KU News Release


April 19, 2011
Contact: Jack Martin, University Communications, 785-864-7100

KU names Neeli Bendapudi dean of School of Business

Neeli Bendapudi


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LAWRENCE — Neeli Bendapudi, a scholar of business practices and professor of marketing at Ohio State University, will become the Henry D. Price Dean of the University of Kansas School of Business.

Bendapudi will take over as dean on Aug. 1, returning to the institution where she earned her doctorate in 1994. She was selected after a nationwide search that began in November.

“I am extremely happy to have a national scholar and leader of the caliber of Neeli Bendapudi as the KU’s next dean of business,” said Jeffrey Vitter, provost and executive vice chancellor. “Neeli captivated those she met during her interviews with her ideas, academic and corporate experience and sheer energy. The search committee did a wonderful job attracting very strong finalists, and I’m delighted that we were able to bring Neeli and her husband, Venkat — both Jayhawk alums — back home to Lawrence.”

Bendapudi has been a professor of marketing at Ohio State’s Fisher College of Business since 2008. She began her time at Ohio State as an assistant professor in 1996, before becoming an associate professor in 2002. Previously, she was an assistant professor of marketing at Texas A&M University.

“I am very thankful to KU leadership and to the business school community for giving me the opportunity to help take my alma mater to greater heights,” Bendapudi said. “My hope is to work with all the stakeholders of our School of Business to make it a great place to learn, a great place to work, a great place to partner and a great place to invest. My family and I owe so much to this wonderful institution. Coming back to KU is a dream come true.”

Bendapudi has consulted for dozens of the world’s largest companies, including Cessna, Deloitte & Touche, Procter & Gamble and Yellow Roadways. She has worked extensively with Huntington National Bank as a customer experience consultant from 2006 to 2007 and an executive vice president and chief customer officer from 2007 to 2008.

Bendapudi’s primary research focus is on how customers evaluate which service providers and organizations are best able to meet their needs and when they merit long-term relationships. A second area of interest deals with how organizations can effectively communicate their ability to meet customer needs. She is the founder and executive director of the Initiative for Managing Services, a center within Fisher College representing a consortium of companies that partner with the college on teaching, research and outreach regarding service management.

“I look forward to Neeli’s leadership in connecting us more strongly with the business community and ensuring the School of Business is aligned with relevant programs at KU,” said Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little. “We will undoubtedly benefit from her enthusiasm, creativity and familiarity with KU, all of which position her to ensure the long-term strength of the school.”

Bendapudi earned a doctorate from KU in 1994. She earned an MBA from Andhra University in India in 1985, where she also did her undergraduate work.

The search committee for the new dean has been co-chaired by James P. Guthrie, the William and Judy Docking Professor of Business, and Mike Michaelis, president and chairman of the board of Emprise Bank.

“The search committee was fortunate to have an outstanding pool of candidates, but Neeli stood out as the ideal choice for KU,” Guthrie said. “In addition to being an outstanding researcher, teacher and administrator, Neeli brings a bold vision for the School of Business. Her understanding of what it will take to move the school forward is based upon her unique blend of business and academic experiences. And as a KU alumna, she brings an obvious love for the university and a familiarity with the state’s business climate that will benefit the school, its programs and its graduates.”

Michaelis noted, “In these trying economic times, it’s especially crucial that business schools produce well-trained graduates and find innovate ways to meet the needs of business and industry. Neeli is the perfect candidate to drive the long-term success of the School of Business. She’s an outstanding researcher and leader, and as a KU alumna, she brings an infectious love and enthusiasm for KU and its mission. We look forward to her leadership for years to come.”

KU’s School of Business is one of only 177 schools with Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business accreditation for its school and its accounting program. The school is home to 54 tenured and tenure-track faculty and 56 staff and has an operating budget of $18.6 million. The school consists of four academic areas — finance, economics and decision sciences; accounting and information systems; marketing, entrepreneurship and law; and management — with an enrollment of more than 1,000 undergraduates, 581 master’s students and 34 doctoral students.

Bendapudi replaces William Fuerst, who will step down after 11 years as business dean — the longest tenure in recent years — and assume a faculty role within the school.


The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. University Relations is the central public relations office for KU's Lawrence campus.

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