Emory University today (May 19) named a senior associate dean of the University of Virginia’s Darden School as the new dean of the university’s Goizueta Business School. Erika Hayes James, who most recently headed up Darden’s executive education efforts, will assume her new role on July 15.
Her appointment–the first African-American woman to lead a highly ranked business school–was the result of an international search led by headhunting firm Heidrick and Struggles. James, 44, succeeds Larry Benveniste who had stepped down as dean last year after eight years in the job.
With a PhD in organizational psychology from the University of Michigan, James works at the intersection of organizational psychology and executive leadership. In addition to scholarly work in crisis leadership, James is an expert in executive leadership and academic administration. As an educator, she has received accolades from MBA students at both Darden and Harvard Business School, where she served as a visiting professor.
As a consultant to Fortune 500 clients, she has helped executives lead their organizations by developing skills in decision-making under pressure, seizing opportunities in crises and managing the change process afterwards, and promoting workplace diversity.
James hopes to deepen the connections between Goizueta and Atlanta’s business community, nonprofit organizations and other universities. “I see a real opportunity to align business thought leadership in Atlanta and, in the tradition of the academy, to bring research to bear on challenges,” James said in a statement. “I believe that the Goizueta Business School is a world-renowned school that is on the verge of greatness, and I want to be a part of helping the school reach that greatness.” She also sees opportunities to bring Goizueta’s business acumen together with Emory’s health care expertise to address the enormous national challenges facing health care delivery systems.
The announcement was made by university Provost Claire Sterk. “Erika James has all of the qualities that we want for a leader at Goizueta,” said Sterk in a statement. “She brings a background of impressive scholarship and strong skills in academic administration, and she will work collaboratively with faculty, students, staff, alumni and supporters to take the school to the next level—all the while honoring the principled leadership of Mr. Goizueta’s legacy.”
The announcement follows the loss of the school’s interim dean in March to Georgia Tech’s Scheller College of Business. Maryam Alavi, who has been serving as interim dean for nine months, was named to dean of Scheller in late March. She will assume that role on July 1.
The full-time MBA program at Goizueta is ranked No. 1 by Bloomberg Business Week for job placement, and four of the school’s degree programs rank in the top 25. Bloomberg consistently ranks the BBA program at Goizueta among the top 10 undergraduate programs. The school places a priority on its accessible, world-class faculty, who foster an intimate learning experience for students. Given the significant corporate and business presences and resources in Atlanta, Goizueta is positioned well for corporate partnerships, entrepreneurial activities and other collaborations with industry.