Six new members named to Penn State Smeal College of Business Board of Visitors

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Charles H. Whiteman, John and Karen Arnold Dean of the Penn State Smeal College of Business, has appointed six new members to the college’s Board of Visitors.

Board members offer advice to the dean and other Smeal administrators based on their professional experience and knowledge of the latest issues and trends facing the business community.

New members include:

John Geller, president and CEO for Marriott Vacations Worldwide Corp.

After graduating from Penn State with a degree in accounting in 1989, Geller began his career as a staff auditor with Arthur Andersen in Washington, D.C. In 2000, he became an audit partner within the real estate and hospitality practice.

He spent time at Ernst & Young and AutoStar Reality, a real estate investment company, before joining Marriott International in 2005 as senior vice president and chief internal audit and information security officer. He became the chief financial officer (CFO) of Marriott Vacations in 2009. Marriott Vacations was spun out of Marriott International as a separate public company in November 2011.

After close to a decade as CFO of Marriott Vacations Worldwide Corp., he became president in January 2021 and assumed his current position as president and CEO in January 2023.

Jeremi Gorman, former president of worldwide advertising at Netflix

Gorman has spent her career in digital media. She joined Netflix in 2022 after four years as Snap’s chief business officer. While at Netflix, Gorman was tasked with building on the company’s work to launch its first ad-supported service as quickly as possible. Netflix Basic With Ads launched in the U.S. and 11 other countries late last year.

She was an early employee of Amazon Advertising, where she held a variety of leadership roles before becoming the global head of enterprise advertising sales. Gorman previously held business roles at Yahoo!, Variety magazine and She serves on the board of directors for Samba TV and is a founding investor in the Los Angeles women’s professional soccer team Angel City FC.

Gorman graduated from Penn State’s Online MBA program in 2022.

Ganesh Iyer, president and CEO of Etnyre International

Iyer earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Gujarat University in India before pursuing a master’s in aerospace engineering and a master’s in mechanical engineering from Penn State. He would go on to earn a master’s in engineering management from the University of Wisconsin and a doctorate in mechanical engineering from Penn State.

He spent 20 years in progressive roles at Caterpillar, developing and growing profitable businesses across global and emerging markets, spanning general management, business strategy, manufacturing operations, supply chain, logistics, R&D, new product introduction and Six Sigma. Today, he is president and CEO of Etnyre International, a leading manufacturing business, and also serves as a director on its board.

Iyer also is a director on the board of Neuco Inc. and has previously served on the board of Rockford University and multiple regional boards in Caterpillar.

Charles Raup, president of U.S. confection at The Hershey Co.

Raup joined Hershey in 2009 after 13 years at Kraft Foods. He previously served seven years in the United States Navy as a surface warfare officer.

Raup has served in increasing roles of responsibility throughout his tenure with the company, most recently leading the turnaround of the core U.S. business. Before that, he was vice president/general manager of Hershey Mexico. In his current role, Raup leads Hershey’s flagship U.S. core confection business through holistic and integrated planning of the firm’s commercial and category-leading expertise, including through innovation and research and development, media, creative, and intelligence and analytics.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in business logistics (now supply chain and information systems) from Penn State in 1989 and has an MBA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Darrell Williams, president of Hampton University

Williams, a retired U.S. Army three-star general, took office as the 13th president of Hampton University on July 1, 2022.

After 37 years of service, Williams retired from the U.S. Army in 2020. His last leadership position was as the director of the Department of Defense’s Defense Logistics Agency where he oversaw a global workforce of more than 26,000 civilian and military professionals.

Before joining Hampton University, he served as vice president and managing director of the U.K. Ministry of Defence Logistics Commodities and Services Transformation Programme for the Fortune 250 technology company Leidos.

Williams, who graduated from Hampton University in 1983, holds three graduate school degrees: an MBA from Penn State; a master’s in military art and science from the Army Combined and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas; and a master’s in national security strategy (distinguished graduate) from the National War College, Fort McNair, Washington, D.C.

Chris Thomas, principal team leader at Chick-Fil-A Inc.

In his current role, Thomas is responsible for leading a team of technology senior specialists who help to resolve and prevent widespread technology problems that may occur in restaurants.

Previously, he was a senior lead adviser responsible for helping to select the best individuals to become operators of Chick-fil-A restaurants. Prior to Chick-fil-A, Thomas was vice president of sales for General Electric, where he spent eight years in a number of strategic marketing, sales and talent management roles.

Thomas earned a bachelor’s in management and international business from Smeal in 2003 and an MBA from Smeal in 2008.

He has served on the Smeal MBA Advisory Board and founded the Penn State African American Alumni Organizations in both Atlanta and Philadelphia. He currently serves on the Penn State Alumni Association’s Alumni Council and is a member of the boards of the Atlanta Airport CID and the Dave Krache Foundation.

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