Cranfield School of Management is set to launch a worldwide talent search for a newly created Rowlands Chair in Transformational Strategy. The position will be responsible for driving the management school’s thinking in ‘transformational strategy’ and pioneer its research and educational offering in the field.

Transformational strategy aims to look beyond traditional strategy techniques which are often designed to tune a business within existing parameters. The goal of ‘transformational strategy’ is to examine how an organisation can truly transform itself to take advantage of leaps forward in innovation and to rethink, if necessary, aspects of its business model.

Grounded in the management school’s ethos of ‘knowledge into action’, the Chair will be responsible for developing not just theoretical models but applied methods that can give practical support to company boards as they look to the future.

The Rowlands Chair is an endowed position with funding generously donated to the University by the Rowlands Charitable Trust.

Professor David Oglethorpe, Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Dean of Cranfield School of Management, said: “This an extremely exciting opportunity to drive forward thinking in transformational strategy.

“If Covid-19 has taught us anything, it is that organisations need to be incredibly agile in order to adapt and survive. However, often these are short-term reactions to shocks, rather than long-term transformation. This new Chair will have the opportunity to form a much deeper understanding of transformational strategy, examining how organisations can re-imagine and re-invent themselves and offer practical solutions in how to do so.

“The new Chair will get to work with leading global companies who partner with Cranfield across the University, taking advantage of our deep partnerships with business in both our specialisms of management and technology.”

Simon Rowlands, MBA 1986, said: ““Cranfield School of Management impinged profoundly on my own career and that of friends and classmates, equipping us all with new skills and behaviours. This endowment is dedicated with the dual purpose of impact and gratitude”

“A new Chair in Transformational strategy will I hope research and develop the application of fresh tools in the boardroom as well as classroom. Tools that allow not only small entrepreneurial companies to develop transformational strategy, but also tools fit for purpose in large company boardrooms.

“I have witnessed many successful boardrooms tuning their business strategy, but this Chair will look at understanding how to stretch boardroom ambition, and more regularly pursue Transformation. I look forward to seeing Cranfield School of Management build on its long history, as well as leverage opportunity across other Schools within the University, to become a mini powerhouse in Strategy”.

Professor Sir Peter Gregson, Chief Executive and Vice-Chancellor of Cranfield University, said: “I know I speak on behalf of not just Professor Oglethorpe and the School of Management but everyone at the University when I say how thankful we are to Simon and his family for this extremely generous and heartfelt gift. I look forward to seeing the impact this new position will have not just within the School of Management but on business strategy thinking across the globe.”