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Professor Richard L. Schmalensee, an internationally recognized industrial economist, has been named the seventh dean of the Sloan School of Management. Professor Schmalensee, 54, served as deputy dean from 1996-98 and has been interim dean at Sloan since Glen L. Urban completed his five-year term in July.
Provost Robert A. Brown announced the appointment in an e-mail to the MIT community and at a "town meeting" Monday for students at the Sloan School, where the news was greeted with warm applause and a standing ovation. "Dick's appointment was recommended enthusiastically by the search committee led by Professor Stephen C. Graves and has been approved by the Executive Committee of the MIT Corporation," he said.
"Dick is a superb researcher and scholar who has already demonstrated his leadership talents as deputy dean of the School and director of the Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research [CEEPR]. During his years at MIT, Dick has been dedicated to enriching the intellectual connections within MIT while enhancing the quality of teaching, research and entrepreneurial innovation at Sloan. This balance has been a hallmark of the Sloan School and MIT as a whole. I look forward to working with him," Provost Brown said.
"It is a privilege and honor to accept this role -- one I take very seriously," Dean Schmalensee told students gathered in Wong Auditorium. "The timing of this town meeting is excellent. I am delighted that my first appearance as dean is with you -- our students."
MIT President Charles M. Vest said, "Dick Schmalensee is an outstanding leader and scholar with an international reputation in business, government and academia. He has served on the Council of Economic Advisers in the White House, is a respected and effective thinker on emissions trading and issues of global change, and is a highly sought expert in the economics of competition.
"With his deep understanding of the unique relationship among management, engineering, science, and social science at the Institute, he is well-suited to advance Sloan as a world-class business school educating leaders for the knowledge- and technology-driven global businesses and entrepreneurial enterprises of the future."
Former President George Bush said, "The Sloan School of Management has chosen well in selecting Dick Schmalensee as its new dean. Dick was a valued member of my Council of Economic Advisers, and MIT is lucky to have him."
Schmalensee has also served on the Environmental Protection Agency's Environmental Economic Advisory Committee and chaired its Advisory Council on Clean Air Act Compliance Analysis. He now serves on the National Research Council's Committee on National Statistics.
Professor Schmalensee is the Gordon Y Billard Professor of Economics and Management at Sloan and director of CEEPR. Recognized widely as an authority on the economics of industrial markets and on regulatory and antitrust policy, he is often sought by private industry for his counsel. He serves as a Microsoft economist and expert witness in the current antitrust case, and he has been a consultant to numerous private firms and government agencies, including the antitrust division of the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission.
"Dick Schmalensee commands enormous respect in both policy and business communities for his penetrating analysis and wise counsel in addressing solutions. I am confident that he will lead the Sloan School with distinction -- further increasing the business community's respect for the institution," said Kathleen B. Cooper, chief economist at Exxon Corp.
Before joining MIT in 1977, Professor Schmalensee (SB 1965, PhD) was an associate professor at the University of California at San Diego and a visiting professor at the Harvard Business School. He is the first undergraduate alumnus of MIT to assume the dean post.
"I am deeply honored to be chosen to lead the MIT Sloan School's management team at this time of significant change and growth," Professor Schmalensee said. "This is a tremendous opportunity to build on the success that Glen Urban achieved as dean and to enhance and solidify Sloan's leadership role.
"As dean, I want to concentrate on four goals: driving continuous improvement in our MBA program and in the provision of services to students; enhancing facilities and infrastructure; deepening connections within Sloan and within MIT; and improving linkages with the business community -- locally, nationally and globally."
The author of three books and co-author of three others, Professor Schmalensee has published more than 100 articles in professional journals and books. His research centers on industrial economics and its application to managerial and public policy. He is co-editor of the Handbook of Industrial Organization, a standard reference work. He is a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, a Fellow of the Econometric Society, a member of the International Academy of Management and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has served on the Executive and Budget Committees of the American Economic Association.
Professor Rudi Dornbusch, who co-authored a book with the new dean, said, "Dick Schmalensee is one of the foremost practitioners in the US economic policy community, a scholar and a doer. Sloan has done itself a favor." Dr. Dornbusch is the Ford Professor of Economics and International Management at the Sloan School.
Another co-author, Stanley Fischer, first deputy managing director of the International Monetary Fund, said the appointment "is excellent news for the Sloan School and MIT. He is an outstanding economist with a breadth of real-world experience and managerial skills that make him the right person to lead the School well into the next century."
Professor Schmalensee grew up in Belleville, IL. He received the SB in economics, politics, and science from MIT in 1965 and a doctorate in economics from MIT in 1970. He lives in Chestnut Hill with his wife, Diane, and their two sons.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on October 28, 1998.