Sorina Zahan, Ph.D.
Chief Investment Officer
Managing Partner

Dr. Sorina Zahan is a Managing Partner and Chief Investment Officer of Core Capital. Dr. Zahan’s responsibilities include the management of Core’s portfolios and research activities. Prior to helping establish Core in 2004, Dr. Zahan spent fifteen years in academia. As a Professor at the Technical University of Cluj-Napoca, Romania, she was specialized in artificial intelligence and uncertainty management.

Dr. Zahan served on the Board of the Electrical Engineering school, has taught postgraduate and undergraduate courses in Romania and France and has published two books and sixty research papers. She has been a speaker and reviewer at various industry conferences. Her current research activity is focused on measuring and hedging liquidity risk, the correction of common biases in portfolio construction as well as optimality and risk sharing in pension plans.

Dr. Zahan holds a B.S. degree with highest honors and a Ph.D. degree from the Technical University of Cluj-Napoca, Romania. She also received a MBA with honors and induction into the Beta Gamma Sigma society from the University of Chicago.

Bill Friend
Managing Partner

Bill Friend is a Managing Partner of Core Capital, primarily responsible for operations and business related activities. Mr. Friend has over 25 years of professional investing experience.

Mr. Friend serves as Trustee and Investment Committee member of the Rush University Medical Center, Board member, immediate past Treasurer and Chair of the Finance, Audit and Investment Committees of the Ounce of Prevention Fund, Investment Committee member of the Francis W. Parker School and Advisory Board Member of the Sean N. Parker Center for Allergy Research at Stanford University.

Prior to forming Core, Mr. Friend served as President of William Harris Investors Ventures from 2001 thru 2003. Mr. Friend worked for Pittway Corporation (NYSE: PRY) in various operating and executive roles from 1992 until 2001 when the company was sold to Honeywell. Mr. Friend served as Assistant to the President and Vice President of Corporate Development from 1997-2001 with focus on due diligence and acquisitions in the United States, Europe and China. From 1985 until 1990, Mr. Friend worked at the IBM Corporation.

Mr. Friend graduated Magna Cum Laude with a B.A. degree from Tufts University. He also holds a MBA with second year honors from Harvard University.

Don DesPain, CPA

Don DesPain oversees Core’s compliance and operations functions including regulatory, accounting and operational due diligence. Prior to joining Core in 2011, Mr. DesPain was a Senior Auditor in the Global Financial Services industry practice with Ernst & Young LLP in Chicago. At Ernst & Young, he focused on audits of hedge funds, proprietary trading companies, brokerage firms and banks.

Mr. DesPain holds both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Accounting Science from the University of Illinois. He is a registered CPA in the State of Illinois.

Marcel Cremene, Ph.D.
Senior Scientist

Dr. Marcel Cremene joined Core Capital in 2017. He has known and worked with Dr. Sorina Zahan for over 20 years, from his time as an undergraduate student. His primary responsibility is to advance Core’s risk and portfolio research activities as well as to lead the design, development and management of the research software tools and systems used in portfolio management.

Immediately after graduating as valedictorian – having Dr. Zahan as supervisor for his graduate thesis, Dr. Cremene joined the academic team of Dr. Zahan at the Technical University of Cluj-Napoca in 2001. After Dr. Zahan left the University, he led her academic and research group. He continued his career there for 14 years, holding the position of Associate Professor. He was specialized in artificial intelligence, game theory, as well as mobile communications and computing. He also taught for one year at the University of Nice Sophia-Antipolis, France. In 2016 he started working for 8x8 Inc. as technical lead for Java enterprise technologies.

Dr. Cremene holds a B.Eng. from Technical University of Cluj-Napoca, Romania. He also holds a dual PhD degree in computer science (2005) from both Technical University of Cluj-Napoca, Romania and University of Savoie, France.

Marcel Cremene has published three books and more than fifty research papers, some related to complex systems, social sciences and game theory.

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