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Stanford Report, March 8, 2000

Three new endowed chairs for Stanford Business School; four other faculty named to fill current chairs

Three new endowed chairs have been created at the Stanford Business School. In addition, four faculty members have been named to existing endowed chairs.

The Jeffrey S. Skoll Professorship was created with a gift from the Internet executive who received his MBA from the Business School in 1995. First recipient of the chair is Professor Garth Saloner, who was instrumental in creating the school's Center for Electronic Business and Commerce and who serves as codirector.

The first of three Adams Distinguished Professorships in Management was established with a gift from the Adams Family Foundation, founded by Stephen and Denise Adams of Santa Barbara. Stephen Adams is a 1962 Stanford MBA graduate. Professor Robert Wilson, who has created successful auction systems used by the state of California and the Federal Communications Commission, is the first to hold an Adams chair.

The David S. and Ann M. Barlow Professorship in Management was established with a gift from David and Ann Barlow of Wellesley, Mass. David Barlow is a 1985 MBA graduate of the Business School. The first chair holder is Professor David P. Baron, a leading scholar in the field of political economy.

Michael Spence, an economist who stepped down last fall after nine years as dean to return to teaching, has been named to the Atholl McBean Professorship. He is the second faculty member to hold the chair.

In addition, three other faculty members have been named to chairs for the first time. They are Anat Admati, a professor of finance and economics who has been named to the Joseph McDonald Professorship; Roderick Kramer, a professor of organizational behavior named to the William R. Kimball Professorship; and Joel Podolny, a professor of strategic management and organizational behavior named to the William R. Timken Professorship. All the appointments will be effective in September 2000.

Dean Robert L. Joss announced the new chairs and the chair holders at a faculty reception on Feb. 29. "These chairs are an important acknowledgment of the academic work done at the Business School," said Joss. "In presenting the gifts that created these chairs, the donors honor the school with their generous support for the research and teaching done here. The school's 43 endowed chairs allow us to give special recognition to the outstanding work of specific faculty members who are leaders in their fields and whose work shapes the world's understanding of important issues."

In creating the endowed chair that bears his name, Jeffrey Skoll asked that it go to a faculty member whose accomplishments and research focus on entrepreneurship, business innovation and/or the significance of electronic technologies in business practice. The first chair holder, Garth Saloner, who will be known as the Jeffrey S. Skoll Professor of Electronic Commerce, Strategic Management and Economics, was a founding member of Stanford's successful Computer Industry Project. During Winter Quarter, Saloner and colleague Michael Spence successfully introduced a new course on electronic commerce that included preparing 14 new cases illustrating the effects of electronic commerce on business in areas such as logistics, auctions, pricing, alliances and global strategies.

Skoll founded two companies in Toronto before attending the Business School. He later became the first employee of eBay Inc., a firm that has created a new market for one-to-one trading in an auction format on the Web. Skoll is among the youngest graduates to support the university with a major gift. He also pledged an additional gift to cofound the Center for Electronic Business and Commerce.

The gift from the Adams Family Foundation will be used to create three Adams Distinguished Professorships of Management that will be awarded to the school's most eminent scholars, individuals of unusual stature who have distinguished themselves at Stanford, nationally and internationally through contributions to their academic disciplines and their teaching.

Denise Adams is an artist. Stephen Adams is chairman of Affinity Group Holdings of Ventura, Calif. One activity connected to Affinity is the million-member Good Sam Club for recreational vehicle owners. Affinity Group Holdings also includes brokerage, insurance, thrift and loan, and retail companies. One of Stephen Adams' four sons received his MBA from the Business School in 1991.

Robert Wilson, who will be the first to hold an Adams chair, has been a major contributor to auction designs and competitive bidding strategies. He was one of the creators of the innovative auction system used by the Federal Communications Commission to sell radio spectrum licenses for wireless technologies and also the auction system used by the state of California as it deregulated its electric power industry. He is a principal of the Stanford Center on Conflict and Negotiation and an expert on game theory and its applications to business and economics.

The third new chair was created by David S. and Ann M. Barlow. David Barlow has had a distinguished career in the pharmaceutical industry. He spearheaded the turnaround of the Armour Pharmaceutical Division of Rhône-Poulenc Rorer before joining Sepracor to lead its Pharmaceutical Division's growth into a fully integrated company. In late 1999 he left Sepracor, where he had served as president of pharmaceuticals. Ann Barlow is involved in several projects concerning education for children. In creating the Barlow Professorship, the couple expressed a preference that the chair go to a faculty member involved in work in strategic public policy -- the non-market environment.

The first faculty member to hold the chair, David Baron, was instrumental in creating the school's interdisciplinary doctoral field of political economics. He received the doctoral students' first Faculty Distinguished Service Award in 1999. Baron has conducted research in the decision sciences, finance, economics and political science. Writing extensively on economics of regulation and on political economy, he has published several books and more than 60 articles in scholarly journals.

Michael Spence, who will fill the Atholl McBean Professorship, served as dean of the Business School from 1990 to 1999. He holds the John Bates Clark Medal, which recognizes contributions to economic thought, and is a fellow of the American Economic Association and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

The first-time chair holders represent the academic disciplines of finance and economics, organizational behavior and strategic management. Anat Admati is a finance theorist whose research involves market microstructure and trading with asymmetric information. She has received a National Science Foundation grant, an Alfred Sloan fellowship and a Batterymarch fellowship.

Roderick Kramer is a leading international figure in the social psychology of organizations. His work includes research on trust and cooperation in social systems, the origins and dynamics of conflict, entrepreneurship in organizations, and identity and decision making.

A professor of strategic management and organizational behavior, Joel Podolny is codirector of the Global Organization of Business Enterprise (GLOBE) Initiative, investigating the organizational structures and practices used by large firms to meet the challenges of the globalizing economy. With Professor John Roberts, Podolny created the MBA core course "Managing in the Global Economy." He also has served as interim faculty director of the School's Global Management Program. SR