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John Hall '85

Rachael Ray COO

John Hall '85

It didn’t take John Hall very long to make his mark on Wall Street after graduating from UVM in 1985 with a degree in finance. He went straight to work in the banking industry in New York, got his MBA from Columbia and became a vice president and CEO while still in his 30s. His most recent job as president and COO of Rachael Ray, Watch Entertainment, Inc. requires all of the skill sets he’s acquired over the years including some he learned at UVM.

Hall spoke to UVM Today at the 2013 UVM Family Business Awards about his UVM experience, his dream job at Rachael Ray and the challenges of working in the media entertainment industry.

UVM Today: You’ve had a really diverse career since graduating from UVM. What led you to your current position at Rachael Ray?

Hall: I think of my career as having three sections to it. The first section was in commercial banking, which was lending capital to media entertainment and technology businesses; the second was investment banking; and the third was in operations. The common element has been a brand or an audience at the core of the operating businesses that I’ve had the opportunity to run. When I was a principal at Allen & Company in New York during the second part of my career I started having a growing interest in the operating side. One of our clients was having some challenges and said, "If you want to learn how to be a CEO, come run this business, and I’ll show you you how." That was the first of three operating roles based on relationships with Allen & Company clients. I was introduced to Rachael and her husband John (Cusimano) through a partner at Allen & Company who is their financial advisor and has been a friend of mine for 20-plus years. It’s really a story about relationships and maintaining your network. If there’s anything young people today ought to understand it’s that your “network is your net worth.”

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