Indian American named Chicago business school dean

July 29th, 2010 - 10:22 am ICT by IANS  

Chicago, July 29 (IANS) Sunil Kumar, an Indian American management guru, has been named the new head of the University of Chicago’s prestigious Booth School of Business.
Currently the senior associate dean of academic affairs at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, Kumar, 42, succeeds Edward Snyder, who stepped down in June and will run the Yale School of Management, in New Haven, Connecticut, starting next year.

Kumar will begin a five-year term as dean on Jan 1, the University of Chicago announced Wednesday.

At Stanford, Kumar oversees the master’s of business administration programme. He is also a professor of operations, information and technology.

Kumar, who was born in India, received a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and has taught at Stanford since 1996.

Kumar “brings the right blend of vision, entrepreneurial energy and academic leadership that will build on the contributions of Chicago Booth at a time of tremendous momentum and achievement,” University of Chicago President Robert Zimmer and Provost Thomas Rosenbaum said in a statement.

Kumartold the Wall Street Journal his role at Chicago will be as a gatekeeper for what the school has already accomplished. “This is an institution that is already in terrific shape.”

“My basic mission is to strengthen and enhance what is already great.” Meanwhile, he says he will take time to learn “about the students, faculty and the programmes.”

John Huizinga, chairman of the business school’s dean search committee and an economics professor at Chicago, says the school was looking for a dean who could preserve the school’s resources-retaining key faculty, for example-without settling too comfortably into school’s already lofty position.

“If you have the right outsider, it can be a great benefit,” Huizinga said. “Sunil has the key decision-making skills, acquires the necessary amount of information before he acts and is inclusive. He’s the whole package.”

Kumar is the first dean in many years who does not have a background or degree in economics or finance.

Kumar’s non-traditional background lends itself well to promoting Chicago’s lesser known attributes, such as its entrepreneurship and marketing programmes, Huizinga said. “[Kumar] will be effective in communicating our strengths in multiple areas outside economics,” he said.

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