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An exceptional interest in the scientific understanding of the way people think and act has prompted Emmanuel “Manny” Roman, ’87, to make a significant investment to support the Center for Decision Research (CDR) at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. In recognition of Roman’s generosity, the center will now be named the Roman Family Center for Decision Research.

Roman, a University of Chicago Trustee since 2015, is CEO of Pacific Investment Management Company (PIMCO), one of the world’s premier fixed income investment managers, based in Newport Beach, California.

“Working for PIMCO has been the pinnacle of my career. I am grateful to work with so many bright people, in an environment where we actively challenge thinking and explore ideas to help us reach the best decisions,” said Roman. “It’s a privilege to be able to expand on PIMCO’s investment with the CDR, as well as extend my personal long-term commitment to Chicago Booth. My longtime friend Richard Thaler and I have shared many engaging conversations about human behavior and decision-making, and as the CEO of PIMCO, it’s pushed me to test, challenge, and explore. I hope that this new chapter continues to spark lifelong learning and innovation around decision-making.”

When it was founded in 1977, the Center for Decision Research was at the vanguard of a new field devoted to understanding human judgment and decision-making. The CDR helped pioneer the use of behavioral science to explain inconsistencies between actual and theoretically rational human behavior. It also spearheaded a broad expansion of the field of behavioral science. Using insights from numerous disciplines, CDR faculty now lead a field that is proving indispensable for understanding human behavior in economics, finance, marketing, management, healthcare, politics, charity, and many other domains.

In 2017, the work of the CDR community was brought to the attention of a broader global audience when the CDR’s longtime faculty director, Richard Thaler, the Charles R. Walgreen Distinguished Service Professor of Behavioral Science and Economics, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for his contributions to behavioral economics. 

Now led by Nicholas Epley, the John Templeton Keller Distinguished Service Professor of Behavioral Science and Neubauer Family Faculty Fellow, the CDR has continued to expand its impact in recent years, with the help of PIMCO.

In 2018, PIMCO and the CDR announced a partnership in support of the CDR’s behavioral science research. In recognition of this investment, Booth’s CDR laboratories were renamed the PIMCO Decision Research Laboratories. 

“It’s a privilege to be able to expand on PIMCO’s investment with the CDR, as well as extend my personal long-term commitment to Chicago Booth.”

— Emmanuel Roman

In 2021, PIMCO’s philanthropic support enabled the CDR to continue its history of innovation by opening Mindworks, the world’s first lab and discovery center dedicated to behavioral science. Located on Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago, Mindworks welcomes visitors to explore interactive exhibits, take part in hands-on research studies, and earn prizes for participating.

“As an engaged alum, Manny Roman has long nurtured an interest in the pathbreaking work and lasting impact of Booth’s world-class behavioral science faculty,” said Madhav Rajan, dean and the George Pratt Shultz Professor of Accounting at Booth. “We are so grateful for Manny’s leadership and generosity, which will secure the future of the Roman Family Center for Decision Research.”

Roman has always been an active supporter of Booth and the university—particularly in the area of faculty research. His many gifts have included the establishment of the Roman Family University Professorship, now held by Sendhil Mullainathan, faculty director of Booth’s Center for Applied Artificial Intelligence, to which Roman has also contributed. In addition, he made a gift to establish the Roman Directorship to support the collaborative, interdisciplinary work of the Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society at the University of Chicago.

A native of France, Roman has lived much of his life in Europe. He studied math and economics at Paris Dauphine University, graduating in 1985. He earned his MBA in 1987 through Booth’s Full-Time MBA Program, in which he studied finance and econometrics. He then began his career in 1987 at Goldman Sachs Group Inc., eventually being named a partner. He advanced to become co-head of worldwide global securities services. In 2003, he was named co-head of European equities. Roman joined London-based hedge fund GLG Partners as co-CEO in 2005. In 2010, he initiated the sale of GLG to London investment management firm Man Group. Roman was named president and COO at Man Group before becoming CEO in 2013. He returned to the United States in 2016 to become CEO of PIMCO.

Richard Thaler said that he and Roman struck up a friendship in London when Roman was located there. Thaler often came to London to teach in Booth’s Executive MBA Program and to advise the British government, then led by David Cameron, on the ways behavioral science could be used to make government more efficient and effective. Thaler said that once they got to know each other, booking an evening with Roman became his first priority in planning a London trip.

“Manny is so much fun to talk to,” Thaler said. “He is one of the few people in the financial industry who thinks about financial markets with the sophistication of a professor, and yet has proven to be a successful manager wherever he has landed. I knew he was a true and special friend when he read and commented on two drafts of my book Misbehaving.”

When pressed, Thaler also admitted to enjoying numerous opportunities to share fine wines with Roman. “The quality of the wine in Manny’s cellar is only exceeded by his generosity in sharing it.”