This past April, Darden Dean Robert “Bob” Bruner announced his intention to step down from his position at the helm of the University of Virginia (UVA) business school after a decade-long tenure. This week, the UVA search committee announced in a press release that Scott C. Beardsley, a senior partner at McKinsey & Company, will succeed Bruner starting on August 1. Beardsley will serve as the school’s ninth dean and will also assume the Charles C. Abbott Professorship in Business Administration, a role typically held by the MBA program’s dean.
Darden Professor Kenneth Eades, who chaired the search committee, explained in an email to the Darden community that the final candidates for the deanship “took part in a rigorous and careful selection process, with representation from Darden’s various stakeholder groups, including alumni.” UVA Provost and Executive Vice President John D. Simon similarly emphasized the “highly competitive and global pool of candidates” from which the new dean was chosen, adding that Beardsley “brings to Darden a deep and global understanding of business.”
Beardsley is a graduate of Tufts University, as well as an MIT Sloan alumnus, and is expected to complete an executive doctorate in higher education management at the University of Pennsylvania in May. Having first started at McKinsey in 1989, he reportedly rose to senior partner faster than most. With experience in such varied areas of research as global strategy, regulation of the knowledge economy, and climate change mitigation, Beardsley has spoken at the World Economic Forum at Davos and is currently chair of the board of directors of the American Chamber of Commerce in Belgium.
“I believe deeply in Darden’s values and its clear and focused mission to improve the world by developing responsible leaders and advancing knowledge,” Beardsley stated. “I am very excited to be part of the University of Virginia family, and its Jeffersonian commitment to excellence.”
Beardsley is expected to “build upon the strong legacy of Bob Bruner,” commented UVA President Teresa A. Sullivan. The change may be among the most significant for Darden in the past ten years, but Sullivan asserts that Darden “is moving from strength to strength.”