Duane Ireland was born and raised in Lima, Ohio as part of a family of “railroaders.” He has found memories of hearing stories from his great-grandfather about making certain that trains reached their destinations in a timely manner regardless of the challenges encountered, including those of inclement winter weather conditions. For a young boy, these stories conjured images of brave people trying their best to serve others through their work. For Ireland, following in the footsteps of his great grandfather and grandfather to pursue jobs with the Baltimore and Ohio (B&O) Railroad company was the logical path for him to take as a career choice.

Unexpected circumstances created different possibilities for Ireland, though. Raised by his mother and grandmother, the three of them left Ohio and moved to Amarillo, TX where his mother and grandmother began working at the Amarillo Air Force base. Ireland entered the seventh grade at this time. He continued with music, playing the clarinet, saxophone, and piano. He started playing these instruments at a young age as a result of influences from his grandmother and great grandmother, both of whom thought that being a musician would be a wonderful life for their grandson and great grandson.

Being a First-Generation Student

Ireland’s family encouraged him strongly to become the first among them to attend college. This strong support was instrumental in his decision to pursue a college-level education. Although involved deeply with music through his high school days, he did not desire to pursue music as a college major, concluding that he lacked the passion (and the talent!) to become a professional musician. Because of his developing interest in understanding how some organizations are able to serve stockholders and societies effectively, he decided to major in management at Texas Tech University as an undergraduate student. “I really enjoyed studying management and its role in organizations’ success. Because of this, I decided to remain at Tech to pursue my MBA degree,” Ireland said.

With a master’s degree in hand, Ireland accepted a position as a strategic planner for a regional government agency serving the Lubbock, TX area. He enjoyed this work, both from the perspective of helping people as well as from trying to understand why some agencies were more successful than others.

Wanting to learn more about factors leading to organizational success caused Ireland to return to Texas Tech to pursue his PhD. Focusing on strategic management and entrepreneurship, he accepted a position as an assistant professor at Oklahoma State University (OSU) following completion of the terminal degree.  Ireland noted that “my time at OSU was wonderful in that I worked with terrific colleagues, one of whom—Mike Hitt–became a career-long collaborator.” While their paths diverged for a while, Ireland and Hitt found themselves both working in Mays Business School beginning in 2004. In addition to spending six years at OSU, Ireland held appointments at Baylor University (17 years) and the University of Richmond (four years) prior to becoming an Aggie.

Scholarship as a Critical Part of His Career

An active researcher, Ireland’s scholarship finds him examining questions related to strategic entrepreneurship, merger and acquisition success, and organizational learning routines, among other topics. Over the years, he served in many editorial positions including a three-year term as editor of the Academy of Management Journal. He also served as the 69th president of the Academy of Management. He is a Fellow of the Academy of Management and the Strategic Management Society and is a university distinguished professor at Texas A&M University. He is a recipient of an Association of Former Students’ Distinguished Achievement Award for research.

Throughout his career, Ireland has held numerous leadership positions, beginning with an initial term as head of the department of management at Baylor. At Mays Business School, his leadership positions are those of Head of the Department of Management, Executive Associate Dean, Associate Dean for Research and Scholarship, Acting Dean, and now Interim Dean. “I am honored by the opportunities I have had to serve students, staff, faculty, and other stakeholders in various leadership roles. In each instance, my commitment has been and is to work as hard and as effectively as possible to be a good steward of the trust that others place in me,” Ireland said.

Service as Interim Dean

Ireland says the following to describe his leadership philosophy: “I believe very strongly that collaborating to integrate our efforts allows us to rely on synergy as a means of creating value for those we seek to serve.” In his view, synergistic collaborations are the foundation through which Mays can create value for its students and for the entire university community. As Interim Dean, Ireland recognizes the abundance of talent among Mays Business School’s students, staff, faculty, and supporters. By relying on this talent, he is confident that Mays Business School’s best days are to come. “I am very proud to be an Aggie and to be a part of Mays Business School and Texas A&M University. Truly, the possibilities in front of us are endless and incredibly exciting. I look forward to what I know will be a fascinating and highly-productive time for us in the years to come,” he said.

Categories: Deanspeak, Diversity and Inclusion, Featured Stories, Mays Business, News, Perspectives, Texas A&M

R. Duane Ireland, the new interim dean of Mays Business School, has a proven track record for stepping up to serve his beloved university. Since joining the faculty at Texas A&M University as a Professor of Management nearly 20 years ago, Ireland has served in several other leadership roles at Mays Business School – including department head, interim department head, interim executive associate dean, executive associate dean, associate dean of research and scholarship, and acting dean.

With his trademark quick wit, Ireland humbly quips that “I’m still trying to decide what to be when I grow up.” Like most entrepreneurs and CEOs, he is accustomed to wearing many different hats to serve Mays, which educates nearly 6,300 students in accounting, finance, information systems and operations management, management, and marketing. Ireland is also a University Distinguished Professor of Management and holds the Benton Cocanougher Chair in Business.

Ireland exemplifies an important aspect of the school’s mission, which is to “Create Impactful Knowledge.” Ireland’s research focuses on the intersection between entrepreneurship and innovation, strategic entrepreneurship, and effective strategic leadership practices. He has authored or co-authored more than 20 books, has multiple publications in major journals, and is recognized among the most frequently cited economics and business researchers. In 2017, Ireland received the Lifetime Achievement Award, the highest award given to a Mays faculty member for sustained and outstanding scholarly contributions. He is also a recipient of The Association of Former Students’ Award for Research, and is a Fellow of the Academy of Management and of the Strategic Management Society.

“We are grateful to Dr. Ireland for his willingness to serve Mays Business School as interim dean,” said Mark H. Weichold, interim provost and executive vice president, in this recent announcement. “He is well-positioned to help transition Mays Business School to its next chapter of success.”

Ireland considers it “an honor” to help build on the achievements of several former Mays Business School deans including Eli Jones who, after six years of service as dean, returned to the faculty in the Department of Marketing as a full professor and as a holder of an endowed chair. Under Jones’ leadership, the school worked together to create and implement a strategic plan that is elevating the school across multiple dimensions. As part of this plan, Mays Business School’s vision became “Advancing the World’s Prosperity,” which means providing a better future for generations who follow, including quality of life, the environment, and economic systems.

An avid runner in his free time (with over 65,000 miles logged so far), Ireland knows that adapting to new situations is an important skill for going the distance. “This is a very exciting time at Mays Business School,” Ireland said. “One of the reasons for a high level of excitement is that we are launching the design and construction phase of the Business Education Complex (BEC), a proposed 75,000 square-foot expansion with expected occupancy in the Summer of 2024 or the Spring of 2025.”

With an eye to the future, Ireland identifies ‘synergy’ as the word that captures what he aims to accomplish in his new role. “In this sense, we seek to achieve a greater combined impact through our collaborations compared to the sum of what we would derive from individual actions,” said Ireland. “These efforts include fostering collaborative partnerships among faculty, staff, students, our alumni network of over 64,000 former students, and the broader university to create communities in which all members feel a sense of belonging and support.”

A native of Lima, Ohio, Ireland is the first in his family to earn a college degree and wholeheartedly supports first-generation students at Texas A&M, which make up close to 25 percent of the undergraduate population. He earned his Ph.D. and MBA from Texas Tech University, where he is a Distinguished Alumnus of the Rawls College of Business.

Ireland and his wife Mary Ann have two adult children. “Texas A&M University means a lot to us,” Ireland said. “We feel very blessed to be here. It’s a university with a great vision and mission, and Mays Business School is such a positive community of which to be a part.”

Categories: Deanspeak, Faculty, Featured Stories, Management, Mays Business, News, Research, Texas A&M

Amid Black Lives Matter protests this summer, the 14 college of business deans of the Southeastern Conference (SEC) decided to make a joint statement in support of diversity, equity and inclusion in their programs.

They are “soundly committed to fostering a sense of community that is welcoming to and respectful of all individuals — students, faculty and staff,” their statement read… read more.

Categories: Deanspeak, Diversity and Inclusion, DR Eli Jones, Featured Stories, Mays Business, News, Perspectives, Texas A&M

What do ExxonMobil, Microsoft, IBM, Cisco Systems, Procter & Gamble, Hewlett-Packard, Walmart, Intel, Pfizer and General Electric have in common? A recent Harvard Business Review article by William Lazonick (“Profits without Prosperity”) identified these companies as being the greatest stock repurchasers for the 10-year period 2003 to 2012, with ExxonMobil leading the way at $207 billion. When considering the $80 billion of dividends paid and net income of $347 billion earned during this period, ExxonMobil returned 83 percent of its income to shareholders.

While this seems high, of these 10 companies, ExxonMobil was one of only three (along with Walmart and General Electric) to return less than all of their net income to shareholders through dividends and repurchases. Hewlett-Packard, whose recent problems have been well-chronicled, actually returned $73 billion to its shareholders while earning “only” $41 billion of net income!

Any discussion of the merits of share repurchases and dividends should consider alternative uses of the funds. For a number of years, Apple did not repurchase its shares or pay dividends, deciding instead to invest the funds in research and development and create new products. In 2012, after deciding to pay dividends and repurchase shares, Apple’s stock experienced difficulties, with some citing the company”™s failure to develop new products and technologies. Activist investor Carl Icahn recently withdrew his proposal for Apple to repurchase an additional $50 billion of its stock after receiving a “no” recommendation from proxy advisor Institutional Shareholder Services.

While large dividends and repurchases provide capital to shareholders, they may have unforeseen adverse consequences. An example cited by “Profits without Prosperity” was Intel executives’ lobbying efforts for the U.S. government to increasing spending on nanotechnology research in the mid-2000s.

Interestingly, from 2001 to 2013, Intel’s stock buybacks were almost four times the budget of the National Nanotechnology Institute. This raises the question about what is more important: returning capital to shareholders or investing in technological and business advances? One group of companies feels that short-term returns to shareholders are more important than building long-term value.

Categories: Deanspeak

This was the question posed in a recent editorial in The Wall Street Journal commenting on United States tax policy.Within the past month, Medtronic agreed to acquire a rival medical-device manufacturer (Covidien) for $42.9 billion. Pfizer’s offer of $119 billion to acquire biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca was rejected. These large transactions raise the normal questions about the purpose of an acquisition, which can include filling gaps in product or service offerings, exploiting operating synergies and bringing products and services into new markets. Now, it appears a fourth incentive for an acquisition has emerged: establishing legal residencies overseas in an effort to reduce taxes.

These inversions (situations where an acquiring company assumes the legal domicile of the acquired company) provide two potential tax benefits. First, the United States corporate rate of 35% is among the highest in the world, and there is little optimism that Congress will reduce this rate in the near future. Second, U.S. tax laws assess an additional tax on profits earned outside of the United States that are returned for use in the United States. Several companies with large cash balances (most notably, Apple) have issued debt to fund dividends and stock repurchases rather than pay the additional taxes on foreign profits.

Consider the case of Medtronic, which earned $4.2 billion prior to taxes in 2013. Using a U.S. tax rate of 40% (35% corporate rate and state and local taxes), the tax bill would be $1.7 billion. Based on Covidien’s Ireland domicile and 12.5% corporate tax rate, the taxes on this would be $525 million, a savings of almost $1.2 billion. The average European Union rate of 21% or average Asia rate of 22% are almost one-half of the U.S. rates. The answer is simple: The United States needs to engage in serious corporate tax reform to be competitive with the rest of the world or watch companies, jobs and investments move to more tax-friendly havens.

Categories: Deanspeak

With the recent release of the Bloomberg Businessweek undergraduate program rankings, this year’s ranking season is complete. I am pleased to report that Mays Business School achieved an all-time best ranking of 29th overall and 9th among public institutions.

Categories: Deanspeak

2014 has gotten off to a wild beginning…for the stock market. Despite hitting an all-time high closing value on January 15, the S&P 500 declined by 3.5% during the month of January (although it recovered to eclipse its all-time high on February 27).

Categories: Deanspeak

Every fall, a great deal of attention is given to universities competing against one another. Events are contested across the United States and rankings are released after each week’s competition. Of course, I am talking about NCAA football games and Bowl Championship Series Rankings. However, the competition is just as fierce in the business school world.

Categories: Deanspeak

On September 11, Twitter announced (through a tweet, naturally) it is considering an initial public offering. This announcement recalled memories of Facebook’s recent IPO, along with similar questions. Is this the beginning of another tech bubble? How does the market value social media enterprises? What impact will public company status have on an entrepreneurial venture? Will the demand for shares create a frenzy that causes technical market glitches on the first day of trading? However, one additional question will be raised that Facebook did not face: How profitable is Twitter?

Categories: Deanspeak

In the past year, there have been few topics discussed more frequently at universities than the emergence of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). MOOCs are online courses aimed at large-scale interactive participation and open access via the web. In addition to traditional course materials such as videos, readings and problem sets, MOOCs provide interactive user forums for students, professors and teaching assistants.

Categories: Deanspeak