Adding to the Ranks

Bauer Announces Five New Board Members from Various Industries

The C. T. Bauer College of Business at the University of Houston announced five new members to the Bauer College Board. These members consist of a variety of business leaders, executives, strategists and entrepreneurs and work to advise Dean Paul A. Pavlou to connect industry with the Bauer College.

“As we continue to add members from diverse industries, we can only continue our upward trajectory as we continue to provide the best business education not only in Houston, but the world,” Bauer College Dean Paul A. Pavlou said. “I am excited to work with everyone as they bring new ideas to the table that will benefit our students.”  

The new members that have joined the board over the last year are business professionals in construction management, oil and gas, chemical production, technology and investment management firms.

Ali Lakhany (BBA '07)
CSM Group

Ali Lakhany (BBA ’07), CEO of CSM Group is an accomplished and well-respected business leader with over 20 years of experience in his industry. He has affiliations with well-known companies and brands such as Popeye's Louisiana Kitchen, Tim Hortons, Andy's Frozen Custard, T-Mobile USA, Marriott, and Hilton Brands, and has built an impressive portfolio of 350 points of distribution in the franchise space.

Lakhany, along with his brother Ehmad Lakhany, lead CSM Group, a boutique family office that specializes in restaurant franchising, telecommunications, hospitality, and real estate development. Under their leadership, the CSM Group has established a reputation for delivering exceptional results. They are known for their strategic vision, ability to lead and manage high-performing teams, and their hands-on approach in overseeing the success of each venture. 

In addition to his professional responsibilities, Lakhany is active in various industry-related boards and organizations. He sits on the board of American First National Bank, Excel Linen Company, Verge Mobile LP, COR 3 Capital, and serves on the Popeyes Foundation and IEIT Board of Trustees, and HAMD Institute.

Lakhany and his wife Hina have three young boys.

Imran Malik (BBA '06, MSACCY '09)
Operating Partner and CFO
Arcline Investment Management

Imran Malik currently serves as the Operating Partner and CFO for Arcline Investment Management, taking on the role in 2022. Malik is a Global Financial Executive offering measurable success leading and developing teams at multinational public and private companies through transformation and integration programs, high growth phases, business turnarounds and restructuring, acquisitions, revenue increases, EBITDA, and cash flow enhancements.

Malik has an extended background in finance with experience in roles such as chief financial officer, VP of financial planning and analysis, integration business analysis, regional analysis and global financial planning. 

Malik earned his Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance and Marketing with minors in Accounting and International Business from Bauer in 2006. Shortly after, he earned his Masters of Science in Accounting from the college.

Kayoor Gajarawala (BBA ‘90)
Chief Digital and Information Technology Office
LyondellBasell Industries

Kayoor Gajarawala currently serves as the Chief Digital and Information Technology Officer at LyondellBasell Industries LLC, taking on the role in November 2023.

Prior to this, Gajarawala spent over 20 years at Shell Corporation. His final positions consisted of VP of Information and Digital Engineering, VP of IT Evolution and CIO of Global Chemicals.

Gajarawala grew up in Houston for the most part but also lived in New Jersey and Indiana growing up. He first attended Texas A&M University, but then transferred to UH and Bauer.

Nick Allen
President, Global LNG

Nick Allen is President of Global LNG for ConocoPhillips, taking on the role in September 2023. Allen has more than 26 years of commercial experience in energy trading and management roles.

Allen began his career at Conoco as a risk analyst, bringing experience in oil trading and derivatives gained over three years working for J.P. Morgan and ED & F Man on the International Petroleum Exchange. In 2000, he managed European gasoline trading before taking a position as trading director for Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein. Allen retuned to ConocoPhillips in 2006 to manage the European natural gas, power & carbon trading desk.

In 2012, he became manager of European Commercial, with responsibility for the marketing, trading and commercial development of ConocoPhillips’ equity crude oil, NGL and natural gas production in European and Africa.

In 2017, he became General Manager, Global Crude Oil and NGL responsible for the marketing and sales optimization of ConocoPhillips’ global crude oil and NGL portfolio. ConocoPhillips markets in excess of 1 million barrels of crude oil and NGL daily centered on production in North America, North Africa and Asia.

Allen holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from University College, London.

Erich M. Ploog (BBA '99)
Managing Partner
Benjamin Johnston Design LLC

Erich M. Ploog currently serves as a Managing Partner of Benjamin Johnston Design LLC, taking on this role in 2017. Prior to his current position, Ploog worked with multiple consulting and management firms along with a tenured career at IBM.

Ploog has 20 years of management consultant experience followed by a decade of owning and operating multiple small businesses. He has a broad-based background including experience in information technology, finance, manufacturing, human resources customer service, and plant maintenance.

Ploog earned a Bachelor of Business Administration Bauer College as a National Merit Scholar and earned his Master of Business Administration at the University of Texas.