Our Benefactor—Michael D. Dingman
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
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
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.