Ross Names ‘Favorite Son’ Its New Dean

Scott Derue, director of the Ross Leadership Initiative, has been named dean of the Ross School

Scott Derue, faculty director of the Sanger Leadership Center and associate dean for Executive Education, has been named dean of the Ross School

The favorite son just got the job.

One of the most popular and most deserving young professors at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business today (May 19) was named the new dean. Scott DeRue, once honored as one of the world’s most outstanding 40 under 40 professors by Poets&Quants and conquerer of the world’s highest mountain, will succeed Alison Davis-Blake who is stepping down after a single five-year term on July 1.

The boyish-looking, 39-year-old management professor and associate dean of executive education is clearly a crowd favorite choice for Michigan Ross insiders. When he was named a top 40 under 40 professor, one student wrote, “Professor DeRue has had a tremendous impact on my life through his approach to teaching; he pulled me out of my comfort zone and helped me understand myself as a leader and the roots behind my leadership style.”

And when he climbed Mount Everest in 2013, a commenter on the Poets&Quants coverage heaped even more praise on the prof. “Scott DeRue is one of the best professors and life teachers I have ever had,” he wrote. “What a great accomplishment and future students will benefit greatly from what he teaches from this experience (see A B-School Prof Climbs Mount Everest).”


His appointment, approved by the Board of Regents on Thursday (May 19), occurs almost a year to the day when Davis-Blake, 57, announced that she decided to turn the focus of her professional service “to the broader problems and opportunities facing universities” and step down from the job. She is currently deciding if she’ll stay at the school as a professor after serving as Ross’ first female dean. DeRue’s appointment follows the work of a search committee chaired by Sue Ashford, chair of Ross’ management and organizations department. A dozen of the 13 search committee members are all affiliated with the business school.

The university’s provost was generous in her praise for Davis-Blake’s successor. “Scott’s deep knowledge of leadership and the value of continuous learning are evident in his research and teaching and will contribute to his effectiveness as dean of the Ross school,” said U-M Provost Martha Pollack in a written statement. “Under his leadership, the school will build on its already-impressive contributions to business education at every level and achieve even greater distinction.”

In keeping with today’s social media age, the school quickly dispatched a video message from DeRue in which he enthusiastically cited the school’s top five rankings in such fields as leadership and management, entrepreneurship, accounting, operations and supply chain management. “The strength of our network is rated top five in the world,” proclaimed DeRue.”I walk these halls and i feel energized. I am excited about the future. Michigan ross is the best business school in the world, the best to develop leaders who make a positive difference.”


In an interview with Poets&Quants, DeRue said that his initial areas of emphasis as dean will be a continued investment in Ross’s faculty, the objective of creating transformational experiences for students, and a renewed commitment and investment to the school’s global resources.

“At the end of the day,” he says, “I think it’s the experiences we are creating for students. And what we can promise them in terms of these transformational student experiences, really drawing on our commitment to the platform on action-based learning, world-class faculty, recruiters that are highly committed to the school and love our students.

“My belief is if we do all of those things right, we have world class faculty that are great teachers and researchers, we admit wonderful students and then give them transformational experiences and then we cultivate our relationships with recruiters and corporate partners. You put all of that together and the rankings take care of themselves. I could not be more excited about the future of this school and I am humbled and honored to serve.”

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