Our Benefactor - Michael D. Dingman

Michael Dingman

Michael D. Dingman has been President of Shipston Group Ltd., a diversified international holding company based in Nassau, Bahamas, since 1994. He previously was Chairman and Chief Executive Officer or President of several major United States-based industrial corporations, including Wheelabrator-Frye Inc., Signal Companies, Inc., AlliedSignal Inc. and its Henley Group, Inc. spinoff. The $1.2 billion Henley public offering in 1986 was the largest in history at the time.

Mr. Dingman repositioned Henley's 35 disparate businesses through divestitures and by creating new public entities, such as Wheelabrator Technologies Inc. (now a unit of Waste Management, Inc.) and Fisher Scientific International Inc., a business founded in 1902 and a world leader in serving science. Fisher has completed more than 40 acquisitions since becoming a public company and recently agreed to merge with Thermo Electron Corporation.

Mr. Dingman was Chairman of Fisher from the time of its initial public offering in 1991 until 1998 and continues as a director of the company, which has provided a 25 percent compound annual rate of return to shareholders since the public offering. At age 33, Mr. Dingman became an investment banker and a partner at Burnham & Co., where he led the initial public offering of the predecessor of Temple-Inland Inc.

In 1994, Mr. Dingman began investing in Eastern Europe, with an emphasis on restructuring opportunities and new markets in Russia as the nation was privatizing industry. Shipston and its partners were early investors in OAO Sidanco, one of Russia's largest oil companies, and spearheaded the introduction of western management and best practices to improve its operating efficiencies. The partners' investments in Sidanco were sold to BP p.1.c and to TNK, another Russian oil company, and together these two oil companies operate at TNK-BP.

In 1996, Shipston became the founding venture-capital investor in Renaissance Capital, Russia's leading Western-standard investment company. Shipston sold its interest in the firm in 2005. Shipston was also a member of an investment group headed by George Soros that acquired a minority interest in the telecom company OAO Svyazinvest, an investment that was sold in 2004.

Shipston bought a controlling interest in Segezha Pulp and Paper Mill, Inc., which it later sold to AssiDomain AB of Sweden. Other Shipston investments in China and Russia included the Russian water company Saint Springs, which was acquired by Nestle S.A. in 2004, and National Timber Company, also Russian, which Shipston is currently negotiating to sell. In addition, it is an investor in the Australian company Quay Magnesium Ltd.'s magnesium alloy plant in Nanjing, China. Shipston currently has offices in Nanjing and Beijing.

Mr. Dingman is a former director of Ford Motor Company (21 years), and of Time Inc. and then Time Warner Inc. (24 years), and also a director of Mellon Bank Corporation, Temple Industries Inc., Temple-Inland Inc., Continental Telephone Company and Teekay Shipping Corporation. He is the founder of the Michael D. Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Maryland, his alma mater and that of his father James E. Dingman. The center provides mentor services to emerging growth companies around the world and fosters entrepreneurship though a variety of other programs and services.