UC Irvine appoints new dean of business school

by TOM BERG

UC Irvine has appointed an internationally recognized expert in human resource management, Ian Williamson, to lead its business school.

On Jan. 1, he will succeed Eric Spangenberg as dean of UCI’s Paul Merage School of Business, which consistently ranks among the nation’s top 5% accredited business programs.

“The school is well positioned to lead the next evolution of business education,” Williamson says. “It has world-class research faculty and professional staff, links to the vibrant Orange County business community, and strong ties to civic society.”

Williamson, born and raised in Chicago, currently serves as pro vice-chancellor and dean of the Wellington School of Business and Government at Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand.

While there, he has worked with executives in more than 20 countries for companies such as CBRE, PwC, Lockheed Martin, Nestle and Accenture.

Williamson says that a business school must be connected to its local business community, which in Irvine includes world-class industries in life sciences, medical technology and health care.

“The first priority will be ensuring that the engines of growth that are creating the excitement in Irvine are part of our curriculum, our research and our activity so we can prepare the next generation of leaders to continue with that,” he says.

Williamson is impressed by UCI’s efforts to embrace diversity, not just ethnically but for a wide range of experiences. The Paul Merage School of Business is ranked No. 1 in the world for percentage of female faculty by Financial Times.

“The other big goal for me would be making sure that our business school is really at the front edge of driving inclusiveness and diversity in economic activity,” he says. “That would have been a goal of mine no matter what, but it is probably a priority of even greater importance given what is happening right now in the United States.”