Dr. Christopher Puto has agreed to remain as dean of the Opus College of Business (OCB) for another year while a search for the next dean is under way. In addition, St. Thomas alumnus and trustee Timothy P. Flynn, recently retired chairman of KPMG International, has agreed to chair the Executive Committee of the Opus Strategic Board of Governors.
Puto announced in February that he intended to step down as dean on June 30 and transition to full-time faculty member. Father Dennis Dease, president, and Dr. Susan Huber, executive vice president and chief academic officer, along with the Opus Strategic Board of Governors, have asked Puto to remain in his position while the search for his successor is conducted.
“The OCB has made tremendous strides over the past few years,” Huber said, referring to the 2011 accreditation by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business and the recent No. 104 ranking in U.S. News & World Report. “By Chris remaining as dean until a successor is chosen, we will be able to continue the momentum created by the recent accreditation and ranking.”
Flynn, a member of the St. Thomas Board of Trustees and the Opus Strategic Board of Governors, has agreed to chair the Opus Executive Committee. He will maintain an office in the dean’s suite in Schulze Hall and, according to Dease, will be a regular presence on campus in the upcoming academic year.
“I’m delighted that Tim would choose to devote his extraordinary abilities and this kind of time and effort during this important transition in the college’s history,” Dease said. “I can’t think of a better person to assist the university and Chris during this chapter of change within OCB.”
Flynn is a 1979 St. Thomas accounting alumnus who spent his career at KPMG, where he worked in its Minneapolis office as an auditor after graduation before transferring to New York in 1997. He has held various roles throughout his 32-year career at KPMG. Most recently, in 2005 he served as chairman and CEO of KPMG in the United States and in 2007 he also became chairman of KPMG International. Flynn retired from KPMG in October 2011.
He joined the St. Thomas Board of Trustees in 2006 and serves on its Audit/Finance Committee. (For more information on Flynn, read a spring 2010 St. Thomas magazine profile.)
“It is an honor to have been asked to chair the Strategic Board of Governors Executive Committee for the OCB,” said Flynn. “I look forward to working with Dean Puto, Board Chair Dick Schulze, the other members of the board and the outstanding faculty.”
“Tim will be a great resource, and as an alumnus, trustee and board member he cares deeply about St. Thomas and the Opus College of Business,” Puto said. “I look forward to working with him.”
Schulze thanked Puto for his leadership of the college and efforts to strengthen programs offered by the Schulze School of Entrepreneurship.
“We have every right to be proud of what the Opus College of Business has accomplished, and Chris has led that every step of the way,” Schulze said. “We also are fortunate that Tim is willing to assist in helping the university develop closer relationships with the business community.”
Puto became dean in 2002 and holds the Opus Distinguished Chair.
He directed the successful effort to earn AACSB accreditation, which is regarded widely as the highest standard of quality for business education. With accreditation, St. Thomas became eligible for the U.S. News & World Report survey on business schools, and two months ago the magazine ranked the Opus College of Business No. 104 of 448 schools.
Puto also carried out the 2001 combination of graduate and undergraduate divisions into the College of Business, established a full-time day MBA program, doubled to 105 the number of full-time faculty members, opened Schulze and McNeely halls, and revitalized the Family Business Center.
St. Thomas has continued to emphasize business ethics education under Puto, and has the largest collegiate business ethics faculty in the United States. The college established the Veritas Institute to foster ethically and socially responsible conduct in organizations, and four years ago the institute and the Center for Ethical Business Cultures received gifts of $8 million and $2 million, respectively.
Puto joined St. Thomas in August 2002 after four years as dean of the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University. Other academic positions included associate dean and MBA program director at the University of Arizona (1989-1998) and assistant professor of marketing at the University of Michigan (1984-1989.
Puto’s academic credentials include becoming the first person to receive a Ph.D. in business administration from Duke University (1985). He has an M.B.A. from the University of Miami (1966) and a B.S. in economics from Spring Hill College (1964).