August 26, 2003
EDITORS: There will be a media
opportunity today (Aug. 26) at 4:30 p.m. at the Columbia Club on the
Circle in Indianapolis. There will be opportunities for one-on-one
interviews with Georgakopoulos, Green and Benjamin. A reception in
Georgakopoulos' honor will begin at 5:30 p.m. If you would prefer to
do a phone interview with her, please call Jennifer Kearns,
assistant director of ISU Public Affairs, at (812) 237-8037 or (812)
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Liz Georgakopoulos, a well-known and well-respected executive in the financial services industry, has been named executive director of NetWorks, an outreach of the Indiana State University School of Business. [See related video] [Audio] [NetWorks news site]
Georgakopoulos, who served in leadership roles with Conseco Insurance Group and the Citigroup enterprise before accepting the NetWorks position, said NetWorks is in a unique position to make a difference in the financial services industry.
"There's really a need for someone to step in as a catalyst to bring all the thinking together, to look longer term at the implications of some of the new policies, some of the new processes and so forth that are being put in to address today's issues," she said. "And we know that there are going to continue to be significant issues as technology evolves, as globalization continues to evolve, as Gramm-Leach-Bliley begins to take hold in the marketplace. There's a need for someone who has not only objectivity, which we certainly do coming from an academic perspective, but also understands the urgency and has the ability to think about what some of the longer term, more appropriate solutions might be to continue to evolve and grow this industry into the future."
NetWorks was born out of a $20 million grant -- the largest gift in Indiana State's history -- from Lilly Endowment Inc. in October. The program's goals include providing new directions in financial services for Indiana, the nation and the world.
"Liz brings some very, very robust experience precisely in the areas we know we want to develop programs around," said Indiana State University President Lloyd W. Benjamin III. "She comes well prepared and will provide excellent leadership for NetWorks. She has worked for a number of very large corporations and she has had a variety of different responsibilities. She was in a position of leadership and she had to chart new territory. She is very familiar with working locally, but thinking globally and that is what we were looking for in a NetWorks executive director."
NetWorks is designed to act as a "thought leader" for the financial services industry, explained Ronald F. Green, dean of the ISU School of Business. It has already sponsored a Financial Literacy Summit in which Indiana's K-12 teachers met to discuss ways in which to better educate students at a young age about personal financial issues such as credit card debt, savings accounts, investments and creating personal budgets.
Earlier this week, the first class of NetWorks Scholars arrived on the ISU campus for orientation activities and to receive laptop computers, one of the perks of being part of the elite group of undergraduates on campus. NetWorks Scholars will also be required to study abroad, work at least one internship and belong to business student organizations. They will also be involved in some faculty-led research, however Green said most research done by NetWorks will involve MBA students at ISU.
"The industry has been undergoing a tremendous level of change recently," Green said. "It has been an industry in turmoil because of a blending of financial services. We are so pleased to have Liz Georgakopoulos as the NetWorks executive director because she has such a wealth of experience in financial services and her vision will make her an excellent leader for meeting these challenges."
Indianapolis is an ideal location for NetWorks to be headquartered, Geogakopoulos said.
"NetWorks needs to be located in or near a major metropolitan business community," Georgakopoulos said. "Indianapolis is in some way neutral. Having spent much of my career in New York and some of the leading financial centers, being here gives you a fresh perspective. I'm looking forward very much to connecting Indianapolis and the NetWorks initiatives more closely with New York, Chicago, certainly with the Hill in Washington, as well as other leading metropolitan areas because I think we have a lot to offer in may aspects and we have a lot to learn in many ways as well."
Prior to her position with NetWorks, Georgakopoulos served as president and chairperson of the Conseco Insurance Group and its seven member companies. She created and executed a cohesive vision and strategy for the integration of Conseco's multiple insurance company acquisitions, while successfully navigating through the parent company's bankruptcy restructuring.
Prior to that, she was an executive within the Citigroup enterprise. She served as senior vice president of business planning, as well as leader of the health business lines for Travelers Insurance Companies, a wholly owned subsidiary of Citigroup. In her strategy role, following the merger of Citibank and Travelers Group, she led a team in developing an expansion strategy for the insurance companies both domestically and internationally, primarily in Japan, Europe and Mexico.
She spent five years with Boston Consulting Group, a leading international strategy consulting firm. Her areas of concentration included business development, strategy and operational effectiveness within the financial services and health care sectors. She also served as a leader with First Interstate Bancorp, playing a substantial role in developing and executing the bank's branch profitability and expansion strategy.
Just last week, it was announced that Georgakopoulos is one of five former Conseco executives who have launched their own financial services consulting firm, Tactegy Consulting Group, of which she will serve as president.
Georgakopoulos earned her Master's of Business Administration from the Harvard Business School with concentrations in finance and strategy. She earned her advanced bachelor's degree from Occidental College with honors with a major in quantitative economics and a minor in psychology.
She has served on several industry committees including the Retirement Services Board and Long-term Care and Disability Committees of American Council of Life Insurers. She is a founding member of the Executive Council for Long-term Care. She also serves on the advisory board of St. Vincent Health.
She is an invited speaker at many industry conferences and contributor to multiple industry publications. She has been a featured executive in many publications including being named a "40 Under Forty" top leader by Hartford Business Journal and "Executive to Watch in 2003" by the Indianapolis Star.
She is married to Nicholas Georgakopoulos, a law professor at the IUPUI School of Law in Indianapolis. They have two sons, Leonidas, 9, and Dimitri, 5. She enjoys a good mystery novel, gourmet cooking, contemporary art, Mozart's operas and is an avid fan of most team sports.
"It is very clear that NetWorks is to, in many ways, enliven campus and provide new opportunities on campus," Benjamin said. "It will also play a role in Terre Haute and the Wabash Valley. It will certainly play a role in Indianapolis, which has been a major banking and insurance center in the United States for years, so we're looking for opportunities for rejuvenation there. And it's clear from Liz's work that she would be as comfortable working in Washington as she would be in Japan, and that is the type of expertise we need in this position."