The University of Notre Dame has a new business school dean — and he’s the same as the current dean. After a six-month search, the Mendoza College of Business will remove the “interim” tag from Martijn Cremers’ title. University President Rev. John I. Jenkins has named Cremers the Martin J. Gillen dean of Mendoza, effective July 1, exactly one calendar year since Cremers assumed the office in the wake of the departure of Dean Roger Huang.
Cremers, the Bernard J. Hank professor of finance, has taught at Notre Dame since 2012. In announcing his appointment, Jenkins called him “a distinguished scholar with a deep understanding of and commitment to Notre Dame’s distinctive mission,” adding that Cremers “will further the Mendoza College of Business’ work of making important contributions to research, training capable graduates who will be ethical leaders and encouraging us all to ask more of business.”
Cremers’ areas of expertise are investment management, corporate finance, corporate governance, corporate law, business ethics, and Catholic social thought. Before Notre Dame he spent 10 years teaching at Yale School of Management.
BIG SHOES TO FILL
Cremers’ predecessor, Roger Huang, is also a finance professor. He spent more than five years in the Mendoza deanship, during which the college saw considerable success in the B-school rankings. The undergraduate program debuted in the Poets&Quants ranking at No. 2 in 2016 and landed at No. 5 last year; meanwhile the school’s MBA program has held steady in the P&Q and other rankings, usually landing in the top 30: Most recently it was 29th in P&Q, 26th in U.S. News & World Report, and 22nd in Forbes. The Financial Times, which includes international schools in its ranking, placed Mendoza 58th, up from 60th the year before.
Huang’s term as dean had other highlights, among them a “pioneering” Master of Science in Management for non-business majors launched in 2013 that Huang deems “an unqualified success”; two Chicago-based master’s programs in finance and business analytics that followed in 2015 and 2016, bringing Mendoza’s graduate offerings to seven; a new undergraduate major in business analytics, introduced in 2017, that was immediately popular; and a dual MBA/MSBA, in which students earn two master’s degrees in two years. This fall, the college will welcome its first residential MSBA cohort.
“Globalization and rapid advances in technology necessitated changes in the way we educate, especially in the demand for one-year specialty programs,” Huang said in announcing his departure from the deanship last year. Meanwhile, “There have been many organizational changes to support these programs … But as dean, I’m proud of the thought leadership of our people and the constant focus on innovation.” Huang, currently on sabbatical, will return in the fall to his endowed finance professorship.
‘HONORED TO BE OFFERED THIS CHALLENGING NEW ROLE’
Huang’s successor, Cremers, is “a gifted scholar, teacher and leader who brings to this position an innovative business focus, global business perspective, the highest standards of excellence and integrity and a deep understanding of and dedication to Notre Dame’s Catholic mission,” said Thomas G. Burish, Charles and Jill Fischer provost at Notre Dame. “He is committed to partnering with the faculty to raise the level of research and instruction at Mendoza to even higher levels, and to help integrate Mendoza’s many strengths with other programs throughout the university.”
Cremers may be best known for the paper he co-authored, “How Active is Your Fund Manager? A New Measure that Predicts Performance” (published in 2009 in the Review of Financial Studies) which introduced “Active Share,” a tool for determining the extent of active mutual fund management by measuring the percentage of stock holdings in a manager’s portfolio that differs from the benchmark index. “Active Share” has become widely used in the financial industry.
A native of the Netherlands, Cremers earned his master’s degree from the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and his Ph.D. from New York University’s Stern School of Business. He has long-standing consulting relationships with various investment managers, including the All Pensions Group from the Netherlands and Touchstone Investments from Cincinnati. He serves as an independent director at Ariel Investments, an investment company located in Chicago, and as an external consultant with State Street Associates, State Street’s academic think tank and a division of State Street Global Exchange located in Boston. He and his wife Liesbeth reside in South Bend and have six children ages 2 to 15.
“I am honored to be offered this challenging new role at Notre Dame and look forward to working alongside our impressive group of faculty members and students as we confront the myriad business challenges and opportunities facing our society,” Cremers said in the school’s announcement. “I am grateful for the trust being placed in me and committed to advancing Mendoza’s distinctive mission as a Catholic business school, where we seek to educate business leaders who seek to contribute to human flourishing, cooperate in solidarity and compete with excellence.”