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George H. Becker Jr., a former CFO at Prudential and NYLCare Health Plans, will speak on “Anatomy of a Turnaround,” the first talk in the 2004-05 CIRCLE Entrepreneurship series organized by Lafayette students 7:30 p.m. today in the Oechsle Hall auditorium.

Free and open to the public, CIRCLE events are supported by the Hunsicker Fund, which promotes the study of entrepreneurship at Lafayette.

Now in its fifth year, CIRCLE is organized by economics and business major Matthew Guadagno ’05 of Short Hills, N.J.; A.B. engineering major Noah Payne’05 of Brookline, Mass.; mathematics and economics major Martin Lawlor’05 of Morristown, N.J.; and biology and economics & business double major Steve Caruso ’06 of Middletown, N.J. They are advised by Christopher Ruebeck and Sheila Handy, assistant professors of economics and business.

Becker graduated magna cum laude from the University of Notre Dame with a bachelor of science in mathematics. He continued his education at Central Missouri State University, earning a masters of science in counseling psychology while graduating summa cum laude. Following his graduate work, Becker served in the armed forces as a captain in the Engineer Corps from 1973-78. He started his professional life working for Prudential as an underwriter and eventually earned the position of director, overseeing underwriting and cost containment operations for the northeastern U.S. His career at Prudential spanned many divisions within the company, ranging from managed care systems to finance. Over his 20-year career, he held the positions of CFO, vice president of operations, president of Diversified Group Products, and senior vice president of finance.

After leaving Prudential, Becker was appointed executive vice president and chief financial officer of NYLCare Health Plans in New York. His responsibilities included financial accounting and reporting, financial planning and analysis, actuarial and underwriting, and mergers and acquisitions for a $3.2 billion health care company. He was also involved with the sale of NYLCare Health Plans to Aetna, performing due diligence and financial analysis. Once the sale of NYLCare was complete, Becker became a teacher at Delbarton School in Morristown, N.J. His responsibilities included teaching upper-level mathematics classes, tutoring, and assisting in college guidance for juniors and seniors.

More recently, Becker has been involved with the massive turnaround of PacifiCare Health Systems of Dallas, Texas. Among many responsibilities, he was in charge of operating management, strategy development, and regulatory compliance for a $1.5 billion subsidiary of PacifiCare Health Systems. He improved the operating results in Texas and Oklahoma Subsidiaries from a $100 million loss in 2001 to a profit of $65 million in 2003. He was responsible for the development of an innovative HMO benefit plan and implemented organizational restructuring to streamline decision making and reduce staff. Finally, Becker repaired a damaged relationship PacifiCare had with the Texas Department of Insurance.

He is now a teacher at his high school alma mater, Pope John XXIII High School in Sparta, N.J., and lives with his family in Morristown, N.J.

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