Bruner named Darden dean
By Carol Wood
President John T. Casteen III announced Nov. 15 the appointment of Robert F. Bruner as dean of the Darden Graduate School of Business Administration.
Bruner, who began a one-year term in August, has accepted a new, five-year appointment. An internationally known mergers and acquisitions expert, he is a 23-year veteran of the Darden School, and its Distinguished Professor of Business Administration.
“Bob Bruner quickly began aggressively to pursue the Darden School’s global aspirations and to outline an exciting business agenda for the future,” Casteen said. “He has articulated his strategic vision for the school’s next 10 years, and included alumni, parents and students in that vision.”
Bruner also has targeted Asia as an area in which Darden would like to increase its admissions efforts and to connect with its alumni. He plans to travel there in early December. Next June, he will help launch Darden’s MBA for Executives, an innovative 21-month program for those who want to continue to work while studying for an advanced degree.
Casteen pointed to Bruner’s many strengths — including his scholarly works, his expertise in the classroom, his study of entrepreneurship and his international reputation — for setting him apart from the more than 270 applications and nominations received by the search committee. “Bob is simply the finest candidate to lead the Darden School as it faces the challenging task of preparing women and men to tackle a complex global economy,” said Casteen, who chaired the three-month search.
Bruner, a member of the faculty since 1982, served as executive director of The Batten Institute, an endowed foundation within the Darden School that focuses on entrepreneurship, innovation and corporate growth, from 2000 to 2004. His areas of teaching, research and writing include corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions, investing in emerging markets, innovation and technology transfer, and he is an often-quoted expert in the national news media. Bruner is the author of 16 books — most recently “Deals From Hell: M&A Lessons That Rise Above the Ashes” — plus 18 peer-reviewed journal articles and some 277 case studies. He was named one of Business Week’s “masters of the MBA classroom.”
“As a career-long member of the Darden community, I remain deeply honored by this opportunity to serve my institution. I will continue to build on what we have started here together,” Bruner said. “Darden is a community of high touch, high tone and high octane. High touch is the unparalleled level of interaction between students and faculty. High tone refers to the core values that Darden embodies — values shaped by our diverse community, the influences of Thomas Jefferson and the U.Va. Honor Code. High octane refers to our strong sense of community and the rigor embedded in our MBA program.”