Wake Forest School of Business appoints new Dean – Old Gold & Black


Former Wake Forest Assistant Professor Dr. Annette L. Ranft to Return as Dean of the School of Business

Wake Forest University has selected Dr. Annette L. Ranft as the new Dean of the School of Business.

Ranft comes to Wake Forest from Auburn University, where she served as Dean and Wells Fargo Professor at Harbert College of Business for more than three years.

Provost Rogan Kersh, who led the search committee, is convinced that Ranft’s extensive experience in running a business schoold scholarship will greatly benefit Wake Forest.

“She can bring experience that might not be represented at Wake Forest,” Kersh said. “She started her career with us, she knows us and has also been elsewhere.”

As a first-generation college graduate from the Appalachian region of North Carolina, Ranft has always exceeded expectations. She earned her Ph.D. in Business Administration from UNC Kenan-Flagler School of Business and has become an accomplished specialist in strategic management. His research focuses on acquisitions of high technology companies, strategic leadership, integration of mergers and acquisitions; and knowledge management.

She has authored or co-authored more than 40 scholarly publications, and her work has been featured in top business journals.

In 2012, The Wall Street Journal named Ranft to its list of top female business school administrators. She has held a leadership position for more than half of her higher education career.

One of her first teaching roles was as Assistant Professor at Wake Forest in 1999. She credits much of her current knowledge to those early years.

“I learned a lot about how to be a professor, a teacher, and an academic,” Ranft said.

After leaving Wake Forest, she then went to work at Florida State University where she first gained work experience in FSU administration.

“I was able to grow a lot and I was able to work with doctoral students,” Ranft said. “[At Florida State]I first entered the administration and had the opportunity to be a dean, an experience that I took with me.

She then worked in business programs at the University of Tennessee, North Carolina State University, and finally Auburn University before returning to Wake Forest. Ranft is excited to return to Wake Forest, and she thinks she can have more meaningful interactions with the students.

After serving in several dean positions at other schools, this potential for a deeper connection is why she feels it’s time for her to return to Wake Forest.

Kersh said there was a “surprisingly exceptional pool [of applicants]”, but he and other members of the search committee agree that Ranft was the best candidate for the position.

Ranft’s search committee was selected from a formula the university has perfected over the years. Kersh explained that the university strives to have a faculty from a variety of disciplines and also includes members of the Boards and Councils of the School of Business as well as undergraduate and graduate students. Additionally, the university implemented a new strategy in the research process that Kersh called “radical collaboration”, where the university decided to include a dean from another school. [in the university] since they understand better than others what is required of the role.

Maria Rios, chair of the senior student council at Wake Forest Undergraduate Business School, was the undergraduate student representative on the search committee.

“They gave me a lot of responsibility as a member, and [I was] gave as much information as all of them and felt really involved in every part of [the process]”, Rios said. “I was treated like an adult and my opinion too. The other members of the search committee always encouraged [students] speak. »

Rios is supportive of the decision to hire Ranft, and she’s thrilled with how Ranft will represent a multitude of perspectives.

“I’m so excited [for Ranft]”, Rios said. “She’ll take what other people are saying and add a fresh perspective that includes all the different perspectives.”

Another committee member, Dr. Phillip Howard, Assistant Professor of Finance and Joseph M. Bryan Fellow in Banking and Finance, is also pleased with Ranft’s hiring and looks forward to the impact she will have on the School of Business.

“I’m very happy to have Ranft join us at Wake Forest,” Howard said. “She is extraordinarily qualified and I think she will help the teacher-academic model to thrive at the business school.”

Ranft takes office on July 1, replacing Michelle Roehm, who has served as interim dean since January 2021.


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