Carlson School Names Srilata Zaheer New Dean

Srilata Zaheer, who has served as interim dean of the school for the past nine months, said that she plans to strengthen partnerships with local businesses and elevate the school's image internationally.

Srilata Zaheer has been named the new dean of the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management.

U President Eric Kaler and Provost Karen Hanson announced the appointment Thursday morning before a crowd gathered in the school's atrium. The appointment is subject to approval by the Board of Regents, which is expected to vote on Friday.

Former Dean Alison Davis-Blake left the school last year and in July became dean of the University of Michigan's business school.

Zaheer has served as interim dean during the search process, for which the university hired executive search firm Korn/Ferry International to assist an 18-member search committee that included many prominent Minnesota business leaders.

The field of candidates was narrowed to four finalists, all of whom participated in public interviews in January and February. (Hanson said Thursday that one of the finalists withdrew before the selection of the new permanent dean.)

On Thursday, Kaler described Zaheer as “a scholar of international renown.” He also said that, as state funding continues to decline, Zaheer will be responsible for bolstering existing philanthropic relationships with local businesses while also forging new ones.

Zaheer, Carlson's 12th dean, also emphasized the importance of engaging the business community, saying that in the coming weeks she intends to gather input from stakeholders of the university and then “articulate a pathway to the future” for the school.

She stressed the importance of elevating the school's image internationally: “We're truly an international school, and it will be my mission to ensure that image permeates all our audiences.”

International issues were central to Zaheer's past research, which focuses on the risks faced by multinational corporations and on the impact of technology on international location and organization, the university said in a press release.

Zaheer, who also serves as the U's Elmer L. Andersen Chair in Global Corporate Social Responsibility, joined Carlson in 1991 and held the position of associate dean of faculty and research prior to her appointment to the position of interim dean last June. She earned a Ph.D in international management from the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a master's degree in business from the Indian Institute of Management.

She was named a 2007 Fellow of the Academy of International Business, the highest honor in the field, and was a consulting editor of the Journal of International Business Studies. She's also a founding member of the International Academic Council of the Indian School of Business.

Zaheer's salary will be $480,000, of which $270,000 will come from private funds, the university said.

“Carlson holds enviable strengths in its faculty and staff, its alumni, its students, and its links to the corporate community,” Zaheer said in a statement. “I will work tirelessly on our shared pursuit, guided by a sense of purpose, to make the Carlson School a crucible for the ideas that will shape the future of business worldwide.”