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Ortalo-Magné named dean of the Wisconsin School of Business

July 8, 2011 By Stacy Forster

François Ortalo-Magné, Robert E. Wangard Professor and chair of the Real Estate and Urban Land Economics Department at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, has been named the Albert O. Nicholas Dean of the Wisconsin School of Business.


“François brings creativity for enhancing the educational experience of Wisconsin business students — during and after their time on campus — as well as a commitment to high-quality research and visionary leadership,” says Provost Paul M. DeLuca, Jr.

Ortalo-Magné is an expert in the economics of the housing market. He first gained tenure in the Economics Department at the London School of Economics and held visiting appointments at leading academic institutions, including the London Business School and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

He has received awards in recognition of his research and service to the real estate profession, served as an advisor to various governments around the world on housing and land policy issues, and been a regular keynote speaker at global real estate industry events.

As chair of the Real Estate and Urban Land Economics Department, Ortalo-Magné grew alumni involvement across degree programs and expanded the unit’s reach internationally. In 2010, he orchestrated a unique partnership with the top business schools on three continents — Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, INCAE Costa Rica, and HEC Paris — making the Wisconsin School of Business the destination for their students’ real estate training. In the process, he inaugurated a new type of international degree within the UW System.

“I am convinced the Wisconsin School of Business is capable of greatness. And we do not have a choice,” says Ortalo-Magné. “We must respond to the globalization of higher education and the revolution in information technologies. I am excited about the opportunity to lead our school, building on our values and the strength of our specializations, renewing and reinventing how we partner with the world and colleagues around campus.”

Ortalo-Magné succeeds Michael Knetter, who now serves as president and chief executive officer of the University of Wisconsin Foundation.

In 2007, Knetter orchestrated the first-of-its-kind gift totaling $85 million from a small group of alumni who formed the Wisconsin Naming Partnership to support the school’s mission and preserve the Wisconsin name for at least 20 years. This gift has since grown to more than $95 million.

“Dean Knetter left us a strong foundation to build upon, not least of which the Wisconsin Naming Partnership, a breakthrough innovation in the funding of business education,” says Ortalo-Magné. “Together, we will bring forth further such innovations to redefine how we serve our students, the state and the world.”

When Ortalo-Magné begins his new role on Sept. 1, he will be welcomed by Joan Schmit, the American Family Insurance Professor of Risk Management and Insurance, who has served as interim dean of the Wisconsin School of Business since October 2010.

“François has the intellectual energy and ambition to help the School of Business reach new levels,” says UW–Madison Chancellor Biddy Martin. “I am impressed by his work on the international front and am confident that he will consolidate and enhance the gains made under Mike Knetter’s leadership. I also thank Joan Schmit for her outstanding service as interim dean.”

Faculty, academic staff, students, an alumnus, and member of Wisconsin’s business community comprised a 16-member search-and-screen committee that made its recommendations for the selection of the dean to the chancellor and provost.

Ortalo-Magné, 43, is married and the father of a twin boy and girl. He will earn a salary of $410,000. His salary will be covered by the Albert O. Nicholas endowment and contributions from the UW–Madison central administration.

The Wisconsin School of Business is recognized worldwide for scholarship and highly ranked educational programs that influence business and public policy and transform the lives of students.

Each year, Wisconsin educates nearly 2,500 undergraduate, MBA, Evening MBA, Executive MBA, master of science, master’s in accounting and Ph.D. students.

About 3,000 professionals also participate each year in open enrollment and custom executive education programs. In addition, Wisconsin provides outstanding opportunities for non-business students to gain critical business fundamentals and focused training through select courses, certificates and other programs.