Business dean steps down early to accommodate new hire

Jenn Yokley

George E. Stevens, dean of the College of Business Administration and the Graduate School of Management, will step down from his position in late October, eight months earlier than the original June 30 date.

Stevens said the decision to step down early was based on many factors, including his 13-year run as dean at Kent State and a waning sense of authority.

“Once you make a decision to step into a different role, then I think it’s a little tougher to get the same response from subordinates because they know that you are leaving shortly,” Stevens said.

Robert B. “Yank” Heisler, Jr., the retired chairman of KeyBank and retired chief executive officer of McDonald Financial Group, will replace Stevens as dean of the college Oct. 20.

Stevens said as the school transitions and makes significant advancements, he should step aside and allow a new dean to take the reins.

“There are some decisions that are going to be made over the next several months that are very important,” he said. “Should I make those decisions or should Yank make those decisions? He’s going to have to live with it. When I start thinking about those kinds of things, maybe I’m better off getting out of the way.”

As president of Beta Gamma Sigma national business honorary and a member of the Board of Directors for the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, Stevens will return to a full-time position as professor of management and information systems and will also take the title of dean emeritus and senior advisor to the dean.

Kathryn Wilson, associate dean of the College of Business, said this decision will give Stevens more opportunities to become more active in Beta Gamma Sigma and AACSB.

“Stepping down now allows him to be able to focus on these national and international organizations he’s been very intricately involved with,” she said.

Wilson said the transition from Stevens to Heisler will be seamless.

“He brings a tremendous amount of talent to the position.” she said.

Stevens agrees that Heisler will succeed under his new position, but not without the support and experience of those he is working with.

“Anyone wanting to bring about change has to understand how to do it, how to engage those affected by it, and I don’t know how anyone can do that without staff and faculty who are willing to change,” Stevens said.

Contact College of Business reporter Jenn Yokley at [email protected].