Former Securities and Exchange Commission chairman Harvey L. Pitt is growing out of his old space. His Washington consulting firm, Kalorama Partners LLC, next month plans to vacate its temporary office space on I Street NW and decamp for bigger digs on Connecticut Avenue near Farragut Square.
Since Pitt formed the firm last year, it has grown to seven professionals, including former SEC chief accountant Robert K. Herdman and D. Jeffrey Hirschberg, a lawyer and former vice chairman at the accounting firm Ernst & Young. More are likely by year's end, Pitt said in an interview.
Kalorama Partners focuses on ways companies and independent board members can protect themselves from corporate governance crises and prevent lapses before they occur. The firm just signed a deal with National Union Fire Insurance Co., a subsidiary of the American International Group Inc., to analyze the structure and boards of client companies, which will get as much as a 25 percent discount on their directors' and officers' insurance premiums if they pass muster with Kalorama.
Pitt said the AIG pact would serve as a model for similar deals to vet the clients of accounting and investment banking firms as well as credit-rating companies.
"It implements our overarching philosophy that the private sector must take responsibility and leadership for ensuring the complete return of investor confidence," he said.
Biotechs Get a Lesson in Profit
A panel of venture capitalists at last week's Virginia Biotechnology Summit had a tough-love message for the region's bioscience entrepreneurs: Start learning about making money.
R. Nelson Campbell, a senior vice president at Friedman, Billings, Ramsey & Co., said visiting early-stage biotech companies in Boston and other life science hotbeds is vastly different from visiting them in the Washington region.
"They don't get that they are running the company for the VCs," Campbell said.
He wasn't faulting the local firms' scientific chops. "We have fantastic scientists around here, but very few have commercial or entrepreneur experience," he said. "You basically have MedImmune, and after that you fall off a precipice."
Mitretek Systems of Falls Church acquired Jennings Ryan & Kolb and Gill/Balsano Consulting from Cross Country Consulting. The acquisition is part of Mitretek Systems' expansion of its health care division. Mitretek Systems is a nonprofit company that works to solve complex problems of public interest.
Micros Systems of Columbia, a provider of information technology solutions for the hospitality industry, signed a sales agreement with Fazoli's Restaurants, a chain of Italian restaurants operating in 32 states, to install Micros RES 3000 point-of-sale system.
CompuDyne of Annapolis, a security contractor, said it intends to resume its stock buyback program. The company says a good outlook for 2005 and the relatively low price of the stock mean a modest program of stock repurchases to offset potential option exercises and other sources of dilution would be a good use of available funds. Any buybacks would depend on the price of the stock.