The University of Oxford has appointed Professor Gordon Clark FBA, Halford Mackinder Professor of Geography at Oxford University, as the next director of the University’s Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment. He will take up the new position in January 2013 succeeding the founding director, Professor Sir David King.
Professor Clark is an economic geographer with an interest in global financial integration and environmental sustainability. He is currently leading research into the responsibilities and behaviours of institutional investors in corporate engagement and environmental management. Much of his work is focused on global finance and the investment management industry, including the governance structure and decision-making performance of pension funds, endowments, and sovereign wealth funds.
The Smith School was launched in 2008 with a major grant from the Smith Family Education Foundation. Its aim is to link academe to the corporate sector and to governments around the world through a wide range of teaching and research programmes, and thereby to engage and equip public and private enterprise with the knowledge, networks and solutions needed to address the major environmental challenges currently facing them.
Professor Gordon Clark said: 'I am honoured to have been chosen as the new Director of the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment. Under the leadership of Sir David King, the Smith School has become a globally recognised research centre that has engaged with governments, enterprises and a wide range of stake-holders in the search for solutions to environmental problems.
'I look forward to carrying forward the agenda of the Smith School, working closely with Oxford’s School of Geography and the Environment and the Saïd Business School. Our aim is to build new educational and research programmes that will educate tomorrow’s leaders, including entrepreneurs, business people, and NGOs at home and abroad.'
The School’s benefactors, Martin and Elise Smith, said: 'Our family is very grateful to Oxford University, and in particular to Professor Sir David King, for getting the Smith School off to such an auspicious start. We are delighted that Professor Gordon Clark has agreed to take on the position of Director in succession to Sir David, and have every confidence that, building on its well laid foundations, he will further develop the School to become a major contributor to the most important issues currently facing our society'.
University of Oxford Vice-Chancellor, Professor Andrew Hamilton, said: 'Professor Clark’s work focuses on the financial and business world with a particular interest in the effect of environmental change on corporate behaviour and responsibility. As former Head of the Oxford University Centre for the Environment, he is ideally placed to build programmes that can equip tomorrow’s business leaders with an understanding of how they can operate in a sustainable, responsible way. Professor David King has made a huge contribution in establishing a research centre of excellence at a time when this academic field has never been more important.'
Professor Sir David King said: 'I am proud of the progress the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment has made during its first four years. The impact and the influence of the School have been felt globally and I am sure Professor Clark and the team can build upon this in the future. The challenges we face as we move through this century are critical and it is vital that we equip decision makers with the very best skills, knowledge and expertise possible.'
Professor Sir David King arrived at the School when it opened in 2008 to become its first director for a five-year term. Previously, he was the UK’s Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser and Head of the Government Office of Science (2000-2007). He has drawn together an elite group of academics from all over the world and forged links with global businesses and politicians from every continent to achieve the Smith School’s aims – to help leaders in business and government make well-informed decisions to secure a sustainable low carbon future.
The School has hosted high-profile annual international conferences on the environment over the last three years. Speakers at the World Forum on Enterprise and the Environment have included former US Vice-President and joint Nobel Peace Prize winner in 2007, Al Gore, and Mikhail Gorbachev, former President the USSR and founding President of Green Cross International.