Key Executives is pleased to announce The Top 25 C-Suite Executives of New Jersey for 2022. The Garden State is home to many corporate headquarters, spanning all industries from biotech and pharmaceuticals to specialized agriculture and information technology. And over the last year, there’s been notable growth in core industries like finance, professional services, and manufacturing. With the state’s economy transforming, some companies have even escaped New York to take advantage of what New Jersey has to offer: more space, state tax incentives, and a highly educated workforce.
Among this year’s awardees is Chief Operating Officer for the New York Jets, Brian Friedman, who’s responsible for implementing business operations aligned with the team's short-term and long-term business goals and other strategic growth opportunities for the team and MetLife Stadium. Awardee Dr. María Rodríguez, Ph.D., LPC is the founder of Care Counseling Center, which aligns with her unshakable passion for supporting mental health and the emotional support needs of her clients. Also being recognized is Sasha Savic, the Chief Executive Officer of MediaCom, who since joining the agency in 2012 has worked tirelessly as a partner for clients, helping the company achieve nine consecutive years of growth.
Please join us in celebrating the accomplishments of The Top 25 C-Suite Executives of New Jersey for 2022.
1. Mike Ellis
Chief Financial Officer, Multinational Corporation ADP
Mike Ellis is the Chief Financial Officer at ADP, a human resources management software and services provider. He joined the company in 2000 as a financial controller before becoming Chief Financial Officer in 2004. In 2014, he was appointed as CFO, Multinational Corporation.
Now a seasoned financial operations professional with a deep background in technology and services companies, Ellis got his start in 1997 as a management accountant at Messer Group. From there, he went on to work for AFP Technology Ltd. Ellis graduated from the University of London with an M.Sc. in professional accountancy and from the University of West London with an MS in professional accountancy.
2. Kendall O'Brien
VP and CFO, Johnson and Johnson
Kendall O’Brien is Vice President, Finance, and CFO for the Office of the Chief Scientific Officer at Johnson and Johnson. O’Brien provides financial leadership for the company’s innovation agenda. This includes the valuation of its R&D portfolio and pipeline and enterprise strategies. She also oversees the Acquisitions and Divestitures (A&D) Operations Group and is a member of the R&D Global Management Committee (RDMC) and the Finance Senior Leadership team.
Throughout her 30-year career at Johnson & Johnson, O’Brien has held several senior positions of increasing responsibility and scale across the enterprise sector finance groups. Previously, she was VP of Group Finance, Medical Devices & Diagnostics, and Group Operating Committee member. Outside work, O’Brien serves on the Task Force for Talent Innovation and the Conference Board Leadership Council for Advancing Women. She also helps her local community on two township committees and schools. O’Brien earned her bachelor’s degree in accounting and finance at Lehigh University.
3. Matthew Ellis
EVP and Chief Financial Officer, Verizon
Matthew Ellis is responsible for Verizon’s finance operations as its EVP and Chief Financial Officer. Before being appointed to this role in 2016, Ellis was Senior Vice President and CFO of operations finance. He provided financial support to the wireless and wireline business units. Before this, he was Senior Vice President and Treasurer for Verizon, overseeing corporate-wide financing, cash management, pension and insurance activities, and the Verizon Capital Group.
Ellis joined Verizon in 2013 after spending 15 years at Tyson Foods, most recently as Vice President And Treasurer. Before this, he worked in England for Dixons Stores Group and Coopers and Lybrand, where he qualified as a Chartered Accountant. He has a Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting) degree from the University of Birmingham in the UK.
4. David Boulter
Chief Operating Officer, Aon Hewitt
David Boulter is the Chief Operating Officer of Aon Hewitt. The company provides its clients with management consulting services and solutions that help protect and grow their businesses.
As a strategic leader and mentor, Boulter is passionate about growing businesses by creating and developing high-performing teams. He specializes in structuring and negotiating complex multi-disciplinary agreements to govern strategic partnerships.
Boulter joined the company in 1994 as a Portfolio Executive. He then took on the role of Senior Vice President of Renewal Sales and SVP & General Manager of Health Exchanges before being appointed COO in 2016. Before joining Aon Hewitt, Boulter was a consulting actuary and associate at Mercer. He graduated from the University of Oxford with an MA in mathematics.
5. Sasha Savic
Chief Executive Officer, MediaCom
Sasha Savic is MediaCom’s US Chief Executive Officer. Since joining the agency in 2012, Savic has delivered nine years of growth, bringing MediaCom unprecedented success and recognition. This culminated in MediaCom being named Adweek’s 2021 Global Media Agency of the Year. Savic was also recognized as Adweek’s 2021 US Executive of the Year.
Before joining MediaCom, Savic was COO of Havas Media Group, responsible for overall business performance in the US and Canada. He also worked as EVP and Global Managing Director for SMG/Publicis Groupe from 2006 to 2010, managing the agency's global Procter & Gamble business. Savic’s experience also includes working for Universal McCann, where his client list included Coca-Cola, Microsoft, ExxonMobil, Intel, and MasterCard.
6. Pat Corrado
Pat Corrado is the Fiserv Technology COO at Fiserv, which provides financial technology services to clients across the financial services sector. Carrado is responsible for strategy, business management, executive reporting, expense management, and technology partnerships for global technology organizations in this role.
He began his professional career 34 years ago, starting in an operations role at Shearson Lehman. From there, he went on to Salomon Smith Barney before joining First Data Corporation as Chief Financial Officer. This was his most recent position before joining Fiserv. Corrado graduated from St. John's University, The Peter J. Tobin College of Business with an MBA in finance.
7. Cliff Skelton
Chief Executive Officer, Conduent
As Conduent’s President, Chief Executive Officer, and a Member of the Board, Cliff Skelton is focused on leading Conduent to growth and long-term success. Skelton drives the company’s strategy to deliver mission-critical services and solutions to global businesses and governments, creating exceptional outcomes for them and the people they serve.
Skelton has significant experience in large-scale operations and enterprise transformations and deep knowledge of technology. He joined Conduent from Fiserv Corporation, where he most recently served as President of Fiserv Output Solutions, providing services for companies across multiple industries and driving top-line and bottom-line growth. Before that, he was Fiserv's Group President and Chief Information Officer.
Skelton formerly served for over 20 years as a naval officer and fighter pilot. He has a master’s in Public Administration (MPA) degree from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Southern California.
8. Nitya Gopalakrishnan
Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer - SMA, BlackRock
Nitya Gopalakrishnan is the Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer, SMA at BlackRock. The New York-based investment management firm provides investment, advisory, and risk management solutions for government and non-profit organizations. She joined BlackRock in 2000 as an Associate and has since climbed the corporate ladder, first becoming a VP and then Director to eventually becoming Chief Operating Officer and Managing Director.
During her tenure at BlackRock, Gopalakrishnan has focused on her clients, building teams, and learning from diverse perspectives. Before joining BlackRock, she was a Senior Systems Analyst at Whittman-Hart and a Systems Analyst at The Miami Herald. Gopalakrishnan graduated from Madurai Kamaraj University with an undergraduate degree in computer science.
9. Michele Basile
Chief Executive Officer, Kindred Healthcare
Michele Basile is the Chief Executive Officer of Kindred Healthcare, which provides people with intensive medical and rehabilitative care through a compassionate patient experience. Basile joined the company in 2012 as Chief Clinical Officer before being appointed Chief Executive Officer in 2014.
Basile first got her start in 2004 as a Nurse Manager at Penn Medicine, University of Pennsylvania Health Systems, where she went on to become Clinical Director. Basile graduated from Saint Joseph's University with an MSHA and from the University of Delaware with an undergraduate degree in nursing.
10. John Kelly
SVP & Global Chief Information Security Officer, Elsevier
John Kelly is Elsevier's Senior Vice President and Global Chief Information Security Officer. He first joined the company in 2016. As a global leader in information and analytics, Elsevier helps researchers and healthcare professionals advance science and improve health outcomes for the benefit of society.
Kelly oversees the Global Information Security and Risk functions for Elsevier's operations in the US and worldwide. He’s responsible for cyber security infrastructure and architecture, data security strategies, policies, and risk management. This is, of course, all to protect the interests of customers, employees, critical technology assets, company brands, and other critical stakeholders. Kelly has shaped US cybersecurity and privacy through participation in the Communications Sector Coordinating Council and FCC CSRIC, NIST Cybersecurity Framework, and Communications ISAC.
Previously, Kelly was a VP of National Security Operations at Comcast and oversaw Network Operations at Cigna before that. Kelly earned an undergraduate degree in computer information systems and business from Drexel University.
11. Brian Friedman
Chief Operating Officer, New York Jets
Brian Friedman is the Chief Operating Officer for the New York Jets. Now in his 13th year with the Jets, he begins his fourth season as the team's Executive Vice President and COO. Previously, he spent nine seasons with the team as their Chief Financial Officer. Friedman is responsible for implementing business operations aligned with the team's short-term and long-term business goals. This includes current revenue generation, fan-focused initiatives, and other strategic growth opportunities for the team and MetLife Stadium.
Prior to joining the Jets, Friedman was the Chief Financial Officer of Blissworld and the owner and operator of Bliss Spas. Before Bliss, he was at Columbia House Company and Polo Ralph Lauren and began his career at Price Waterhouse. Friedman currently teaches Sports Accounting and Finance in the Graduate Sports Management Program at Columbia University. He has a degree in Economics and Business Management from the Dyson School of Business at Cornell University and an MBA from Columbia University.
12. Dr. Maria Rodriguez, Ph.D., LPC
CEO and President, Care Counseling Center of Bridgewater
Dr. María Rodríguez, Ph.D., LPC, is an accomplished mental health professional passionate about supporting people’s well-being, keeping families together, and helping individuals be their best.
She’s the founder of Care Counseling Center, which provides mental health counseling to anyone with different emotional support needs and traumas. Her company also offers immigration services and social services. Dr. Rodríguez previously spent 18 years as a Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies and Psychology and more than 14 years managing, providing clinical supervision, and developing programs and projects. She earned her Ph.D. from Capella University and her master’s degree from William Paterson University.
13. Raj Patil
Chief Executive Officer, Orion Innovation
Raj Patil is the Chief Executive Officer of Orion Innovation. He manages Orion’s growth as a leading provider of information technology and outsourcing services. With over 24 years of experience, Patil is a seasoned executive who’s successfully led the growth and development of significant IT services companies and start-up ventures.
Before joining Orion, Patil was the President and Chief Operating Officer of LiquidHub, an IT consulting and services company where he led the Business Units and Global Operations. Previously, he was a Co-Founder, and Chairman of the Board of aSpark, an IT services company focused on enterprise solutions in the emerging digital interactive market. He also spent over seven years with MphasiS, an HP company, playing several key roles in its growth to reach over a billion dollars in revenue.
Patil received an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, an MS in Computer Science from Villanova University, Pennsylvania, and a BS in Computer Science from Mysore University, India.
14. Peter Lehmann
Chief Strategy Officer, Sterling
Peter Lehmann joined Sterling in April 2019 as Chief Strategy Officer. He brings extensive strategy and corporate development experience, having led companies in financial, information, and business services.
Before Sterling, Lehmann spent twelve years with Dun and Bradstreet, most recently in the role of Chief Strategy Officer, where he led corporate strategy, competitive intelligence, and global mergers and acquisitions.
Prior to Dun and Bradstreet, he held senior leadership positions with Merrill Lynch, Intuit, and American Express. He was also part of the founding team of EmployeeMatters, a cloud-based payroll company acquired by Intuit. Lehmann began his career in strategy consulting with Mercer Management Consulting (now Oliver Wyman), where he was a Principal. He earned a BA in Government from Dartmouth College.
15. Jonathan Hitchon
Chief Operating Officer, Two Sigma Investments
Jonathan Hitchon is the Chief Operating Officer of Two Sigma Investments. The company combines rigorous inquiry, data analysis, and invention to solve challenges in investment management, securities, private equity, insurance technology, and venture capital.
Previously, he was Chairman of the Board of Managed Funds Association. Before this, Hitchon spent over 13 years as a Managing Director at Deutsche Bank. Here, he oversaw the bank’s move to unite its derivatives trading and processing services for listed and over-the-counter contracts as US and European regulations re-made those markets. Hitchon has an undergraduate degree in chemical engineering from The University of Sheffield.
16. Afrika Parks, RN, MSN, LNHA
Chief Clinical Officer, Windsor Healthcare Management
Afrika Parks is the Chief Clinical Officer of Windsor Healthcare Management. At Windsor, Parks has overseen the clinical operations of eight skilled nursing facilities. She’s also managed Windsor’s ongoing development of senior living services, created unique clinical programming, and successfully managed COVID-19 safety regulations. Starting in critical care at Overlook Hospital, Parks has progressively advanced in her career. Beginning as the Director of Nursing, she’s gone on to helm roles like Regional Clinical Specialist, Quality Assurance Specialist, and Licensed Nursing Home Administrator.
Today, Parks is an active member of the American College of Health Care Administrators of New York and New Jersey, a committee member of the American Health Care Association, Outstanding Nursing Leaders of New Jersey, a Board Member of The New Jersey Coalition of Nurses, as well as Sigma Theta Tau. She received her master’s in nursing from Walden University. Before attending Walden, Parks also studied nursing at Kaplan University and Felician College.
17. Jim Miller
Chief Revenue Officer, Majesco
Jim Miller is the Chief Revenue Officer of Majesco. As a Senior Software Sales Executive and Business Transformation Leader, he builds and leads high-performing sales teams, focusing on improving sales execution and operations, refining systems and procedures, and sustaining business growth at scale.
Miller first joined the company in 2019 after spending over 20 years at CA Technologies, where he was Senior Vice President of Sales and Strategy. Throughout his career, he’s established an extensive executive network with Global 1000 companies and negotiated multi-million dollar deals, enterprise license agreements, and significant distribution partnerships. As an executive advisor, Miller has enjoyed diverse opportunities, providing various areas of business and industry thought leadership expertise. Today, he mentors the next generation of organizational leaders, teaching strategies for success in the IT industry.
18. Jason Kolinoski
Chief Operating Officer, Aquity Solutions
Jason Kolinoski is the Chief Operating Officer at Aquity Solutions. He oversees strategy and directs the central backend operations of the parent company. His drive and leadership are instrumental in the efficient implementation of policies and programs.
Kolinoski has over 20 years of experience as a change agent in health information technology, advanced workflow design, business process outsourcing (BPO), and global service delivery models. He’s recognized for fundamentally changing the competitive landscape in the clinical documentation services industry by leveraging various technologies with premium international labor services. His diverse background spans all aspects of merger and acquisition activities, cultural integration, and positive financial performance.
19. Richard Ezra
Chief Marketing Officer, Lion Brand Yarn
Richard Ezra is a brand visionary and has spent his career taking companies to new levels of success with innovative marketing approaches. Since 2017, he has served as Chief Marketing Officer for Lion Brand Yarn, one of the leading creative knitting and craft yarn marketers in the US and worldwide. In this role, Ezra has established partnerships with high-profile brands like Netflix and ITV Studios, the global distributor of the award-winning series "Schitt's Creek.”
Before joining Lion Brand Yarn, he was the Chief Marketing Officer at Astor Chocolate, a premier chocolate and candy manufacturer and distributor. Ezra has also spearheaded marketing and product development for Wilton Brands and EK Success. He has a bachelor's degree from the University of Maryland.
20. Dave Delizza
President and Chief Executive Officer, Pennoni
David DeLizza is the Chief Executive Officer at Pennoni. DeLizza joined Pennoni in 1979 through Drexel University’s Co-Op program. Today, he’s a member of the firm’s Executive Committee.
DeLizza has integrated the engineering and financial aspects of major projects into the legal, regulatory, and community objectives to benefit Pennoni’s diverse client base. He has more than three decades of experience in civil municipal engineering and broad experience in relationship development among stakeholders at the federal, state, and local government levels. DeLizza graduated with a degree in civil engineering from Drexel University and is a licensed professional engineer in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, and Delaware.
21. Jason Campbell
Chief Growth Officer, Newport Academy
Jay Campbell is the Chief Growth Officer at Newport Academy. He has more than 20 years of professional experience in business development, marketing, management, and operations spanning the behavioral health, medical device, and pharmaceutical industries.
Before joining the Newport Academy team, Campbell was the Vice President of Business Relations for Acadia Healthcare. Prior to that, he was the National Director of Business Development for CRC Health Group.
Throughout his career, Campbell has advocated for people with healthcare needs by working with various providers in frontline positions, as well as through executive leadership roles, where he has consistently built teams of multidisciplinary professionals dedicated to serving their clients. He has a BA in Biology from Hartwick College.
22. Geovane Lemond
Chief Operating Officer, iSmile Orthodontics
Geovane Lemond is the Chief Operating Officer of iSmile Orthodontics. iSmile Orthodontics provides clients and their families with the highest quality dental care with the latest technologies. As COO, Lemond directs and oversees critical activities and initiatives across the organization with accountability for implementing, developing, and integrating business strategies, plans, and procedures. With a diverse sales background spanning over 20 years of experience, Lemond is skilled in account administration, sales methodologies, client prospecting, and team development.
Before joining iSmile Orthodontics, he served as Regional Account Manager at
Aztec Software. Before this, he was a Sales Manager at Preferred Water Testing, District Sales Manager at Retail Business Development (RBD), and did a stint at Rave Wireless. Lemond graduated from New Jersey City University with an undergraduate degree in business administration and management.
23. Ken Ernsting
Chief Operating Officer, HHAeXchange
Ken Ernsting is the Chief Operating Officer of HHAeXchange. HHAeXchange is the leading technology platform for homecare and self-direction program management.
Ernsting is a 25-year healthcare technology veteran and has successfully led companies, including WebMD and Medical Manager, in executive-level general manager and senior vice president roles. Most recently, Ernsting was the COO at ABILITY Network, a leading information technology company connecting healthcare providers and payers. While at ABILITY, Ernsting helped grow revenue from $15 million to more than $140 million and successfully led the company’s integration of eight acquisitions. Ernsting graduated from Boston University with an undergraduate degree in interdisciplinary studies.
24. Salvatore Marino
Chief Business Officer, American Pool
Salvatore Marino is the Chief Business Officer of American Pool. American Pool is the largest commercial swimming pool management, maintenance, construction, and facility management operation in the US. Marino oversees corporate and local leadership teams, and drives the mandate of EBITDA enhancement through increased efficiency, accountability, and customer service.
Previously, Marino was a Senior Director of Business Affairs at the New Jersey Innovation Institute. Before that, he was a CFO, and Corporate Secretary at 800 JR Cigars, Inc. Earlier in his career Marino worked at Konica Minolta Headquarters North America. He has a JD from the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University and an undergraduate degree in accounting and economics from NYU Stern School of Business.
25. Michael Renna
President & CEO, South Jersey Industries
As President and Chief Executive Officer of South Jersey Industries, Mike Renna leads one of New Jersey’s most dynamic and successful energy companies. Renna joined the company in 1998. During this time, he served as the President of South Jersey Energy Solutions and South Jersey Energy, was appointed to the South Jersey Energy Solutions executive committee in 2012, and joined the Board of Directors in 2014.
Today, Renna sits on the board of trustees for The Hun School of Princeton. He’s also a steering committee member for the William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy at Stockton University and the Jefferson Health New Jersey Business Council. Notably, he participates in the University of Delaware’s Student Mentoring Program. He has a Master of Business Administration degree from Cornell University and an undergraduate degree in finance from the University of Delaware.