Key Executives is pleased to announce the Top 25 CEOs of New Jersey for 2024. Once known as the “Pathway of Revolution” during the American Revolution, New Jersey has often been associated with innovation and ingenuity. Home to more than 20 Fortune 500 companies, spanning sectors from pharmaceuticals to technology, New Jersey's economic landscape proves to be as diverse as it is dynamic. Each of these awardees contributes to New Jersey’s economic success and is among the best and brightest in the state. Together, these 25 CEOs represent over 20 unique industries, from biotechnology to wealth management and beyond, while averaging over two decades of experience each.

Among this year's awardees are David Hopkins of the FNZ Group, Jeff Forringer of Cowen, and Jeffrey Bershad of Phillip Jeffries. David Hopkins is a former Wells Fargo CFO and COO with nearly 40 years of experience in the world of business. Jeff Forringer has nearly two decades of experience in executive management positions, including former CEO experience at IntrinsiQ. Jeffrey Bershad has scaled his family business to an international brand, managing a nearly 50-year-old family legacy.

Our awardees were selected through a methodical process, examining each nominee's career track record, demonstrated leadership success, and professional accomplishments. Please join us in recognizing the Top 25 CEOs of New Jersey for 2024.


1. Mark Thomas
Chief Executive Officer, GSH Group

Mark Thomas is the CEO of GSH Group. He first joined the company in 2003 as managing director. GSH Group is a premier provider of global integrated facilities management and building engineering services. With over 125 years of experience, GSH delivers value with its unique combination of strong culture built on family values, unparalleled depth in engineering and technical services, and service delivery teams committed to service excellence. GSH delivers total integrated facilities management at a global level. GSH specializes in complex facilities and actively supports aviation, transportation, life sciences, healthcare, data centers, higher education, and government and commercial real estate environments.

Under Thomas's leadership, GSH Group has seen substantial growth and development across three continents. Before relocating to New York, Thomas made significant contributions as the director of operations in London and later as the managing director for all UK regions.

His extensive experience in the industry is further exemplified by his previous roles, including sector operations director at Amey, and operations manager at Citex in Hong Kong. Thomas has an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering from Houslow Borough College.


2. David Hopkins
Chief Executive Officer, FNZ Group

David Hopkins is the Chief Executive Officer of FNZ Group. FNZ is a global leader in wealth management platform technology, administering over US$1.5 trillion in client assets and partnering with over 650 of the world’s leading financial institutions and more than 12,000 wealth management firms. Hopkins has an impressive track record at FNZ, developed throughout a career in senior leadership roles in major financial services organizations. With extensive expertise in leading and overseeing the operations of custody, clearing, and settlement businesses, he has in-depth knowledge of regulatory compliance for broker-dealers, including FINRA, the SEC, and other relevant regulatory bodies.

Prior to joining FNZ, Hopkins spent 11 years at BNY Mellon / Pershing serving as Chief Financial Officer and Head of Institutional Solutions. Before that he held various roles at Wells Fargo Advisors and its predecessor Wachovia Securities, including CFO and COO of the Financial Services Group. He was also CFO at GE Capital in Poland. Hopkins started his career in auditing at Price Waterhouse and Ernst & Whinney. Hopkins graduated from the University of Florida with an MA in political science and an undergraduate degree in accounting.


3. Craig Allen
Chief Executive Officer, BioReference Laboratories

Craig Allen is the CEO of BioReference Laboratories. BioReference Health LLC, an OPKO Health, empowers confident healthcare decisions by prioritizing service, creating innovative solutions, and offering scientific expertise in oncology, urology, and women’s health. Headquartered in Elmwood Park, New Jersey, BioReference operates 10 laboratory facilities around the country, is in-network with the largest health plans in the United States and processes more than 12 million tests annually. Allen leads all key operational aspects of the company, including logistics, phlebotomy, customer service, operations excellence, facilities, procurement, and lab network operations. Allen is passionate about driving continuous improvement in daily operations and helping BioReference make sound business decisions.

Allen has more than 25 years of experience in operations and process excellence across manufacturing, distribution, and healthcare industries. Prior to joining BioReference in 2018, Allen held various leadership roles at Quest Diagnostics and General Electric. He has an exemplary record of building and developing high-performing teams that consistently surpass business goals and generate profitable growth in operations, supply chain, manufacturing and sales environments. Allen’s teams deliver multi-million dollar productivity savings through waste elimination, process re-design and staffing optimization. He is highly skilled in operating a business by turning data analytics into practical business information, utilizing review mechanisms and creating a performance culture to deliver results. Allen is a certified Six Sigma master black belt. He received his MBA at SUNY-Albany and holds a BS in engineering from Clemson University.


4. Raj Patil
Chief Executive Officer, Orion Innovation

Raj Patil is the CEO of Orion Innovation. Orion Innovation is a leader in digital transformation and product development services. With a focus on engineering and design thinking, Orion’s team of over 6,400 associates offers a unique blend of agility, scale, and maturity. He is responsible for managing Orion’s growth as a leading provider of information technology and outsourcing services.

With over 22 years experience, Patil is a seasoned executive who has successfully led the growth and development of both significantly larger IT services companies, as well as start-up ventures. Prior to joining Orion, Patil was the president and COO of LiquidHub, an IT consulting and services company where he led the business units and global operations. In previous roles, 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 has also spent over seven years with MphasiS, an HP company, playing several key roles in its growth to over a billion dollars in revenue. Patil received an MBA from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, an MS in computer science from Villanova University, Pennsylvania and a BS in computer science from Mysore University, India.


5. Frank Probst
Chief Executive Officer, Construction Specialties

Frank Probst is the CEO of Construction Specialties (CS). Founded in 1948, CS is a family-owned building products manufacturer that provides solutions to challenges that architects, designers, contractors, building owners, and facility managers face every day. Since inventing the first extruded louver, CS has become a global leader in Acrovyn interior wall protection, impact-resistant doors and frames, entrance flooring including GridLine, expansion joint covers, architectural louvers and grilles, sun controls, explosion and pressure relief vents, as well as cubicle curtains and tracks. Probst has 34 years of experience. He began his career in 1990.

Before joining CS, Probst was a CFO at Component Hardware Group and before that a CFO at Mini-Circuits. Earlier in his career he worked with Deloitte as a senior manager. Probst has an undergraduate degree in accounting from East Carolina University and is the recipient of three business school scholarships.


6. Rob Keen
Chief Executive Officer, Norwex

Rob Keen is the CEO of Norwex, a cleaning product manufacturer aiming to improve quality of life by radically reducing the chemicals and plastics in our homes and on our bodies. In addition, Norwex products make cleaning faster and more cost-effective than traditional cleaning products.

Keen first got his start in 1999 as an assistant brand manager at SC Johnson. From there, he went on to Alberto Culver, before eventually rising to CEO and general manager at Weleda, a leading manufacturer of certified natural and organic cosmetics. Keen also serves on the board of the Foundation of Living Beauty, an organization that empowers women to improve their well-being and emotional stability during cancer treatment. He graduated with an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.


7. Patrick Walsh
Managing Partner and Chief Executive Officer, Withum

Patrick Walsh sits as Withum’s managing partner and CEO, leading one of the country’s top 25 advisory, accounting and tax firms. Walsh is committed to leading an inclusive and diverse place of work as seen in his CEO statement on inclusion and diversity, which reinforces Withum’s people-first, values-driven culture. Before assuming this position, Walsh served on the firm’s management committee for six years, leading strategic initiatives for the company. He has spearheaded multiple strategic initiatives across the firm, focusing on best practices, client experience, and technology. For five years, he directed the national tax practice strategy and managed the corporate tax services practice.

Walsh plays a pivotal role as the executive sponsor in Withum's international expansion efforts, particularly in the establishment and development of their office in India. He is deeply engaged in the firm's collaboration with HLB International, a worldwide network of independent advisory and accounting firms. As an accomplished tax executive and corporate tax specialist, Walsh offers expert advice to clients across a variety of industries, leveraging his experience as a senior in-house tax executive. His expertise encompasses all facets of corporate taxation, providing global organizations with strategic tax planning and structuring guidance. Walsh holds an MBA from NYU Stern School of Business and is a licensed, certified public accountant with over 30 years of professional experience. He received an undergraduate degree from Seton Hall University.


8. Karthik Krishnamurthy
Chief Executive Officer, Ascendion

Karthik Krishnamurthy is the CEO of Ascendion. Ascendion, headquartered in New Jersey, is a leading provider of AI-first software engineering services. Their applied AI, software engineering, cloud, data, experience design, and talent transformation capabilities accelerate innovation for Global 2000 clients. In addition to their remote/hybrid workforce, they have 30 offices across the US, India, and Mexico. They are committed to building technology powered by generative AI with an inclusive workforce, service to their communities, and a vibrant culture.

With over 20 years in various leadership roles, Krishnamurthy has consistently driven innovation and delivered exceptional results. Before joining Ascendion, Krishnamurthy was an SVP and global head of markets at Cognizant. He graduated from the Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow with an MBA in strategy, marketing and systems and from Sri Venkateswara College of Engineering with an undergraduate degree in electrical and electronics engineering.


9. Eric Updyke
Chief Executive Officer, Spirent Communications

Eric Updyke is CEO of Spirent Communications, a leading global provider of automated test and assurance solutions for networks, cybersecurity, and positioning. In his 30+ years in the communications industry, Updyke has led transformative growth programs on a global scale. As CEO, Updyke is focused on driving sustainable, profitable growth as he works to make Spirent the leader and trusted partner for innovative technology test and assurance solutions.

Prior to joining Spirent in April 2019, Updyke was on the executive management team of Amdocs. In his capacity as group president of global services at Amdocs, he was responsible for the entire managed services, testing and SI businesses, comprising 10,000 employees and roughly $2 billion in revenue. Before that he was division president for North America at Amdocs, where he managed a $1 billion P&L and was responsible for the relationship with North American communications service providers. Prior to joining Amdocs, Updyke held executive roles at Nokia Siemens Networks and AT&T. He has an MBA in finance and a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from Cornell University. He also serves on the Board of Directors at Symend.


10. Jeff Forringer
Chief Executive Officer, Cowen

Jeff Forringer is the CEO of Kyber Data Science at Cowen. Cowen is a diversified financial services firm that provides investment banking, research, sales and trading, prime brokerage, outsourced trading, global clearing, and commission management services. It also has an investment management division. Founded in 1918, Cowen is headquartered in New York and has offices worldwide.

Forringer was most recently at Decision Resources Group (DRG), a health care and life sciences data analytics and market research provider. At DRG, he served as senior vice president of real-world data commercialization, and later as executive vice president of market access. Prior to DRG, Forringer served as COO of the Living Voice product at Vital Decisions. He also spent 11 years at IntrinsiQ, a provider of informatics solutions focused on helping community oncologists make better treatment decisions for their patients. At IntrinsiQ, Forringer was general manager of the pharma data division, and later the company’s president and CEO. IntrinsiQ was ultimately sold to AmerisourceBergen Corporation. Forringer holds an undergraduate degree in history from SUNY Buffalo.


11. Alice Taipina
Chief Executive Officer of Patient Care Associates, SCA Health

Alice Taipina is the Chief Executive Officer of Patient Care Associates at SCA Health. Patient Care Associates is a facility offering multi-specialty surgical excellence in a safe, professional and accommodating setting. PCA physicians have access to the latest in medical equipment and technology, ensuring the best possible outcome for every patient.

Before joining SCA Health, Taipina was an SVP of operations at Ammon Labs and before that a COO at Mender Medical. Earlier in her career she worked with St. Barnabas Medical Center as a director. Taipina graduated from Seton Hall University with an undergraduate degree in nursing.


12. Peter Ronco
Chief Executive Officer, Emmes

Peter Ronco is the CEO of the Emmes Group, a group dedicated to advancing public health and biopharmaceutical innovation throughout the world. Their legacy CRO business Emmes, founded in 1977, provides clinical services tailored to meet the needs of its public and private sector partners. Their Veridix AI business is focused on delivering innovative technology solutions to create the clinical trial infrastructure of the 21st century.

Ronco first got his start in 2004 as an SVP of global clinical operations at Bristol-Myers Squibb. From there, he went on to Johnson & Johnson, before eventually rising as an independent biopharma executive, his most recent position prior to joining Emmes. He possesses extensive global experience in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries, with a broad range of therapeutic area expertise including oncology, immunology, neuroscience, vaccines, anti-infectives, cardiovascular, and retinal gene therapy. Ronco has an undergraduate degree in geography and applied economics from the University of Nottingham.


13. Bala Shan
President and Chief Executive Officer, Lorven

Bala Shan is the president and CEO of Lorven. Lorven Technologies, Inc. is a highly recognized provider of professional technology consultancy in the US. They provide high-quality and cost-effective strategic solutions to their clients, supported by superior staffing and training services. Lorven is committed to building long-term relationships with its clients through quality service and concrete results, enabling its clients to achieve greater results.

With over 30 years of industry experience since starting his career in 1994, Shan has played a pivotal role in driving Lorven's strategic vision, growth, and operational excellence. He has a proven track record of expanding services, securing significant contracts with Fortune 500 companies, and fostering a skilled team dedicated to excellence, integrity, and customer satisfaction. Before Lorven, Shan held roles as a staff manager at Paragon and a software engineer at both Mastech, Inc., and CSC, where he honed his expertise in software development, project management, and client relations. Shan is a graduate of the University of Madras.


14. Elena Skvortsova
President and Chief Executive Officer, Messer Americas

Elena Skvortsova is the president and CEO of Messer Americas. Messer is the largest privately held industrial gas business in the world and a leading industrial and medical gas company in North and South America. The company delivers quality gasses, related services and technology via an extensive production and distribution network. Health and safety, sustainability practices and environmental protection are core Messer values that are embedded in the company’s daily operations.

Before joining Messer Americas in 2023, Skvortsova held various leadership roles across the energy and industrial gases sectors. She was an executive officer at OMV and before that a president at Linde. Earlier in her career she worked with Bayer as a senior marketing manager. Skvortsova earned an MBA from Thunderbird School of Global Management and an undergraduate degree in foreign languages, interpretation, and translation from Moscow State Linguistic University.


15. Jeffrey Bershad
Chief Executive Officer, Phillip Jeffries

As CEO of Phillip Jeffries, Jeffrey Bershad aspires to be more than a business builder. This is why he invests his time equally as a strategist, a problem solver and a developer of leaders. He manages the business operations of the luxury wallcovering company, overseeing design, finance, talent, operations, and supply chain. Over the past 45 years the company, founded by his father in 1976 with a vision and ten grasscloths, has evolved into a premier entity in the global design industry, boasting operations in New Jersey, London, Paris, and Singapore, alongside a worldwide sales team. Now under the leadership of Bershad and his brother, Philip, the company continues to thrive as a family-owned-and-operated business.

Bershad is dedicated to fostering an unparalleled company culture within the design industry, marked by vitality and engagement. Phillip Jeffries is committed not only to growth and employee well-being but also to social responsibility. The company's initiatives include planting a tree for every order (resulting in over 350,000 trees planted) operating on 100% wind power, and encouraging community volunteerism among employees. Known for his entrepreneurial spirit, Bershad actively shares insights and experiences with fellow entrepreneurs, guiding them toward success.

Bershad has shared his expertise as a guest lecturer at notable platforms including Rutgers Business School, the Business of Home podcast and Hearst Media. His prior experience includes solving supply chain challenges for major firms like GE, FedEx, and Best Buy as a consultant with Ernst & Young Consulting. He graduated from Duke University and is a member of the Young Presidents’ Organization, Design Leadership Network, and The Makers Alliance. Previous memberships include Vistage Worldwide and the Leaders of Design Council.


16. Sanjeev Rastogi
Chief Executive Officer, Arxada

Sanjeev Rastogi serves as the CEO of Arxada, a global science-based specialty chemicals company known for its innovative chemistry and solutions. Arxada is dedicated to serving multiple end markets, with a primary focus on human health & nutrition, home & personal care, paints & coatings, and wood protection. The company offers a diverse portfolio of differentiated products and solutions, underpinned by its robust capabilities in science and innovation, comprehensive regulatory knowledge, and a proven track record in manufacturing and process development.

With a career spanning 30 years in the industry, Rastogi has demonstrated a consistent ability to drive profitability and growth in businesses through strategic thinking, marketing excellence, and operational expertise. He is recognized for his skill in assembling and leading high-caliber teams that execute effectively, fostering the development of sustainable product portfolios.

Before joining Arxada, Rastogi was an SVP at Hexion Inc. and before that a VP and general manager at Honeywell. Earlier in his career he worked with Union Carbide as a senior scientist. Rastogi graduated from the University of Delaware with a PhD in chemical engineering and from the University of Mumbai with an undergraduate degree in chemical engineering.


17. Tom Sullivan
Chief Executive Officer, Natus Medical

Tom Sullivan is the president and CEO of Natus, a healthcare and diagnostic company focused on diagnosing and treating disorders related to the brain, neural pathways, and the eight sensory nervous systems.

Before his tenure at Natus, Sullivan held several leadership positions, including president and CEO of Spectrum Plastics Group and president and CEO of A&E Medical Corporation. He was also CEO of Symmetry Surgical, Inc., a medical device company serving the neuro and general surgery markets, and its predecessor, Symmetry Medical, Inc., a leading global contract manufacturer of surgical instruments, sterilization cases and trays, and orthopedic implants. Additionally, he served as president of supply chain & business processes at Johnson & Johnson Health Care Systems Inc., among other roles.

Sullivan graduated as a Palmer Scholar from The Wharton School in 1991 where he earned an MBA in strategic management and management information systems. He also holds a bachelor of science degree in computer science and applied mathematics from the University of Pittsburgh.


19. Joanne Carrocino
President and Chief Executive Officer, Cape Regional Health System

Joanne Carrocino began her professional career 37 years ago. Today, she is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Cape Regional Health System, an integrated healthcare delivery system serving residents and visitors throughout Cape May County. The system includes Cape Regional Medical Center, three urgent care facilities, Cape Regional Physicians Associates with over 60 primary care providers and specialists delivering services in multiple locations throughout Cape May County, the Thomas and Claire Brodesser, Jr., Cancer Center, the Claire C. Brodesser Surgery Center, the Jane Osborne Center, Cape Regional Miracles Fitness and numerous freestanding outpatient facilities providing wound care, radiology, lab, endoscopy and physical therapy services.

Carrocino first got her start in 1987 as a VP at Jersey Shore Medical Center. From there, she went on to Inova Health System, before eventually rising to executive director at Barnabas Health, her most recent position prior to joining Cape Regional Health System. Carrocino graduated from Temple University with an MBA in healthcare administration and management and from Rowan University with an undergraduate degree in business administration and management.


20. Matthew Merrilees
Chief Executive Officer, North America, Global-e

Matthew Merrilees is the CEO of Global-e, a platform that drives e-commerce growth in the direct-to-consumer market. The chosen partner of hundreds of retailers and brands across the United States, Europe and Asia, Global-e makes selling internationally as simple as selling domestically. The company’s end-to-end e-commerce solutions combine best-in-class localization capabilities, big-data best-practice business intelligence models, streamlined international logistics and vast cross-border experience. This enables online retailers to sell to and from anywhere in the world and seamlessly expand their brand worldwide.

With 19 years of professional experience, Merrilees has a background in international logistics and e-commerce, having held pivotal roles at major global logistics companies. He served as the global managing director of sales at FedEx Cross Border and spent a decade at DHL Express US, where he progressed from field sales to leading the national account segment in the Northeast US. He earned a bachelor's degree in business administration and management with a focus on business management from Fairfield University.


21. Pete Anevski
Chief Executive Officer, Progyny

Pete Anevski began his professional career 32 years ago. Today he is the CEO of Progyny, a transformative fertility, family-building, and women's health benefits solution, trusted by the nation's leading employers, health plans and benefit purchasers. They envision a world where everyone can realize their dreams of family and ideal health. Their outcomes prove that comprehensive, inclusive and intentionally designed solutions simultaneously benefit employers, patients and physicians.

Anevski first got his start in 1992 as a public auditor at Wiss and Company, LLP. From there, he went on to Toys “R” Us, before eventually rising to executive vice president and chief financial officer at WebMD, his most recent position prior to joining Progyny. Anevski has an undergraduate degree in accounting, finance and quantitative methods from Montclair State University.


22. Dean Janeway
Chief Executive Officer, Key Food Stores

Dean Janeway is the CEO of Key Food Stores. In 1937, a few grocery store owners came together with the idea to use their combined size and strength to provide customers with the products they wanted at the low prices they needed. On April 20, 1937, Key Food Stores Co-operative, Inc. was formed and has since grown to over 265 supermarkets spanning all five boroughs, Long Island, upstate New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania with over $2.7 billion in annual sales.

His career began in 1991 at Campbell Soup Company in Camden, New Jersey, where he embarked on a successful 10-year journey, covering marketing, sales, and customer relations as a territory manager for soup, grocery, and frozen brands. Janeway then furthered his expertise at the Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company, ultimately serving as vice president of sales and excelling in various positions within the global confectionery leader. Janeway holds an undergraduate degree in marketing from Bentley University.


23. Rashaad Bajwa
Chief Executive Officer, Integris

Rashaad Bajwa has served as CEO of Integris, one of the largest managed IT service providers in the United States, since it was founded in 2021. The company brings together some of the best managed IT service providers in a strong, national network. Bajwa first joined the company in 1997. As CEO he plays a pivotal role in shaping the corporate vision, driving merger and acquisition strategies, enhancing vendor relationships, understanding client needs, and positioning himself as a spokesperson and industry thought leader. Bajwa is an active participant in cybersecurity trade and professional groups, including the Forbes Technology Council, and is a recognized subject matter expert for organizations such as ISC2, NJBIA, and NJBA, among others.

Prior to Integris, he held roles at Novo Nordisk Pharmaceuticals and American Cyanamid Corporation, which sold to American Home Products and later became part of Pfizer/Wyeth. Bajwa earned his undergraduate degree in political science and philosophy from Rutgers University.


24. Jay Margolis
Chief Executive Officer, Spins

Jay Margolis is the CEO of Spins, a company dedicated to enhancing the value of information in the natural products industry. Through the provision of insights, information, and a unified language, Spins aims to facilitate a deeper understanding of consumer behavior, retail trends, and overall market dynamics within the industry.

With over 25 years in the information and data analytics sector, Margolis brings a wealth of experience to his role at Spins. His expertise includes scaling complex business operations and driving strategic growth and innovation. Margolis is deeply committed to the natural products industry, motivated by a personal dedication to promoting health, well-being, and sustainable consumption among individuals, communities, and the environment.

Prior to his current position, Margolis held significant roles in the industry, including senior vice president and general manager at IQVIA, and senior principal in consulting and services at IMS Health. His early career included a consultancy position at Braun Consulting. He holds an MS in management and an undergraduate degree in operations management and information systems from Boston University and its Questrom School of Business, respectively.


25. Anil Prahlad
Chief Executive Officer, BWG Strategy

Anil Prahlad serves as the CEO of BWG Strategy, having joined the company in 2022. BWG Strategy specializes in facilitating executive forums that bring together suppliers, customers, distributors, competitors, and other vital participants from various industries. These forums provide subscribers within the investment community with exclusive access to critical discussions and insights. By providing these insights, BWG offers a direct and efficient means to enhance their fundamental research with in-depth contextual analysis.

Previously, Prahlad was a chief content officer at Hanover Research and before that a chief content officer at RainKing. Earlier in his career he worked with Epstein Architecture, Engineering, and Construction as a project manager. Prahlad earned a master’s in management, operations, strategy, finance, and marketing from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, as well as a master’s in civil engineering from The University of Alabama. He also has an undergraduate degree in civil engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee.