FacultyFaculty/Author Profile

Alice M. Peterson

Corporate Director, Audit Committee Chair
Special Advisor, SAI Global
Highland Park, IL, USA

Alice Peterson is the Founder and former President of Syrus Global, a provider of risk management solutions. Key among the Syrus services was the revolutionary Listen Up™ employee reporting and risk register program, which was enabled by a proprietary software application. Launched in 2002, Syrus was acquired in 2009 by SAI Global, a public company with offices in 40 countries. 

Ms. Peterson is currently a special adviser to SAI, serves on the boards of directors of public companies and not-for-profit organizations, and is on the faculty of the National Association of Corporate Directors. During 2009-10, Ms. Peterson integrated the Syrus businesses into SAI, opening up markets in Asia, Europe and the Middle East.

Ms. Peterson held executive positions at Sears, Kraft and PepsiCo prior to founding Syrus Global.  At Sears, Roebuck and Co., she launched and ran Sears Online, where she grew e-commerce revenues from zero to $500 million between 1998 and 2000. This endeavor involved establishing new supply chain and logistics for online purchases. It also required separate client care processes, which she planned and executed.

Joining Sears as the Corporate Director of Finance in 1989, Ms. Peterson was elevated to Vice President and Treasurer of Sears in 1993 (then a $50 billion conglomerate). She was in a leadership role during the company's transformation activities from 1992 through 1998.  She was the corporate team leader on the IPO and subsequent spin-off of Dean Witter Discover, driving the required filings and overseeing all capital markets activity. She was also a key team member for the IPO and spin-off of Allstate, and worked on the business sales of Coldwell Banker and Prodigy.

Prior to joining Sears, Ms. Peterson was the Assistant Treasurer for corporate finance and treasury at Kraft (1988-1989). She was responsible for the defense plan which the company deployed when Philip Morris made its takeover offer in 1988.  Prior to joining Kraft, she held strategy, corporate finance and treasury positions at PepsiCo's headquarters in New York.
Ms. Peterson's service on public company boards of directors has spanned two decades. She currently serves on the boards of Williams Partners and RIM Finance, the US subsidiary of Research in Motion Ltd. Prior board service includes Hanesbrands, Navistar Financial Corporation, 360 Communications, and Fleming Companies.  She also currently serves on the board of trustees of the Institute for Business & Professional Ethics at DePaul University and the NACD-Chicago Chapter, and participates in a number of other civic and professional activities in her community.  She has served on the board of trustees of the Ravinia Festival, home of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, for many years.

Ms. Peterson holds a Master of Business Administration degree from Vanderbilt University's Owen Graduate School of Management, and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Louisville.  


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