Board of Directors

Bruce MacFarlane – Chairman of the Board

Bruce has over 30 years of experience as a manager, investor, and advisor in the financial services industry. He is founder and President of GPO Capital, a merchant banking/private equity firm. He also founded Aquiline Capital Partners and Venturion Capital, both private equity funds focused on the financial services industry globally. Previously, he led the financial services mergers and acquisitions group with Smith Barney. Prior to Smith Barney, he was the Director of Financial Institutions and was Senior Advisor to the President for the Cabinet-level RTC Oversight Board which set the strategy, policy, and regulatory framework for the $100+ billion savings & loan clean-up.  Bruce received a B.A. in chemistry with honors from Harvard College and an MBA from the Harvard Business School.

Balaji Rajan – CEO

Balaji “Raj” Rajan is Chief Executive Officer of Ceannate Corp., a leading business process outsourcing firm focused entirely on the students and institutions in the post-secondary education sector. 


Raj is responsible for the overall strategy of the Ceannate companies which employ over 900 individuals across four wholly-owned subsidiaries including Financial Management Systems; AuthenticAID, Inc.; i3 Group, LLC; and Iontuition, Inc.  Each company addresses student relationship and loan management challenges specific to distinct phases in the education loan lifecycle including: in-school and in-grace servicing, financial literacy, repayment optimization, delinquency prevention, default aversion, and debt resolution. Over the course of his time in the education sector, Raj has developed long-standing relationships with and expertise in programs at the U.S. Department of Education.


As a leading innovator in the student borrower assistance arena and based on the perspectives of Ceannate having engaged in millions of student-borrower interactions, in 2011, Raj oversaw the conception, development, and implementation of iontuition, the first web-based, user-friendly tool to help student loan borrowers manage and plan repayment of their student loans. Raj has also sought to bring the company’s expertise to bear in the development of public policy relating to financial literacy, financial aid practices, and student loan management by authoring three opinion pieces on those topics:  “Student Loan System Needs an Overhaul” (The Hill, January 7, 2014),  “How Congress Can Fix the Student Debt Crisis” (Roll Call, July 21, 2014), and "Proven Private-Sector Practices Can Bring Down Student Loan Defaults" (The Hill, March 6, 2015).


While he maintains an active role across all subsidiary operations, Raj focuses primarily on product development and government affairs as he guides the core business towards profitable sustainability. In addition to serving as CEO, Raj sits on the Ceannate Corp. Board of Directors. He is a founder of the Education Innovation Group under YPO Chicago. 

Maureen Peterson – President & COO

Maureen Peterson, recognized as one of the Top 50 Most Influential Professionals in the sector, has managed ARM operations in increasingly senior positions for the last 20 years. She has contributed and operated in all facets of debt collection – from first-party servicing to purchased debt collections in near-shore facilities.


As President and Chief Operating Officer of Ceannate Corp, she is responsible for operations across all Company subsidiaries, including FMS’ Task Order operations for the U.S. Department of Education. Since joining Ceannate in 2008, she has led the Company through a period of unprecedented growth. The formation of i3 Group, followed shortly thereafter by the launch of iontuition, effectively expanded the Company’s service offerings to higher education institutions with an emphasis on student-facing web services. Maureen is also a member of Ceannate’s Board of Directors. Prior to joining Ceannate, Maureen served as President of Van Ru Credit Corporation where she grew the organization to over 1,400 employees and top rankings across all competitive client contracts.

Gil Zitin – Director, Board of Directors

Gil Zitin is the retired Chairman, President and CEO of Aon Credit Services. Prior to joining Aon, he was President and CEO of Subaru Financial Services, Inc. Early in his career, Gil started Middle Atlantic Credit Corp., a commercial finance and equipment leasing business, which he later sold to Associates Corporation, where he stayed as a Senior Vice President until he left to join Subaru. He is a graduate of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Andrew Lerner – Director, Board of Directors

Andrew S. Lerner is the Managing Partner of Inter-Atlantic Group, a private equity firm focused on the financial technology and business services sectors, where he has been employed since 1995. Andrew has over 20 years of investment experience in the financial services industry. Prior to joining Inter-Atlantic Group, he served as an investment banker in the Financial Institutions Group of Smith Barney Inc. for four years and in its Mortgage and Asset Finance Group for two years. Andrew holds a B.S.E. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from Princeton University and an MBA in Finance from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.

Rob Konrad – Director, Board of Directors

Rob Konrad is a General Partner and Chairman of Alterna Financial LLC, a financial services company based in Florida. He holds a B.A. in Consumer Studies - Business from Syracuse University, and began his career in the financial services industry during his career in the NFL From 2007 to 2010. Rob served as a gubernatorial appointee to the Florida State Board of Administration - Investment Advisory Council. The State Board of Administration, a constitutional entity of Florida state government, manages 30 investment funds, comprising over $184 billion in assets under management. The Florida Retirement System (FRS) Pension Plan is the fourth largest public retirement plan in the U.S. and comprises roughly three-quarters of total assets under SBA management. The Investment Council (“IAC”) provides independent oversight of SBA's funds and major investments responsibilities, ranging from the Florida Retirement System programs to the Lawton Chiles Endowment Fund. Rob served as the Chairman of the IAC from 2009 to 2010.

Brett Baris – Director, Board of Directors

Brett G. Baris is a Partner of Inter-Atlantic Group, a private equity firm focused on the financial technology and business services sectors, where he has been employed since 1998. Brett is responsible for sourcing, analyzing, negotiating, structuring and monitoring private equity investments, and is a member of Inter-Atlantic Group’s investment committee. Prior to joining Inter-Atlantic Group, Brett spent two years as an analyst in the Financial Institutions Group of Salomon Smith Barney Inc. At Salomon Smith Barney, Brett worked primarily on collateralized debt offerings and securitizations in the student loan finance area. Brett holds a B.A. in Economics, magna cum laude, from Tufts University and an MBA from Columbia Business School.

Senior Management

Troy Hardeman – CCTO

As Chief Compliance and Technology Officer, Troy brings over 15 years of IT management and executive-level experience to Ceannate, including 10 years in the area of loan servicing with a focus on default aversion and debt collection for primarily government and higher education entities. He has worked closely with other key members of the Ceannate executive team for much of his career and currently oversees the company’s in-house infrastructure and information security teams. Troy has successfully led numerous project implementations, each calling for complex system integration requirements in support of the company’s strategic initiatives including its NIST and PCI-DSS compliant co-located data centers as well as the deployment of the LoanAxis(TM) case management system for The i3 Group, LLC, and the iontuition™ portal for Iontuition, Inc. Troy also oversees Ceannate's information security programs and is well-versed in developing the people and systems needed to maintain compliance with critical data security and privacy standards including ISO 17799 (27002), GLBA, FACTA, FCRA, HIPAA, Patriot Act, Bank Secrecy Act, SSAE 16, and PCI DSS. Troy holds a B.S. degree in Management Information Systems from Millikin University.

Tim Adelman - CFO

Tim is a 28-year veteran of the financial services industry with expert knowledge in risk management and corporate finance functions as it applies to both start-up operations and global enterprise. As Chief Financial Officer, he has responsibility for all accounting, cost management, tax compliance, and resource allocation activities at Ceannate. Tim’s ability to effectively forecast, strategically plan, and manage rapid growth organizations have served him well throughout his career. Prior to joining Ceannate in January 2010, Tim served as CFO for InsuranceNoodle, Inc., an e-aggregator of commercial property and casualty insurance. After eight years, Willis North America, Inc. acquired the highly successful Web-enabled brokerage at which time Tim took the position of Regional Financial Officer with Willis. Earlier in his career, Tim was CFO for AON Enterprise, a division of global insurance leader AON Risk Services, Inc. Tim holds a B.S. in Business from Illinois State University, an MBA from DePaul University, and is also a Certified Public Accountant. 

Walter Pryor - SVP, Government Relations & General Counsel

Walter Pryor joined Ceannate in 2013 as Senior Vice President of Government Relations and General Counsel. Walter is a seasoned legal expert with a background in government relations. His previous positions include Vice President of Government Affairs for Career Education Corp, Principal and General Counsel for the Podesta Group, Legislative Director for Senator Mark Pryor of Arkansas, and Deputy Director and Managing Attorney of the National Association of Attorneys General. He currently serves on the Board of Trustees of his alma mater, Hendrix College, the Board of Directors of Legal Prep Charter Academies in Chicago, the Board of Directors of the Washington Children's Foundation, and the Board of Trustees of National Collegiate Preparatory Public Charter High School in Washington, D.C.


Walter earned his B.S. in Political Science as a cum laude graduate of Hendrix College and received his J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center.

Mark Rowland – VP, Technology Solutions

Mark Rowland has been with Ceannate since August of 2005 and has worked extensively in every operational practice area the company has engaged in. Mark brings a wide range of experience in developing systematic solutions to enhance processes and solve business challenges. In his tenure at Ceannate, he has worked as a Collections Manager, Training Manager, Knowledge Engineer, Senior Manager of the Business Intelligence Group, Director of the Data Solutions Group, Vice President of Loanlook, Inc., and his current role as Vice President of Technology Solutions.  Mark has worked in the student loan industry for his entire career and has an excellent understanding of the loan lifecycle, both in terms of federally guaranteed and private education loans. He was instrumental in implementing systematic processes for many of Ceannate’s student loan contracts including the U.S. Department of Education Debt Collection Task Order (2009), Sallie Mae Private Education Credit, USA Funds Student Loan Collections, and several large university contracts.  Mark also led the systems development and implementation of LoanAxis™ for i3 Group and engaged extensively on the development of AuthenticAID, Inc.'s patented solutions. Mark now leads design and development initiatives for iontuition as he works to align the self-service portal's value with the needs of client-schools and their student-users.

Gary Sowell Jr. – VP, Compliance & Risk Management

With over 15 years in the debt management industry, ten of which have been dedicated to federal debt portfolios, Gary leads compliance functions across Ceannate and the organization's subsidiary operations. His range of expertise includes systems and process design, systems conversion, and the professional development of front-line and managerial staff. In terms of student loan receivables, Gary has held key roles on various guaranty agency and campus-based portfolios. Earlier in his career, Gary served as Deputy Contract Administrator for the U.S. Department of Education Debt Collection Task Order while at OSI Collection Services, Inc.