Corporate Election & Investor Services

Inspector of Elections

Since 2007, The Carideo Group has served as an independent Inspector of Elections to publicly-traded companies throughout the U.S., Canada and overseas. We inspect meetings of all sizes and types – routine annual meetings, virtual meetings, hybrids and special meetings of shareholders. Our team of 17 seasoned inspectors are strategically located in Minneapolis, MN, New York City, Dallas, TX, Nashville, TN, Los Angeles, CA, San Francisco, CA, and Georgia. Collectively we have inspected more than 3,000 meetings.

All our inspectors are equipped with a laptop and a portable printer, and thus have the capability of providing final, printed documents within minutes after a meeting has been concluded.

For issuers of publicly traded securities, the engagement of an independent Inspector of Election is an important benchmark in a sound corporate governance framework. In addition to a company’s proxy tabulator, inspectors of elections can provide helpful guidance on the presentation of management’s proposals and the proper treatment of shares voted at an annual or special meeting. The inspector’s job is to determine the validity of those votes, whether cast by ballot or proxy card, or by a beneficial shareholder who owns his or her shares through a broker (in “street name”) or a registered shareholder, who holds his or her shares directly with a company, through a trust account and whose shares are usually maintained by the company’s transfer agent.

Our Inspectors

The Carideo Group’s 17-member team of inspectors of elections offer issuers coast-to-coast and international coverage of annual and special meetings.  We have inspectors based in Minneapolis, MN, New York, New York, Connecticut, southern Georgia/Florida, Dallas, TX, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Tony Carideo, CFA

Minneapolis, Minnesota

As president of The Carideo Group, Tony Carideo heads a nationwide team of 14 inspectors that since 2005 has collectively inspected more than 2,300 meetings. Mr. Carideo himself has inspected more than 500 meetings, ranging from regular annual meetings to special meetings and virtual shareholder meetings, and each year inspects approximately 70 meetings in the U.S., Canada and Europe.  Mr. Carideo brings a diverse background to his business, including a 30-year career as a journalist, experience as a securities analyst and the director of a sell-side research department, and on the corporate side as an investor relations professional. Prior to launching The Carideo Group in 2003, Tony was a senior vice president in the Investor Relations practice at a national investor relations firm, and was director of Investor Relations and Treasury Operations at two software companies.  A Chartered Financial Analyst, he was also an analyst and director of research at a sell-side brokerage house, and was a business journalist for more than 15 years.  He has a bachelor’s degree from Gannon University and a master’s from Northwestern University.

Marlene Aguilar

New York, NY

Marlene Aguilar is an accomplished marketing executive with 20+ years of leadership in strategy, execution, and brand development in the luxury, sports and technology sectors.  She has held executive and director level marketing positions with both early-stage companies and global brands, including Bulgari, the National Basketball Association (NBA), Ippolita jewelry and Feelmore Labs, the manufacturer of the COVE wearable device to improve mental health.  She also runs her own marketing consulting practice. Marlene holds an MBA in International Marketing from the University of Geneva, Switzerland, and a B.A degree in International Affairs from George Washington University. In addition to English, Marlene speaks Spanish, French, Portuguese, Italian and Mandarin Chinese.  She joined The Carideo Group as an Inspector in 2023.

Francis H. Byrd

Crown Heights - Brooklyn, New York

Francis Byrd is a seasoned Corporate Governance and Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) consultant who provides consulting services to private equity firms, publicly traded companies and institutional investors. He advises on governance best practice, senior management/board reporting structures, shareholder engagement, activist defense, proxy voting guidelines and ESG integration. Prior to founding his own firm, Francis was director, Corporate Governance, Investment Stewardship at TIAA, where he was involved in the management and execution of TIAA’s and CREF’s ESG policies and proxy voting related global active equity ownership.  He also served in a similar role with the State of Connecticut’s Office of the Treasurer where he was responsible for its ESG proxy voting and ESG integration for the Connecticut Retirement Plans & Trust Funds. Earlier, he was a VP on the Corporate Governance Team for Moody’s Investors Service, which provided analysis of governance issues relative to the credit rating process for Moody’s rated issuers. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Media Communications from Hunter College in New York, and since joining the Carideo Group in 2019 has inspected more than 60 regular and special meetings.

Nicholas A. Carideo

Minneapolis, MN

Nick’s professional career spans over 14 years in the healthcare industry. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, IA, and an MBA from St. Catherine University in St. Paul, MN. He is a mental health practitioner by trade and has held roles as a direct service provider, program manager and treatment director, business operations manager, and most recently as a public policy strategist for the State of Minnesota’s Department of Health and Human Services. Prior to his current position, Nick has also worked for privately-owned clinics, non-profit organizations and large healthcare delivery systems.

Kevin Chau, CFA

New York, New York

Kevin Chau, CFA, is a seasoned portfolio manager, analyst and bank examiner with more than 20 years of experience in the banking and securities industry.  He has worked as a fixed income analyst and portfolio manager for Credit Suisse and Warburg Pincus Asset Management in New York, and as a foreign exchange analyst for IDE Aglobal and Credit Suisse.  He has a BA in Economics and Political Science from Binghamton University and holds a Chartered Financial Analyst designation from the CFA Institute.  Since 2016 Kevin has inspected more than 100 annual and special meetings.

Jon Commers

St Paul, Minnesota

Jon Commers has been an inspector of elections with the Carideo Group since 2010. He has inspected more than 120 annual and special meetings nationally, including virtual shareholder meetings. As a principal of Donjek Incorporated, Jon provides finance and strategy services to private and public clients. He is also an adjunct instructor of urban studies at the University of Minnesota, and previously taught economics at the College of Saint Catherine, and was a policy fellow at the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota. He received his bachelor’s degree in history and political economy from Carleton College in Northfield and has an MBA in finance from the University of Saint Thomas.   He is based in Minneapolis, MN.

Elsie Fletcher-Rosenthal, CFA

San Francisco Bay Area

Elsie Fletcher-Rosenthal, CFA was most recently a Managing Director at Tukman Grossman Capital Management, an institutional investment manager located in Larkspur, CA.  Prior to her role at Tukman, Elsie served as the Chief Investment Officer for Bank of America’s Retirement and 401(k) Plans.  She also served as the CIO for Bank of America’s Private Bank and for the Electronic Data Systems’s Pension Plans.  Elsie currently serves as Vice Chair of the CFA Institute Education Advisory Board, a board comprised of 14 global subject matter experts, and is past president of the CFA San Francisco Chapter.  She received an MBA in finance, from the University of North Texas and a bachelor’s degree from the College of Chemistry and Physics at Louisiana State University.  Elsie has held the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation since 1995 and has inspected more than 50 meetings since 2019.

Ken Franke

Nashville, Tennessee

Ken Franke has more than 50 years of experience in securities custody, transfer agent and corporate action industry.  From 2012 to 2020 he was a Senior Director of Transfer Agent Solutions at Broadridge Financial Services, responsible for sales of transfer agent, corporate action and related services to corporate issuers.  Ken served in a similar role for BNY Mellon Shareowner Services from 1995 until 2012, and from 1985 through 1995 held a number of sales and sales management roles for Mellon Financial Corp. in Chicago, IL.  After graduation from Benedictine University with a degree in Business Economics, he functioned in a number of sales, trust officer and accounting positions at Northern Trust, ADP Pension Services and Sears Bank and Trust Co.  He is based in Nashville, TN, and since joining the Carideo Group in 2020 has inspected more than 100 annual and special meetings.


Robert Johnson

Dallas, Texas

Robert Johnson retired from J. C. Penney Company, Inc. in 2008 as Vice President of Investor Relations. Johnson had a 32-year career with J. C. Penney, where he held increasing levels of responsibility, primarily within the finance organization. He started his career in corporate internal audit and over the course of his career his responsibilities also included, but were not limited to, strategic planning, real estate controller, and external financial reporting. Since 2010 he has provided consulting services related to financial communications and investor relations through QMobius, a branding and communications firm based in Dallas, TX. Johnson holds a bachelor’s degree in business from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln and holds his CPA and CIA (certified internal auditor) certifications. Bob is based in Dallas and has inspected more than 200 meetings.

Cynthia Kopec

Oakland, California

Cynthia Kopec has more than 30 years of executive-management experience at a wide range of organizations, including Fortune 500 companies, startups and nonprofits.  Over her career, Cynthia has worked to build brands, develop and launch new products, institute best practices, streamline operations, engage constituents, manage effective teams, and implement client-centric technology.  Her previous positions include Chief Operating Officer at San Francisco SPCA, Senior Vice President at Universal Savings Bank and Providian Financial and Vice President at Property Capital and Bank of America. Cynthia has a BA from Pomona College and an MBA from the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley.  She joined the Carideo Group in 2022, and has since then inspected more than 30 annual and special meetings.

Jed H. Lavitt

Ellington, Connecticut

Jed Lavitt has more than 30 years of experience in the securities industry, having worked at some of Wall Street’s most prominent firms in fixed income sales.  From 2010 through 2015, Jed was the Executive Director of Fixed Income sales at Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, where he was responsible for marketing high yield and high grade bonds.  Prior to that, he was at Lazard Capital markets, and also worked at Scotia Capital, Bank of Montreal, CIBC Wood Gundy and Prudential Bache Securities.  He holds NASD Series 7, 24 and 63 licenses, earned his MBA from the University of Connecticut and graduated from Skidmore College with a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry.  He is based in New York City, and since 2016 has inspected more than 120 meetings.

Richard Leza, Jr.

Orange County, California

Richard Leza, Jr., has been an inspector of elections since 2012, having inspected more than 110 annual meetings, special meetings and Virtual Shareholder meetings.  A Stanford MBA with more than 15 years of successful experience in finance and investments, Richard has advised both privately-owned and publicly-traded companies in all areas of finance, from being CFO to an internal investment banker.  He has raised more than $36 million in private placement financing under even the worst market conditions and has taken companies from impending insolvency to profitability and even sale.  His areas of expertise include: Financial and Strategic Planning & Analysis; Modeling, Forecasting & Budgeting; Cash Management; Investor Relations, and M&A.  He is based in Orange County, CA, and has inspected more than 170 annual and special meetings.

Cheryl K. Niebeling

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Cheryl Niebeling, CPA (CPA inactive), is an accounting professional with more than 30 years of experience in public accounting, audit and international and domestic financial management.  After serving as a senior auditor at KPMG, Cheryl served in auditing and financial management positions at Donaldson Company and ADC Telecommunications, and as a controller at a company undertaking a bankruptcy Chapter 13 reorganization.  She holds an MBA in International Finance from Thunderbird, The School of Global Management, in Phoenix, AZ, and a BA in Business Administration and Accounting from the College of St. Catherine in St. Paul, MN. She is based in suburban Minneapolis, and has since 2019, when she joined The Carideo Group, has inspected more than 60 annual and special meetings.

Tracy Oats

New York, New York

Tracy Oats has been an inspector of elections since 2012 and has inspected more than 350 meetings. In addition, she runs her own business in New York City as a brand strategist and communications consultant to high-profile clients across a variety of industries, with an emphasis in commercial and residential real estate.  She has also worked with private equity firms to develop investor presentations for real estate and other asset types. Prior to launching her consulting business in 2007, Tracy held senior positions at the New York Housing Finance Agency (1999 – 2006) and the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (1993 – 1999). Tracy earned a B.A. in political science from Rutgers University (Douglass College) in 1989.

Kristine Sundberg

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Kris is president of The Links Group, a public and investor relations firm based in Minneapolis, MN.  Prior to starting her own business in 2005, Kris served as a corporate officer at Information Resources, Inc., Supervalu, Inc., Fleming Companies, and U.S. Satellite Broadcasting; and a Director at CenterPoint Energy. Her responsibilities included corporate communications to customers, employees, investors, legislators/regulators, media and the public. She has been elected to her community’s City Council, and appointed to the Minnesota Racing Commission and the Minnesota Environmental Protection Agency Citizen Advisory Committee. Ms. Sundberg holds a bachelor’s degree from St. Cloud State University and a masters from the University of Illinois Springfield. She has been an inspector of elections since 2009, having inspected more than 200 meetings.

Beth VanDerbeck

Brunswick, Georgia

Based in southern Georgia, Beth is the Chief Executive Officer of Morningstar Children and Family Services, Inc. in Brunswick, GA.  She has been an inspector of elections with The Carideo Group since 2009, having inspected more than 350 annual and special meetings, as well as hybrid and virtual environments.  As an experienced management and leadership consultant, Beth brings a high professionalism to the inspector position and shareholder event. Her attention to details has assisted in assuring a smooth and successful voting process for both first time and veteran meetings. She is a graduate of Appalachian State University.

Kathy Wheadon

San Francisco Bay Area

Kathy Wheadon has more than 30 years’ experience in banking and financial services.  She is the founder and president of Clarelane Consulting LLC, in San Francisco, a firm that provides professional services in operational and compliance processes and operational due diligence to investment advisors, asset managers, family offices and hedge funds. Prior to starting her own business, Ms. Wheadon was at DCI, LLC, an institutional asset manager where she built out the operational, financial, compliance and administrative infrastructure for the firm. Before DCI, she spent two years at Investors Bank & Trust, establishing the firm’s first independent treasury operations department, and also worked at Bank of America for nine years, heading up the US operations for foreign exchange and derivatives in the Capital Markets Operations group. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign College of Business, and professional certification in the financial management of family offices from Pepperdine University. Kathy has been with The Carideo Group since 2016 and has inspected more than 290 meetings.

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