Faculty Appointments Include New Chairs

Ray Ball, Abbie Smith, Robert Topel, Robert Vishny, Nicholas Epley and Damon Phillips

Chicago Booth announced four distinguished service professorships and appointed two faculty members to inaugural chairs.

Ray Ball, MBA ’68, PhD ’72, is Sidney Davidson Distinguished Service Professor of Accounting. Abbie Smith is Boris and Irene Stern Distinguished Service Professor of Accounting. Robert Topel is Isidore Brown and Gladys J. Brown Distinguished Service Professor in Urban and Labor Economics, and Robert Vishny is Myron S. Scholes Distinguished Service Professor of Finance.

Nicholas Epley was named John Templeton Keller Professor of Behavioral Science, and Damon Phillips was named Jeffrey Breakenridge Keller Professor of Organizations and Strategy. The chairs have been funded as part of a $25 million gift to the school by Dennis Keller, ’68.

Ball, a faculty member since 2000, studies corporate disclosure, earnings and stock prices, international accounting, the Australian economy and share market, and market efficiency and investment strategies. He is coauthor of “An Empirical Evaluation of Accounting Income Numbers,” an article published in the Journal of Accounting Research in 1968 that laid the foundation for modern accounting research by revolutionizing the understanding of the impact of corporate disclosure on share prices, and of earnings releases in particular. Ball is editor of publications including the Journal of Accounting Research and has served on the Financial Accounting Standards Advisory Council (FASAC) of the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB), among other organizations.

Smith, who joined the faculty in 1980, says her research on corporate governance and transparency was stimulated by service on corporate and mutual fund boards and the heightened interest in these issues among accounting policy makers, corporate officers and directors, auditors, analysts, and investors resulting from the wave of corporate accounting scandals that began with Enron. Her article “Does Analyst Following Increase Upon the Restriction of Insider Trading?” with Robert Bushman and Joseph Piotroski was nominated for a 2005 Smith Breeden Prize. She also has received a Marvin Bower Fellowship from the Harvard Business School, a McKinsey Award for Excellence in Teaching, and a GE Foundation research grant.

Topel, a faculty member since 1979, conducts research in labor economics, industrial organization and antitrust, business strategy, health economics, national security economics, economic growth, and public policy. He and coauthor Kevin Murphy, George J. Stigler Distinguished Service Professor of Economics, won the 2007 Kenneth J. Arrow Award in Health Economics for “The Value of Health and Longevity,” published in the Journal of Political Economy. A research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, Topel also serves as director of the George J. Stigler Center for the Study of the Economy and the State.

Vishny, whose area of expertise is behavioral and institutional finance, taught at Booth over a 20-year period while he held various titles, most recently Eric J. Gleacher Distinguished Service Professor of Finance. He has studied the market for corporate control, corporate governance around the world, privatization and the role of government in the economy, investor sentiment, and the limits of arbitrage.

Epley, who joined the faculty in 2004, previously was professor of behavioral science and Neubauer Family Faculty Fellow. He conducts research on the experimental study of social cognition, perspective taking, and intuitive human judgment. His research has appeared in more than two dozen journals, including the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Psychological Science, and the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. His research also has been featured by the Wall Street Journal, CNN, Wired, and National Public Radio, among many others, and has been funded by the National Science Foundation.

Phillips previously was professor of organizations and strategy. A faculty member since 1998, he studies social structural approaches to labor and product markets, organizational strategy and structure, as well as social network theory and analysis. His research has led to advancements in the understanding of labor markets, cultural markets, and entrepreneurship, and he incorporates these advancements into his classes on management and strategic leadership. Phillips is a recipient of a Charles E. Merrill Faculty Research Scholarship, a two-time recipient of a Neubauer Family Faculty Fellowship, and a three-time recipient of a Kauffman Foundation research grant for entrepreneurship.—P.H.
Last Updated 11/19/10