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Christina Buckridge, Corporate Affairs Manager, University of Melbourne, 0412 101 316

The University of Melbourne and the Melbourne Business School Limited (MBS Ltd) have agreed upon a proposal to merge the Melbourne Business School and the Faculty of Economics and Commerce to create a new Faculty of Business and Economics at Melbourne.  The new Faculty will be operated by MBS Ltd.

The proposed merger was announced today by University of Melbourne Vice-Chancellor Professor Glyn Davis and the Chair of the MBS Board Mr Ron McNeilly, following agreement by the University Council and the Board of MBS Ltd.

The proposed merger will be subject to approval by the Members (other than the University) of MBS Ltd.  This will be put to Members at an Extraordinary General Meeting scheduled to be held in Melbourne on Wednesday 26 August 2009.

The Faculty of Business and Economics will be a distinctive powerhouse of business and economics education in Australia and the Asia Pacific, committed to research and knowledge transfer and strongly linked to business, government and the community.

The structure of the new Faculty is like no other Australian business school – it will be the only Faculty in which business, government and the community leaders will have a substantial direct investment and meaningful role in governance through a board of management. Mr Ron McNeilly continues as Chairman of the MBS Ltd and leads a 13-person corporate board with significant management and industry experience.

Mt Eliza Executive Education will be an integral part of this new Faculty with an expanded role through the creation of Melbourne Executive Education, the executive education arm of the University. It will be governed through a wholly-owned subsidiary company of MBS Ltd, so that executive education continues to be responsive to the needs of business and government.

The University’s Academic Board will continue to oversee the academic quality of all degree programs.

The new Faculty will be led by inaugural Executive Dean, Professor Margaret Abernethy, who is currently Dean of the University’s Faculty of Economics and Commerce. The proposed commencement date will be 1 October with full integration by 1 January 2010. Its over-arching structure will include three schools:

• School of Economics and Commerce for the undergraduate Bachelor of Commerce;
• Melbourne Business School for all business and economics graduate programs including the MBA and research higher degrees; and
• Melbourne Executive Education for customised, tailored, open and coaching programs.

Professor Davis says the merger creates the very best foundation for business and economics education in the 21st century — a long term, sustainable business and education model for the University. It brings together the University’s considerable teaching and research strengths in economics and business with the industry connections and the unique teaching model of MBS.

“In partnership with the business community and in a research-led academic environment, the University will now cover the whole spectrum of business and economics education - from our New Generation undergraduate degree to a broader offering of professional graduate education, including the MBA, research higher degrees and executive education for professionals and organisations.”

 

Mr McNeilly says that throughout the merger discussions the MBS Board and senior management were focussed on achieving an outcome that strategically moves MBS to a stronger position — without compromising any of the success factors that have led to its market strength.

“We have secured the best possible future for our staff, students, alumni, clients and executive education business. This includes preserving the School’s extensive business relations, strong brand, prestigious history and strong and independent executive education business.”

Professor Abernethy believes the merger creates the opportunity to become the leading business and economics faculty in the Asia Pacific region with internationally recognized standards of excellence.”  She says the merger will create opportunities for growth through scope and scale that MBS and the Faculty of Economics and Commerce cannot achieve independently. ”We will have critical mass in important research areas and more opportunities for interdisciplinary collaborations to help transform business practice and public policy. We will also build greater efficiencies in engaging with our students, business and alumni communities and broadening study options,” she said.

The University of Melbourne currently holds a 45 per cent interest in MBS Ltd which operates the Melbourne Business School and Mt Eliza Executive Education. The University’s voting rights in MBS Ltd will rise to 70 per cent as a result of the merger.

If approved by the Members on 26 August, it is proposed that the composition of the new MBS Ltd Board and the Executive Education Subsidiary Board will be as follows:

Members of the new MBS Board
Chairman, Ron McNeilly
Deputy Chair, Peter Yates
Margaret Abernethy
Gail Kelly
Eric Gwee
David Karpin
Graeme Leibelt
Sally Capp
Tony Burgess
Chris Leptos
Ian Marshman
Alumni director Frank Zipfinger
Academic Staff Director (to be elected)

Members of the Executive Education Subsidiary Board
Initial chairman: Mr Graeme Liebelt
Initial vice chairman: Mr David Karpin 
University appointed: Mr Allan Tait
Executive Dean:  Professor Margaret Abernethy
Head of Melbourne Executive Education
Director to be elected by Mt Eliza staff