Catherine Duggan. Picture: SUPPLIED
Catherine Duggan. Picture: SUPPLIED

An American academic, Catherine Duggan, has been appointed director of the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business (GSB). Until recently, she was vice-dean for strategy and research at the African Leadership University’s business school in Rwanda.

Her appointment ends a two-year search for a successor to former director Mills Soko, who resigned in mid-2018. Since then, the school has been run by two interim directors, Kosheek Sewchurran and Hugh Corder. Duggan is due to take charge on September 1. She will be the second woman to run the GSB, after Kate Jowell, who was director from 1993 to 1999.

Before Rwanda, where she was also professor of management and political economy, Duggan was a faculty member at Harvard Business School for several years and a visiting professor at Oxford University’s Saïd Business School.

Her research speciality is institutional development and financial sector regulation in Sub-Saharan Africa, with emphasis on how countries can build institutions to support economic development. She has authored several case studies on African business, based on her research in countries like SA, Nigeria, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Uganda, Liberia and Guinea-Bissau.

Topics have included environmental sustainability, social enterprise, the changing role of business in society, the benefits of diversity in corporations, and the challenges of doing business in changing political and economic contexts.

She says of her new role: “The GSB is uniquely placed to drive global conversations, especially with regard to some of the most significant challenges facing business today. These include questions of diversity, racial equity, environmental sustainability, and how to lead through crisis and uncertainty.”

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