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Duke University Names Blair Sheppard New Dean of The Fuqua School of Business

January 09, 2007

DURHAM, N.C. –- Duke University has selected Blair H. Sheppard, an internationally recognized expert on global and corporate education, as the new dean of the Fuqua School of Business, effective July 1, 2007, Provost Peter Lange announced Wednesday.

Sheppard will succeed Douglas Breeden, who announced last spring that he will return to a full-time faculty position at Fuqua after serving as dean since 2001.

Sheppard’s appointment is subject to approval by the university’s Board of Trustees later this month. 

Sheppard, 54, joined the Fuqua faculty in 1981. He has been on leave from Fuqua since 2000, serving as chief executive officer of Duke Corporate Education, a custom executive education company owned by Duke.

During his tenure at Fuqua, Sheppard distinguished himself as a scholar and administrator. He played a principal role in a number of programs that established the Fuqua School’s brand and reputation for innovation, including the Duke MBA – Global Executive program, an 18-month program for senior executives that combines residential sessions in Asia, South America, Europe and the United States with Internet-enabled distance learning for students throughout the world. The Global Executive program was launched in 1996 and since then has become a model for programs at other leading business schools.

Sheppard has guided Duke Corporate Education from its infancy. Under his leadership, Duke Corporate Education has been ranked No. 1 in the world for executive education by both BusinessWeek and the Financial Times for several years running. Over the past six years, Duke Corporate Education has grown from a $10-15 million business to a $50 million business with 136 full-time employees and a leading position in the marketplace.

Sheppard has provided consulting expertise to more than 100 companies and governments in the areas of corporate strategy, relationship management, structure and leadership. He has authored more than 50 books and articles on these topics.

“Blair possesses an intimate familiarity with Duke’s Fuqua School and its mission, and he’s a globally renowned figure for his academic and clinical leadership in the fields of organizational behavior, personnel management and corporate strategy,” Lange said. “President (Richard H.) Brodhead and I are confident that we found a proven leader who will build on the excellent work of Dean Breeden over the past several years.”

Lange said Sheppard is “a visionary” in the field of business education, noting his successes using new technologies to facilitate learning in both MBA and custom education settings. “Blair is a seasoned academic, and has proven himself as an entrepreneurial leader. I know from my conversations with leaders in the business community across the world that Blair is recognized, perhaps more than anyone else, for building Fuqua’s reputation for innovation and entrepreneurship. He is exactly the type of multidimensional professional whom we feel is needed to lead a business school in today’s environment.”

Sheppard said he is “honored by my selection and enthused to have the opportunity to lead what is foremost a school of consequence, one that has established itself among the finest in academic research and teaching across a broad range of business issues. A great distinctiveness of Fuqua has been its interdisciplinary approach, not only within Fuqua but throughout Duke University and the world-class research that its various schools are conducting. I look forward to working with the faculty at Fuqua and leaders across the university to build on this distinctive strength.”

Sheppard added, “Duke Corporate Education, with its key continuing partnerships with the London School of Economics and Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, will be a tremendous outside resource for Fuqua. Through that relationship, Fuqua now has the opportunity to be viewed as the one business school uniquely able to create impactful alliances in key regions around the world.”

In addition to being the Fuqua dean, Sheppard will serve as chairman of Duke Corporate Education.

Lange said Sheppard was selected following a seven-month international search from among nearly 250 candidates. Lange praised the search committee and its chair, Christine Moorman, the T. Austin Finch, Sr. Professor of Marketing, for identifying an extremely strong pool of finalists for the deanship.

Sheppard, a native of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, received his bachelor and master’s degrees from the University of Western Ontario and his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois. Sheppard joined Fuqua’s faculty in 1981 as an assistant professor of organizational behavior and was named associate professor in 1986. He was named professor of management and associate dean and director of executive education in 1993. In 1997, Sheppard became senior associate dean for academic programs, before being named CEO and president of Duke Corporate Education in 2000.

His numerous honors include the Canada Council Doctoral Fellowship, the first North Carolina NationsBank Outstanding Faculty Award, the Outstanding Book Award from the International Association for Conflict Management and the Duke University Psychology Majors’ Union Faculty Award.

Sheppard is married to Martha Putallaz, a professor of psychology and director of Duke’s Talent Identification Program. They have two sons: Philip, a 2006 Duke graduate who is now a student at American University’s Washington College of Law, and Christopher, a Duke freshman.