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Last modified: Thursday, May 9, 2013

Idalene Kesner selected as dean of Indiana University's Kelley School of Business

May 9, 2013

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Idalene "Idie" Kesner, an accomplished educator, administrator and leading researcher on strategic management, will head Indiana University's Kelley School of Business as its next dean, pending approval by the IU Board of Trustees.

Idalene Kesner

Idalene Kesner

Print-Quality Photo

Kesner, who becomes the first woman to lead the nationally acclaimed business school, has served as interim dean since October 2012.

Lauren Robel, IU executive vice president and provost of the Bloomington campus, announced today that she would recommend Kesner, who had been associate dean of faculty and research and the Frank P. Popoff Chair of Strategic Management, to the trustees at the board's next meeting June 20 and 21.

Kesner's appointment comes at the end of an exhaustive national search process. She succeeds Dan Smith, who left after a successful seven-year tenure as dean to become president of the IU Foundation.

"The university conducted a thorough national search for a new dean at the Kelley School, commensurate with its reputation as one of the finest business schools in the world, and Idie Kesner was a clear and compelling choice for the role," said Indiana University President Michael A. McRobbie. "Idie is an internationally recognized business scholar and a renowned teacher who has played several vital leadership roles at Kelley during her 18 years at the school.

"Many of the school's most prestigious programs, such as our Full-Time MBA Program and Department of Management and Entrepreneurship, have Idie's clear imprint on them, and her passion for IU and the Kelley School are unmatched," McRobbie added. "I am confident that, under her leadership, the Kelley School will build on the outstanding legacy left by former dean and current IU Foundation President Dan Smith and continue to be home to some of the finest business educators, scholars and students anywhere."

Kesner joined the Kelley School faculty in 1995, coming from a titled faculty position at the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

She was chairwoman of Kelley's Full-Time MBA Program from August 2003 to August 2006 and chairwoman of the Department of Management and Entrepreneurship from October 2006 to June 2009. From 1996 to 2003, she co-directed the school's Consulting Academy.

A 14-member search and screen committee underwent a thorough and extensive selection process, which attracted "many dozens" of qualified candidates, said Matthew Auer, dean of the Hutton Honors College, a professor in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs and chair of the search committee.

"The search committee, led by Dean Auer, was extremely diligent in identifying the best candidates," Robel said. "Faculty, staff, students and alumni on both the Bloomington and IUPUI campuses were involved in engaging the finalists on their vision for the school. Idie's selection reflects her superlative capabilities and credentials, and I am delighted to pass on the committee's recommendation to the trustees."

"The pool of candidates was outstanding, which shouldn't be surprising because Kelley's reputation is so strong," Auer added. "Idie Kesner is quintessentially prepared for this job. She is superbly accomplished and is going to do amazing things for Kelley."

Kesner will lead a school established in 1920 that is consistently ranked highly by peer academics, corporate recruiters, business developers and national business publications such as Bloomberg Businessweek, the Financial Times and U.S. News & World Report. Kelley's undergraduate program was ranked No. 1 in a Bloomberg Businessweek survey of corporate recruiters. Last fall, the school received three No. 1 rankings in MBA student surveys by the publication: career services, teaching quality and student satisfaction.

"Being selected as the dean of the Kelley School is an honor of a lifetime for me," Kesner said. "As a graduate of the school, I can say with certainty that the successes I have had throughout my career are attributable to the great education and countless opportunities afforded to me by the Kelley School and its alumni network of nearly 100,000 living alums.

"The quality of the Kelley faculty and students, the support of the administration of Indiana University and the generosity of the Kelley School's corporate partners, alumni and donors make this the top dean's job of any business school in the nation," she added. "I feel privileged to be stepping into the position, and I look forward to working with the faculty, students and all Kelley School partners for many years to come."

The Kelley School offers undergraduate and graduate education programs to about 5,600 full-time students on its Bloomington campus and another 1,600 students on its Indianapolis campus. Enrollment in its Kelley Direct online MBA program -- which earlier this year was ranked third by U.S. News -- also is close to 1,000 students.

Kesner received both her MBA and Ph.D. in business administration from IU; her doctorate was awarded in 1983. She also earned a bachelor's degree in business administration from Southern Methodist University in 1979.

Kesner has repeatedly been recognized for her teaching, winning 24 teaching awards during her career. Most recently, in 2012, she won a teaching award from Sungkyunkwan University in South Korea, which has a joint MBA Program with the Kelley School.

She has taught in more than 100 executive programs and served as a consultant for many different national and international firms working on strategic issues. Her research has focused on the areas of corporate boards of directors, chief executive succession, corporate governance, and mergers and acquisitions.