founder of MOLI Kids, founded in July 2007. Ms.
Cotsakos has served as a member of the Money and Living
Board of Directors (2005-2008) and member of the Mainstream
Integrated Holdings Board of Directors (2007-2008). Ms.
Cotsakos is also involved in several charitable programs and
enjoys spending time with his family and friends, mentoring
entrepreneurs, reading, writing, teaching, participating in
Chanoyu (the Japanese tea ceremony of the Urasenke School of
Tea), creating new business opportunities, building new digital
media platforms, developing technology solutions and working on
educational, civic, and community projects.
100 People Who Have Changed the Way Americans Think About Money
(Worth September 2001)
25 Most Influential Personalities in Financial Services
(Future Banker May 2001 and May 1999)
The Online Finance 40 (Institutional Investor
Executive of the Year (Hellenic American
Bankers Association March 2001)
The CIO 100 (CIO August 2000)
The E-Establishment: The Top 50 Technology Leaders
(Vanity Fair April 2000)
The Financial Online Elite (Institutional
Investor April 2000 and September 1997)
Powerful Wall Street Pioneers (Wall Street
Journal December 1999)
The 50 Most Important People Shaping Technology Today
(Time Digital October 1999)
The e.biz 25 Most Influential People in Electronic
Business (Business Week September 1999)
Power 50 – The Most Influential People in Financial
Services (American Banker May 1999)
The 25 Most Powerful People in Networking (Networld
Entrepreneur of the Year USA (Entrepreneur of the Year
Institute November 1998)
Entrepreneur of the Year California (Entrepreneur of
the Year Institute June 1998)
The Top 50 Cyber Elite (Time Digital October 1998)
The New Entrepreneurial Elite (Inc. December 1997)
Top 10 Visionary CEOs (Communications Week February
Thirty Who Matter in Technology (Forbes ASAP October
Unexploded Ordinance Humanitarian Award (Quang
Tri Province, Vietnam April 2005)
Hellenic Heritage Achievement Award (American
Hellenic Institute, Inc. March 2002)
Hellene of the Year Award (Hellenic Medical
Society December 2001)
Man of the Year Award (Hellenic-American
Chamber of Commerce October 2001)
Sons of Pericles Supreme President Award (Order
of the Sons of Pericles July 2001)
Ellis Island Medal of Honor (National Ethnic
Coalition of Organizations Foundation May 2001)
Greek Orthodox Youth Scholarship Patron Award
(New Jersey Greek Orthodox Foundation November 2000)
Forever Worthy in Community Service Award
(Saint Athanasios Greek Orthodox Church November 2000)
Psion Award (Dissertation of the Year;
Management School, University of London, Imperial College of
Science, Technology and Medicine; London, United Kingdom April
Legacy Award (William Paterson University;
Wayne, New Jersey November 1999)
Distinguished Alumnus Award (Pepperdine
University; Malibu, California August 1999)
Doctor of Humane Letters (American College of
Thessalonica; Thessalonica, Greece July 2003)
Doctor of Humanities (Hellenic College; Brookline,
Massachusetts May 2002)
Doctor of Laws (Pepperdine University; Malibu,
California April 2002)
Doctor of Business Administration (Drexel University;
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, April 2002)