UK Names New Dean for Gatton College of Business and Economics

University of Kentucky Provost David Blackwell on Wednesday announced that Simon J. Sheather has been selected as the next dean of UK’s Gatton College of Business and Economics, pending approval by the UK Board of Trustees.

Sheather currently is professor and interim director of Texas A&M University’s Institute of Data Science, as well as academic director of MS (Analytics) and Online Programs in the Department of Statistics. Texas A&M, like UK, is a member of the Southeastern Conference.

“We are delighted that Professor Sheather is joining us as dean of the Gatton College,” Blackwell said. “His outstanding faculty credentials, his strong record of leadership, and the incredible level of energy he brings to this important position all are attributes, which will serve the college and our university very well.”

A native of Australia, Sheather received numerous awards for his teaching, research, and mentorship during an 18-year tenure at the Australian Graduate School of Management, part of the University of New South Wales. Upon joining the faculty at Texas A&M in 2005, Sheather served as chair of the Department of Statistics for nine years. While at Texas A&M, he personally started from scratch two professional master’s programs, both of which make innovative use of technology. In addition, he led development efforts, which raised substantial funds from alumni and companies.

Sheather also has extensive experience working with industry and government developing practical predictive models for big data.

Sheather is impressed with the academic excellence of the Gatton College and is looking forward to continuing to grow undergraduate and graduate student enrollment. He plans to propose an online version of the University of Kentucky MBA program, which the Gatton faculty have been in the process of developing.

“When I visited the Gatton College during the interview process at UK, I was struck by the intelligence and enthusiasm of the students, the outstanding quality of the faculty in their commitment to teaching and research, and the dedication of the staff,” Sheather said. “And when you add in the marvelous new facilities the college’s alumni and friends have made possible through their philanthropy, I could not be more excited about this opportunity.”

Sheather graduated with 1st Class Honours in mathematical statistics from the University of Melbourne, before earning his Ph.D. in statistics from La Trobe University, also located in Australia. His academic career includes visiting professorships at Pennsylvania State University and the Stern School of Business at New York University.

Sheather is expected to start his new job July 1. He will succeed longtime Gatton marketing faculty member Steve Skinner, who has been serving as the college’s interim dean since Jan. 1.