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Sunder Kekre Honored with Vasantrao Shrinivas Dempo Reflective Chair Position

Sunder Kekre, professor of operations management and the director of the PNC Center for Financial Services Innovation, was recently awarded a professorship position aimed at advancing research and scholarship in India.

The Vasantrao Shrinivas Dempo Reflective Chair Position, sponsored by the Dempo Group of Companies in Goa, India, was established to support teaching and research related to societal phenomena pertinent to India, and to help create a framework for collaborative American scholarship in India. The professorship will also build connections between the faculty at Carnegie Mellon University and those at leading Indian universities.

Kekre Chair Story jpgThe position was established in 2011 through the generosity of Shrinivas V. Dempo, MSIA ’95 and chairman of the Dempo Group, who made the gift in honor of his late grandfather Vasantrao Dempo, founder of the Dempo Group.

“If my grandfather were alive today he would have been so happy that his grandson is not only instituting a professorship in his memory, but also that it is within a world class institution,” Dempo said at a Tepper School reception in November honoring Kekre for his new chair position.

“I am excited to take on the responsibility of the Dempo Reflective Chair. With this chair, I can create projects and activities that Mr. Vasantrao Dempo would have been proud of,” Kekre added.

“Hopefully, in a small way, I can give back to my India that gave me the solid foundation to be what I am today. With the pillars of support that I have — the faculty, administration, staff, students, Indian institutions, friends and family — I am confident to take on the task ahead and create a lasting impact.”

Kekre’s research and expertise focuses on manufacturing and operations systems, with a specific emphasis on new product development, leading innovation, strategic management of product and process designs, emerging global supply chains, management of productivity and customer satisfaction, and the integration of technology, processes and people issues in net-centric enterprises. His research has appeared in many revered journals including Accounting Review, Journal of Manufacturing Systems, Management Science, Management Information Systems Quarterly, Manufacturing and Service Operations Management, Marketing Science, American Journal of Emergency Medicine, and more.

Since joining the Tepper School faculty in 1984, Kekre has served on several school committees, including the MBA Educational Affairs Committee, the Executive Education Advisory Committee (both in Pittsburgh and Qatar) and the Educational Affairs Committee. He also serves as the director of the PNC Center for Financial Services Innovation, a research and education hub that was established at the Tepper School in 2013. The PNC Center examines new technologies and how data might be leveraged to improve banks’ service offerings to their customers. 

Additionally, Kekre was responsible for the creation of the Tepper School’s capstone course titled “Strategic Management of the Enterprise,” which features the consulting firm A.T. Kearney as one of the course sponsors and works with students on real-world problems.

At the November reception, Dean Robert Dammon and Carnegie Mellon President Subra Suresh spoke highly of Kekre’s contributions to the school and to the field of operations management.

“The awarding of endowed professorships to our faculty represents an important moment in the life of our community. It is an opportunity to focus our collective pride upon a celebration of academic achievements that represent our mission and commitment to scholarship,” Dammon said.

“Sunder is a beloved professor, and his passion and energy are known by all in the school. His entire career has centered upon a belief that research must pass the real world test, and that real problems impacting real people must be addressed through real data,” he added. “We are pleased to not only celebrate the occasion but to also offer our own belief in the power and potential of what he will do to fulfill the spirit and expectations of this professorship.”