Gordon Institute of Business dean Nicola Kleyn. Picture: RUSSELL ROBERTS
Gordon Institute of Business dean Nicola Kleyn. Picture: RUSSELL ROBERTS

Nicola Kleyn is to step down as dean of the Gordon Institute of Business Science (Gibs).

Under her leadership, Gibs has cemented its reputation as one of SA’s leading business schools. In the authoritative Financial Times (FT) rankings, it is routinely rated SA and Africa’s top provider of executive education, and among the best in the world.

In 2018, the school was the only one in Africa to feature among the FT’s top 100 executive MBAs.

Kleyn, who succeeded founding dean Nick Binedell in 2015, has decided not to accept a second five-year term after her contract ends in March 2020.

However, she has agreed to briefly extend her stay to take part in the school’s graduation ceremony in April. The extension will give the University of Pretoria, of which Gibs is part, more time to find a replacement. The university is about to begin a local and international search for a new dean.

Kleyn has been at Gibs since its launch in 2000. Before her elevation to dean, she was deputy dean and head of academics.

Kleyn was clear from the outset of her appointment that it was not going to be “more of the same” but that, as a young school, innovation had to be tempered with steady growth and an understanding of Gibs and the environment in which it operated.

Most SA university business schools are part of commerce faculties. Gibs is one of the few that is a faculty in its own right, meaning Kleyn’s responsibilities also run to general university matters.

Like Binedell before her, she says she will return next year to what she calls a “scholarly role” as a member of the Gibs teaching faculty. Her subject specialities are marketing, branding and reputation management.