Gies Business creates role of Chief Disruption Officer

Robert Brunner will guide continued innovation at Gies Business

Gies College of Business is proud to announce a move that will keep the College at the forefront of innovation in business education. Dean Jeffrey R. Brown has created a new leadership position – Associate Dean for Innovation & Chief Disruption Officer – which will help the College pioneer the next leading-edge breakthroughs in business education.

Robert BrunnerRobert Brunner, a longtime professor at the University of Illinois, has accepted this new position. Brunner will ensure Gies College of Business remains abreast of current trends in technology and also identifies and embraces future opportunities with a preemptive approach.

“Professor Brunner is an outstanding thought leader with a universal view of technological innovations,” said Jeffrey R. Brown, Josef and Margot Lakonishok Professor of Business and Dean. “Dr. Brunner’s extensive experience and passion make him the perfect fit as our very first Associate Dean for Innovation and Chief Disruption Officer. I’m delighted that he will be taking a more prominent leadership role within our College.”

Brunner is the director of the University of Illinois-Deloitte Foundation Center for Business Analytics, a position he will continue to hold. He is a professor of accountancy and Arthur Andersen Faculty Fellow at Gies College of Business. Brunner will be tasked with identifying future challenges in business and creating unique solutions.

“The wealth of data and information available today has fundamentally changed our world,” said Brunner. “It impacts businesses everywhere, and it also dictates the way we deliver business education. Thanks to visionary leaders like Dean Brown, Gies Business discovers ways to positively disrupt the market, and we will teach our students to develop fresh ideas to solve important societal problems.”

Brunner sees this new position as two-fold: working with academic and industry partners to identify and address disruptions in the business world, and also staying on the leading edge of business education.

“In today’s world, you’re either part of the disruption, or you risk being disrupted,” said Brunner. “Gies College of Business is taking a pro-active approach, like no one else in the country. We are not business as usual, and our students will benefit greatly because of it.”

This is the latest chapter in the rich history of educational advances at Gies College of Business. The College revolutionized access to business education with its iMBA and iMSA programs. Gies Business’ one-of-a-kind curriculum and dedication to impactful research provides students with unparalleled hands-on experiences both inside and outside the classroom, making Gies a world leader in redefining business education.

“Innovation separates the best from the rest,” said Brown. “From day one, I’ve prioritized opportunities to disrupt the marketplace. That’s what keeps us among the very best business schools in the nation. We continually push the envelope, and we encourage our students and faculty to do the same.”