Sprott School of Business hires former Amazon exec, Oxford academic as new dean

Already preparing to move into a swanky new home, Carleton University’s business school is set to install a new leader with a glittering resum​é.

The university announced late last week that Dana Brown, a former Amazon executive and past director of Oxford’s MBA program, will begin a five-year term as dean of the Sprott School of Business on July 1.

Dana Brown
Dana Brown will be the new dean at the Sprott School of Business.

A graduate of New Jersey’s Rutgers University who earned her master’s degree at Oxford and a PhD in political science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Brown is currently the dean of Leicester Castle Business School at De Montfort University in Leicester, England, a school she helped launch in 2016.

“I am delighted to be joining Sprott, and I look forward to working with colleagues to take the school into its next phase of success,” Brown said in a statement. “The amount of talent and level of ambition at Carleton presents an exciting opportunity to further develop an innovative approach to business education and to grow Sprott’s impact locally and globally.”

Carleton interim provost Jerry Tomberlin, who headed the search committee, said Brown possesses the ideal skill set to help the school raise its profile on the world stage.

“She’s really someone who I think is perfect to be leading the school into the next era,” he said.

Tomberlin praised Brown’s background as an academic administrator who brings real-world experience in building startups.

Brown was among the first employees of Amazon, serving as the e-commerce firm’s senior manager of operations before the company went public in 1997.

After earning her PhD, she lectured at Oxford’s Said Business School and later taught in France and Egypt before returning to Oxford to become director of Said’s MBA program in 2013. At Said, Brown supervised an overhaul of the school’s curriculum that helped spark a 50 per cent increase in enrolment.

Tomberlin said one of Brown’s priorities will be to help “nourish” the Sprott school’s connections to the outside business community, both in Ottawa and around the world.

“She brings in that (real-world business) perspective that we don’t always get from an academic,” Tomberlin said. “That practical experience is crucial.”

Brown’s arrival at Sprott comes as the school is constructing a state-of-the-art, 100,000-square-foot new home located next to the University Centre in the heart of Carleton’s campus.

Named in honour of Carleton alumnus Wes Nicol, the $48-million project is expected to be completed in 2020 and will give the school’s 2,500 students and 95 faculty, who now share space with other departments in Dunton Tower, their own building.