Sunil Kumar Named Dean of Chicago Booth

Published on July 28, 2010

Sunil Kumar, the Fred H. Merrill Professor of Operations, Information and Technology and an expert in operations research at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business, has been appointed the next dean of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. University President Robert Zimmer and Provost Thomas Rosenbaum announced the appointment today (July 28).

Kumar is currently the Stanford business school’s senior associate dean for academic affairs. In this role, he oversees the school’s MBA program and also leads the faculty groups in marketing and organizational behavior. His five-year term as dean at Chicago Booth will begin on January 1, 2011.

“Chicago Booth has been consistently recognized among the top business schools in the world, and its faculty, students, and alumni are global intellectual leaders who continue to shape the world of business and its disciplinary underpinnings,” Zimmer and Rosenbaum wrote in a joint email to the Chicago Booth community. “We are delighted that Sunil Kumar has agreed to serve as dean. He 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.”

Kumar succeeds Edward A. Snyder, who completed nine years as Chicago Booth’s dean on June 30. Since 2001, Chicago Booth has doubled its number of endowed professorships and more than tripled scholarship assistance to students.

“I am excited to become dean of Chicago Booth,” Kumar said. “I share the school’s passion for the pursuit of ideas that hold up under careful scrutiny. I look forward to helping strengthen and enhance Booth’s outstanding research environment and its rigorous, discipline-based approach to business education. I am eager to get to know the faculty, students, alumni, and staff of the school, and to engage with the business community in the city of Chicago.”

Kumar joined the Stanford faculty in 1996 after receiving his PhD in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. At Stanford he taught courses in operations management, technology, critical analytical thinking and revenue management. His research interests include performance evaluation and control of manufacturing systems, service operations, and communications networks. Kumar co-developed a widely used factory simulator for teaching operations management. The simulator, “Littlefield Technologies,” has been used in classes at more than 50 business and engineering schools. He has published dozens of scholarly research articles and has served as the editor of the Stochastic Models area of the journal Operations Research.

At Stanford, Kumar was awarded the Finmeccanica Faculty Scholarship, named a Spence Faculty Scholar and received multiple teaching commendations. He also was named Professor of the Year at the Indian School of Business in Hyderabad.

Born in India, Kumar received a Master of Engineering degree in computer science and automation from the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore and a Bachelor of Engineering degree from Mangalore University in Surathkal.

“The entire search committee is thrilled that Professor Sunil Kumar will be our next dean,” said John Huizinga, chairman of the committee and the Walter David “Bud” Fackler Distinguished Service Professor of Economics. “We are confident that his vision, integrity, intelligence, energy, and commitment will ensure that Chicago Booth continues its positive momentum. We expect that under his guidance Booth will reach an even higher level of achievement and recognition.

“Sunil understands and is committed to preserving the attributes of our school that have helped us become a worldwide leader in the field of business education, but he will also challenge us to become better, to expand our sphere of influence, and to undertake new endeavors,” Huizinga said. “We believe that Sunil will be a superb dean.

Harry L. Davis, the Roger L. and Rachel M. Goetz Distinguished Service Professor of Creative Management at Chicago Booth, will serve as interim dean until Kumar arrives on Jan. 1. Davis was deputy dean at Booth from 1983 to 1993, and has been a member of the school’s faculty since 1963.

Davis is an expert in leadership, strategy, creativity and innovation. While serving as deputy dean at Booth, he developed the first core leadership program of any top-rated MBA program in the world. Leadership Exploration and Development (LEAD) is the only required course in Booth’s curriculum.

“My three objectives during my term as interim dean are to sustain the momentum that Chicago Booth has established in recent years, reinforce the values that have made the school great, and ensure an effective transition to Dean Kumar,” Davis said. “I expect the transition will be very smooth because of the deep knowledge of the three deputy deans and our commitment to work together as a real team across the school’s many constituencies.”

Mark Zmijewski, Leon Carroll Marshall Professor of Accounting, has spent 14 years as deputy dean, and oversees the part-time MBA and executive education programs. Stacey Kole, clinical professor of economics, has been deputy dean of the full-time MBA program for six years, and Richard Leftwich, Fuji Bank and Heller Professor of Accounting and Finance, has been deputy dean for the faculty for six years. Each will remain in their roles while Davis is interim dean.