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New dean of business school specializes in global issues

by David Bauman - May 14, 2007

Christopher Earley, dean of the National University of Singapore Business School – one of the top business schools in Asia – has been named the next dean of the School of Business.

He also has been awarded the new Auran J. Fox Chair in Business.

The appointment will be effective Jan. 1.

Earley is an authority on multinational work teams, cross-cultural differences of individual behavior in organizations, and motivation systems across cultures.

His research interest in cultural intelligence – people’s capacity to adjust to new cultural environments – led him to visit China for the first time in 1986.

Since then he has traveled and worked in China, England, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Thailand for more than 20 years.

Prior to his appointment as dean at the National University of Singapore, Earley was chair and professor of organizational behavior at the London Business School in England.

He has taught on the faculties of the National University of Singapore, London Business School, Indiana University, University of Arizona, University of Minnesota, and University of California-Irvine.

“Dr. Earley is a leader in the global business school community,” says University President Philip E. Austin.

“He is passionate about business education within a global context, and we are confident that his strong record of leadership will lead to a new era of growth and progress for UConn’s School of Business.”

Earley says, “The excitement at UConn is infectious, and there are tremendous opportunities for the School of Business to advance as a world-class leader in business education. Just as important, UConn is also in a great position to become a national leader in business programs emphasizing entrepreneurship, technology, and globalization.”

Provost Peter J. Nicholls says the appointment of Earley, 47, brings to a close an international search process that began in April 2006.

Earley led a field of more than 40 candidates from higher education and the private sector, spanning North America, Europe, and Asia.

“Dr. Earley has all the leadership attributes necessary to take the School of Business to the next level of excellence in today’s competitive global business educational arena,” Nicholls says.

“He is a renowned scholar, an experienced academic leader, and has significant international experience.”

Ross MacKinnon, dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, who chaired the business dean’s search, says Earley was the unanimous choice of the committee.

Christopher Earley
Christopher Earley has been named dean of business, effective Jan. 1.
Photo supplied by National University of Singapore

A broad group of alumni participated in the search process, including Denis Nayden, ’76, MBA ’77, managing partner of Oak Hill Capital, and Keith Fox, ’80, a former executive at Cisco Systems and entrepreneur living in Saratoga, Calif.

Professor Mohamed Hussein, head of the accounting department who served as interim dean during the search, says Earley has “excellent credentials, great energy, and a friendly personality to lead us forward.

“With more corporate deals occurring on a global scale in today’s marketplace,” he adds, “it is increasingly important that business students get experience in worldwide business cultures. Dean Earley’s expertise and global contacts will be valuable in increasing our students’ global opportunities.”

During his tenure at the National University of Singapore, Earley developed strategies that resulted in a rapid rise of the business school in the rankings and a record growth of both undergraduate and MBA enrollments; expanded the school’s executive education division through a $1.2 million contract with the Nestle Co. to train 300 managers over two years, resulting in a four-fold increase of the school’s profitability; and raised approximately $30 million to underwrite the construction of a new business school on the campus.

An internationally recognized scholar, Earley has written 10 books and more than 100 articles and book chapters.

These include “Cultural Intelligence” (Harvard Business Review, with E. Mosakowski); Cultural Intelligence: Individual Interactions Across Cultures (Stanford University Press, with Ang Soon); Multinational Work Teams: A New Perspective (Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, with Cristina Gibson); Culture, Self-identity, and Work and The Transplanted Executive: Managing in Different Cultures (Oxford University Press, both with Miriam Erez).

He has consulted for companies including British Aerospace, Deutsche Bank, Eli Lilly Pharmaceuticals, General Motors, IBM, Islamic Development Bank, Mercury Asset Management, and Unilever, in China, England, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, and Thailand.

Earley received a bachelor’s degree from Knox College, a liberal arts college in Galesburg, Ilinois, and a master’s and Ph.D. in industrial and organizational psychology from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. 

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