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Our Leadership: Profiles

James A. Guest

Mr. Guest became president and chief executive officer of Consumer Reports in February 2001 after a long career in public service and the consumer interest, including 21 years as Chair of its Board of Directors.

Founded in 1936, Consumer Reports is the world's premier consumer testing, research, publishing, and advocacy organization with annual revenue of more than $240 million and more than eight million subscribers to its products and services. ConsumerReports.org is the largest subscription-based publication website, Consumer Reports is one of the top-circulation magazines in the U.S., and the organization's advocacy arm, Consumers Union, has close to one million online activists who advance its role as a national powerhouse in promoting pro-consumer policies and market reform at both the federal and the state levels. Consumer Reports' expert technical staff tests more than 3,000 products a year in its 50 labs and at its 327-acre Auto Test Center, producing the unbiased ratings and evaluations for which the non-profit organization is known.

During his tenure, Mr. Guest has transformed Consumer Reports into a multimedia publisher with a wide variety of digital offerings, including Consumer Reports Mobile, the Consumer Reports Mobile Shopper, which allows consumers to scan a bar code to get information at the point of sale, and versions of the magazine and its content for e-readers and tablets. Under his leadership, the organization has also launched several new initiatives including ShopSmart, a shopping magazine targeted at women; the Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center, which develops ratings for services like doctors, hospitals, and drugs; and a grassroots capability that has mobilized hundreds of thousands of concerned citizens to help pass landmark health and safety laws. In 2009, Mr. Guest oversaw Consumer Reports' acquisition of The Consumerist, an edgy consumer-empowerment and social media site with approximately three million visitors.

Mr. Guest has helped Consumer Reports achieve its success while being a vigilant steward of its core values and principles, including the refusal to accept advertising or free samples of any kind. All the products tested by Consumer Reports are paid for by the organization, and most are purchased anonymously at retail by a team of mystery shoppers.

He has also been a strong leader in the international consumer movement, currently serving as the President (Board Chair) of Consumers International, the global federation of more than 220 organizations from 115 countries that serves as the independent and authoritative global voice for consumers. CI's mission is to build a powerful international movement to help protect and empower consumers everywhere.

Mr. Guest's public service career has spanned more than four decades. After graduating from Harvard Law School and completing a Woodrow Wilson fellowship in economics at MIT, he worked as legislative assistant to Senator Ted Kennedy. In the early 1970s, Mr. Guest moved to Vermont where he served as Banking and Insurance Commissioner, Secretary of State, and Secretary of Development and Community Affairs.

Over the last 20 years, he has headed several public policy and advocacy groups including Handgun Control Inc. and the Center to Prevent Handgun Violence, as well as Planned Parenthood of Maryland. He was also the founding Executive Director of the American Pain Foundation, a national consumer information, education, and advocacy organization for pain prevention and management.

Mr. Guest credits his first job for introducing him to one of his biggest influences in consumer advocacy. He worked as the paperboy for Dr. Colston Warne--one of the founders of Consumer Reports and Consumers International and a pioneering leader in the national and international consumer movements.

Richard B. Gannon

Richard Gannon is responsible for overseeing the organization's financial, procurement, risk management activities, and respective operations including accounting, investment management, business planning and analysis, treasury, financial systems, facilities, and purchasing.

Before joining Consumer Reports in 2003, Mr. Gannon worked for Gartner Inc., a leading global IT research and advisory firm in Stamford, Conn. As senior vice president and chief operating officer of Research and Advisory Services, he was responsible for overseeing operational and financial initiatives of diverse business units. He was also responsible for forecasting activities, project management, strategy development and managing cross-business initiatives.

Prior to his role as SVP/COO at Gartner, Mr. Gannon served as senior vice president and chief financial officer, North America. In that role, he was responsible for managing all corporate and North American financial operations including business planning and analysis, budgeting, accounting, client financial services, management and SEC reporting, tax, treasury, and financial systems.

Before joining Gartner in 1996, Mr. Gannon spent twelve years in public accounting, the last eight with Price Waterhouse LLP in the New York-metro region.

Mr. Gannon is a CPA and a graduate of the University of Connecticut, located in Storrs, where he earned his B.S. degree in Accounting.

Rahul Belani

Vice President, Chief Information Officer

In his role as Vice President and Chief Information Officer at Consumer Reports, Rahul Belani has both strategic and operational responsibility of the technology function. Mr. Belani has transformed IT into a strategic business partner by developing a technology strategy to assess and uncover opportunities for improvement in the current IT platform and architecture, identifying relevant new technologies, and determining applicability to the organization’s long-term needs.

His key areas of responsibility include:

  • Digital media technologies (real-time dynamic digital publishing platforms, web development/engineering, mobile, tablets, etc.), back-end content management systems, data visualization, content and web service APIs, SEO, search, subscription service and eCommerce, web analytics, and advertising servers.
  • IT infrastructure and operations (network and desktop services), disaster recovery, business continuity, risk management, network and system administration, infrastructure hosting, ITIL implementation, virtualization and cloud computing.
  • IT security including policies and standards, PCI compliance.
  • Project Management, outsourcing/offshore vendor management.
  • Quality assurance.

Mr. Belani joined Consumer Reports in 2006, bringing with him a strong background in the transformation of information/content from traditional hard copy to electronic information. Prior to joining CR, Mr. Belani was a member of the Executive Board of Jane’s Information Group (a high-end information source in the world of defense, geopolitics, transport, and police based in the U.K.). As Sr. VP and Chief Technology Officer at Jane’s, Mr. Belani headed all aspects of technology including Infrastructure Operations (networks and desktops), web and e-Commerce Development, content management systems (CMS), business information systems, electronic product development, and electronic publishing. In addition, he designed, developed, and managed the implementation of several new initiatives and integrated them with existing processes. Working in collaboration with his colleagues, Mr. Belani creatively used technology and designed several successful process improvements that resulted in streamlined work systems and procedures.

Mr. Belani’s personal mission has been to continuously find new technologies and creatively use them to help businesses transform themselves. Translating these complex technical programs into simple non-technical solutions is one of his strengths and passions.

Mr. Belani has a Master's degree in Computer Science, Software and Systems from the George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics and Statistics from the M.G. Science Institute in India. In addition, he has participated in the Information Technology Leadership Program for Executive Development at Santa Clara University in San Jose, Calif. and the Thomson Executive Leadership Development Program, at Thomson University.

Joanne Boyd

Vice President, Corporate Finance and Business Analytics JoAnne Boyd is responsible for expanding business analytics and data-driven decision-making to help in business and budgetary decisions for all of Consumer Reports’ products and services as well as support improvement in organizational accountability and oversight. Ms. Boyd joined Consumer Reports in 2003 to head up the newly created Business Planning and Analysis Department with the mandate to bring increased rigor and centralized tracking of Consumer Reports’ performance goals and objectives, providing financial and operational decision making advice and support, and overseeing the business plans for all new products and services. Before joining Consumer Reports, Ms. Boyd spent 21 years working at Reader’s Digest in various positions including accounting, marketing, and finance. Her last position at Reader’s Digest was Director of Finance, Books & Home Entertainment. Ms. Boyd graduated from Iona College with a BBA in Accounting and earned a Masters in Finance from Pace University.

Carolyn Clifford-Ferrara

Vice President, Operations

Carolyn Clifford-Ferrara oversees the Operations division which manages day-to-day operational and production work in support of Consumer Reports’ products, programs, and services, and provides support and improvement services to other Consumer Reports divisions in disciplines such as continuous improvement, quality, and statistics.

An electrical engineer by training, Ms. Clifford-Ferrara has been at Consumer Reports for 20 years, beginning in the electronics department testing audio and computer products. She was promoted over the years to manage various departments in the Technical Division, and then to a senior director position where she managed content quality and planning. During her tenure at Consumer Reports, she has led the way in the development of processes and tools to bring more high quality content on a greater number of products more quickly to consumers that appear on ConsumerReports.org. Ms. Clifford-Ferrara oversaw the Technical Division’s testing and content collaboration with Consumer Reports’ overseas partners in the International Consumer Research and Testing organization. She has led CR’s recent explorations into launching products in China and Latin America.

Ms. Clifford-Ferrara received her Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Polytechnic University in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Michael D'Alessandro

Vice President, Executive Operations & Chief of Staff

Michael D'Alessandro serves as the President’s primary day-to-day liaison with the senior management team and the Board of Directors and works to coordinate his external and internal activities. He also is responsible for three key service divisions within the organizationExecutive Office, Legal, and Human Resources.

Before being promoted into this position, Mr. D'Alessandro served as Vice President, Information Technology for seven years. During his tenure, the organization successfully upgraded its network infrastructure to accommodate the growth of ConsumerReports.org. Previously, Mr. D'Alessandro had been Consumer Reports’ Director of Customer Relations since 1994, when he first joined the organization. During that time, he improved and modernized Customer Relations by using innovative technology to better target the needs of Consumer Reports subscribers. In 2010, Customer Relations handled more than 850,000 inquiries. Mr. D’Alessandro is a member of the Board of Directors for the Society of Consumer Affairs Professionals (SOCAP) International, whose mission is to develop experts who add business value through customer engagement.

Before joining Consumer Reports in 1994, Mr. D'Alessandro worked for Xerox Corporation. While at Xerox, he established and managed the Customer Service Operations for the New York tristate area—a model operation that was later implemented throughout the corporation. He also held the position of Financial Controller for Xerox's Northeast Customer Administration Center.

Mr. D’Alessandro received his Bachelors in Marketing from Iona College in New Rochelle, N.Y.

Heather Dennis

Vice President, Development

Heather Dennis heads up all aspects of Consumer Reports’ direct mail, online, telemarketing, grants, planned giving and major donor operations. In addition, she supervises the direct mail fundraising team, as well as the development team.

Before joining Consumer Reports, Ms. Dennis served as vice president for development at Keep America Beautiful, where she secured more than $2 million in gifts to set up their first-ever endowment fund and a total of $9 million overall. She also served as director of development and public relations for the American Red Cross in Greenwich, Connecticut; as the chief development officer for the New York State Historical Association; and as the director of alumni relations and annual giving at Iona College.

Ms. Dennis is a graduate of Hartwick College.

Brent Diamond

Vice President and General Manager, Magazine and Newsletter Products

Brent Diamond oversees Consumer Reports’ editorial products. During his tenure he’s shepherded an ambitious redesign of ShopSmart, which will serve to improve perceptions of the ShopSmart and CR brand, increase newsstand sales, and gain higher retention of subscribers.

Mr. Diamond joined Consumer Reports in October 2012. He has an extensive background in consumer-enthusiast media and was previously involved in running many iconic brands such as Powder Magazine, Surfer Magazine, The Sporting News, the Daily Racing Form, and many others. He has worked with well-known media/publishing organizations such as Primedia, Times Mirror, and Beckett Media (the bible of sports trading cards). In addition, he has worked on a gamut of magazine publishing challenges and opportunities, ranging from turnarounds of mature products to launching successful new magazines, and including both print and digital formats.

Mr. Diamond holds a B.A. in Communications from Brigham Young University.

Eileen B. Hershenov

Eileen Hershenov heads the organization's legal department, providing legal advice and representation on a wide range of issues, ranging from not-for-profit law compliance to managing litigation. She also oversees the work of outside counsel.

Before joining Consumer Reports in 2005, Ms. Hershenov spent eleven years with the Open Society Institute (OSI) network, the international group of private foundations created and funded by financier and philanthropist George Soros. For most of that time she served as the network's General Counsel, heading an in-house legal department, and advising affiliated foundations and programs in nearly 50 countries worldwide. She also served as the General Counsel to the Central European University, a New York State-accredited graduate university with a principal campus in Budapest, Hungary, and as counsel to the Baltic-American Partnership Fund, a grant-making partnership between the U.S. Government and OSI.

From 1992 to 1994, Ms. Hershenov was a litigation associate with the law firm of Morrison & Foerster in New York, focusing on intellectual property and antitrust litigation, as well as on pro bono litigation for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the National Organization of Women (NOW) Legal Defense Fund and individual plaintiffs in employment discrimination cases. Prior to that, she served as a Karpatkin Fellow with the ACLU after completing a year as a law clerk to U.S. District Court Judge Jack B. Weinstein.

Before law school, she worked as an organizer and advocate for the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG), where she led a statewide campaign to change the New York State statute of limitations law so that victims of toxic substances such as asbestos or the drug DES could sue manufacturers in instances where injury manifested many years after the last exposure.

A member of the New York State Bar, she is a graduate of Yale College and Yale Law School. She is the author of "The Effect of Equity on Mass Tort Law" (1991, with Judge Jack B. Weinstein) and "Hostage to the Drug War: The National Purse, the Constitution and the Black Community" (1991, with John A. Powell). She lives in Westchester County with her husband, a writer, and two children.

Liam McCormack

Liam McCormack is responsible for all consumer-product testing at Consumer Reports, overseeing the staff and operations in more than 50 specialized labs at Consumer Reports’ National Testing and Research Center in Yonkers, NY. He also oversees operations at Consumer Reports’ 327-acre Auto Test Center in East Haddam, Connecticut, the largest independent consumer-automobile-testing center in the world.

Mr. McCormack previously spent an 18-year tenure at Which?, where he was the organization’s Head of Research. Which? is the United Kingdom’s pre-eminent product testing, research, and consumer advocacy organization that, like CR, produces a monthly magazine, website and other publications, and advocates on consumer policy issues.

As Head of Research at Which?, Mr. McCormack oversaw the development of technical and research content for Which? magazine, its website, and other Which? information products. He worked closely with laboratory staff to develop and refine test processes and methodologies and was responsible for the accuracy and integrity of the results.

Early in his career, Mr. McCormack specialized in topics including car safety and security. He conducted undercover investigations of the service standards at garages and tire repair shops. As a researcher, he conducted one of the UK's first tests of the standard of advice given by lawyers on consumer issues, concluding that only a small fraction got it right. This research caused a major stir among the public and legal profession. Throughout his career, Mr. McCormack has been driven by a passion to ensure that consumers are treated fairly by the companies and professionals they deal with in their day-to-day lives.

Before joining Which?, Mr. McCormack served in the UK’s Office of Fair Trading, a government department established to improve the welfare of consumers. 

Chris Meyer

Chris Meyer oversees Development, External Relations, and Consumer Reports' advocacy division, Consumers Union. Consumers Union works for health reform, financial reform, food and product safety, energy-policy reform, media reform, and other consumer issues in Washington, D.C., all of the states, and in the marketplace.

In addition to staff at Consumer Reports’ national headquarters in Yonkers, N.Y., Mr. Meyer manages the advocates and attorneys of Consumer Reports’ regional offices in Washington, D.C.; Austin, Texas, and San Francisco. Mr. Meyer has been responsible for a number of innovations, including the development of a database of over 950,000 e-activists that have played critical roles in passage of state legislation, and landmark federal laws reforming the country's health care system, food safety, credit card rules and the nation's product-safety laws.

Prior to his promotion to vice president for External Affairs, Mr. Meyer was senior director for Public Policy and Advocacy. In his current position, he also serves on Consumer Reports' Operations Committee, which provides the president and CEO with monthly counsel on all publishing, advocacy, and budget matters.

Before joining the organization in October 2004, he worked for two decades as an organizer, lobbyist and, from 1997 to 2004, as Executive Director of the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG), New York State's largest consumer, environmental and government reform organization. He developed an expertise on public-health issues, including lead-poisoning prevention, drinking-water quality, and tobacco control. Mr. Meyer oversaw statewide campaigns on increased higher-education funding and the successful 1996 environmental bond initiative. He was lead lobbyist on efforts to defeat construction of garbage-burning incinerators in New York City in the early 1990's. In 1993 he was named "Best Lobbyist" by New York Magazine.

A graduate of Haverford College and the New York University School of Law, Mr. Meyer and his wife, Susan Stamler, reside in Brooklyn with their two daughters.

Christian Nimsky

Mr. Nimsky joined Consumer Reports in September 2012. He has a long history of working with large brands in the consumer automotive space in digitally focused roles. Previously he was responsible for Kelley Blue Book's consumer Internet and mobile presence and was one of the early architects of Edmunds.com’s Web presence, where he built the site's first True Market Value pricing tools and its Inside Line enthusiast property and where he and his team redesigned the Edmunds.com website to dominate the automotive SEO landscape in the mid-2000s. Along the way he's also launched a venture-backed media startup called High Gear Media, served as a head of marketing for Autobytel and even tried his hand at corporate turnarounds at Vantage Media, a marketing company serving the education, home services and insurance sectors. Before his "digital" career he worked in health care as a management consultant specializing in M&A integration and technology planning.

Mr. Nimsky is a former resident of Southern California. He has two 10-year-old children who fill up his weekends with baseball, basketball, swimming, gymnastics, and often more baseball. His wife, Kathleen, raises money to help fund research at the UCLA School of Medicine, and as a family they can often be found outdoors in tents or on skis, kayaks, and various forms of watercraft.

Mr. Nimsky has a B.S. in Engineering from Arizona State University, and is a member of the Creative Good Executive Councils (a private community of digital business leaders).

Eric Wayne

Eric Wayne oversees the organization's financial, procurement, and risk management activities, along with respective operations including accounting, investment management, business planning and analysis, treasury, financial systems, facilities, and purchasing. He also serves as a Trustee on Consumer Reports' various pension and 401(k) plans.

Before his appointment as Chief Financial Officer, Mr. Wayne was Senior Director, Treasurer responsible for overseeing Consumer Reports' investment portfolios, debt arrangements, cash management, and risk management programs, including information security and business contingency planning. He was also responsible for managing the organization’s banking partner relationships.

Mr. Wayne joined Consumer Reports in 1996 and was Director, Human Resources from 2000 to 2004. In that role, he was responsible for recruitment, compensation, employee benefits, employee relations, and performance management.

Before joining Consumers Reports, Mr. Wayne spent 10 years working at Mutual of America in various positions, including contracts, marketing, and consulting services. His last position at Mutual of America was as an employee benefits consultant, specializing in providing services to not-for-profit organizations. Mr. Wayne earned a B. S. degree in Business Administration from SUNY at Oswego and a Masters in Business Administration from Baruch College.