Deanspeak | Mays Impacts

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: Dean Eli Jones, Deanspeak, Diversity and Inclusion, 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

In late spring, corporate shareholders’ meetings and votes begin to dominate the business world. This year, the issue of separating the Chairman and CEO roles has received increased scrutiny because of a highly-publicized vote at J.P. Morgan over the fate of its Chairman/CEO, Jamie Dimon. Often, these proposals and the resulting votes reflect shareholder dissatisfaction (in this case, over the infamous “London Whale” trading scandal) rather than issues related to performance of the incumbent or a desire for good governance practice.

Categories: Deanspeak