UCI News

UCI appoints Ian O. Williamson as dean of The Paul Merage School of Business

Leading international scholar brings academic, research, industry expertise to campus

May 20, 2020
UCI appoints Ian O. Williamson as dean of The Paul Merage School of Business
Ian O. Williamson is currently pro vice-chancellor and dean of the Wellington School of Business and Government at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. He will begin his new role as dean of UCI’s Paul Merage School of Business on Jan. 1, 2021. Courtesy of Ian O. Williamson

Irvine, Calif., May 20, 2020 — Ian O. Williamson, pro vice-chancellor and dean of the Wellington School of Business and Government at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, has been named dean of the University of California, Irvine’s Paul Merage School of Business. He will begin his new role on Jan. 1, 2021.

“Professor Williamson brings the depth and breadth of experience across disciplines, industries and continents that are necessary to meet the challenges of an evolving educational landscape within a global economy as we prepare the next generation of business leaders,” said UCI Chancellor Howard Gillman.

An internationally recognized human resource management expert, Williamson has been involved in the successful implementation of several key initiatives during his three-year tenure as pro vice-chancellor and dean. His accomplishments include the development and deployment of a faculty strategic plan to enhance postgraduate education, increased student diversity, expanded international partnerships in Asia and South America, the establishment of an entrepreneur and innovation program, and incorporation of technology into the curriculum.

In addition, Williamson oversaw the successful re-accreditation of the business school by EQUIS and the Association of MBAs, and he was tapped for membership on the governance board of the Wellington ICT Graduate School, a cross-faculty, inter-university industry partnership where five applied master’s degrees in the information technology sector were created.

Williamson was also a director of Wellington UniVentures, a wholly owned subsidiary of Victoria University of Wellington responsible for commercializing university academics’ intellectual property; was a member of the senior leadership subcommittee charged with the development and installation of a new, universitywide human resources information technology system; and directed the launch of the Atom innovation space to foster student entrepreneurship. Under his administration, more than $4 million in external funding was raised for staff hires and research and the 12-story Wellington School of Business and Government building underwent a $38 million refurbishment.

“It is a great honor to serve as the next dean of The Paul Merage School of Business,” Williamson said. “With its world-class research faculty and professional staff, links to the vibrant Orange County business community and strong ties to civic society, the school is well-positioned to lead the next evolution of business education. Now more than ever, business schools must play an instrumental role in promoting the economic and social well-being of communities.

“I look forward to working with the faculty, students and dedicated supporters to develop educational opportunities that help people realize the economic and social benefits created by innovation and ensure that members of all communities have access to the world-class education we provide.”

Williamson’s research examines the impact of talent pipelines on organizational and community outcomes and has been published in several prominent academic journals, been covered by top-tier media outlets around the world and received numerous awards. A passionate educator, he is also the recipient of many accolades in recognition of his innovative instructional approaches. He holds a Ph.D. in organizational behavior from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and previously held faculty positions at universities in the U.S., Switzerland, Australia and Indonesia.

“Professor Williamson is a proven leader with international business and academic experience that will help guide The Paul Merage School of Business into the future,” said Hal Stern, UCI interim provost and executive vice chancellor. “We look forward to his contributions to promoting a diverse, equitable and inclusive community; producing world-class teaching and research; and driving support for UCI’s leadership position in business education in a digitally driven world.”

During his 20-year career, Williamson has served on several academic committees and on the boards of directors for a variety of nonprofit organizations. In addition, he has provided expert insights in the areas of organizational innovation and employee recruitment and retention to executives in more than 20 countries across six continents for companies such as CBRE, PwC, Lockheed Martin, Nestle and Accenture.

The Merage School’s current dean, Eric Spangenberg, will transition to a faculty position in which he can reengage with full-time scholarship.

About the University of California, Irvine: Founded in 1965, UCI is the youngest member of the prestigious Association of American Universities. The campus has produced three Nobel laureates and is known for its academic achievement, premier research, innovation and anteater mascot. Led by Chancellor Howard Gillman, UCI has more than 36,000 students and offers 222 degree programs. It’s located in one of the world’s safest and most economically vibrant communities and is Orange County’s second-largest employer, contributing $5 billion annually to the local economy. For more on UCI, visit www.uci.edu.

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