Two New Chairs Join U of G’s Lang School of Business and Economics

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The sign outside the Gordon S. Lang School of Business and EconomicsA global scholar in strategic management and entrepreneurship and an internationally recognized finance academic will fill two new chair positions in the University of Guelph’s Gordon S. Lang School of Business and Economics.

Dr. Barak Aharonson has been named the Wood Chair in Innovation Management, and Dr. Ilias Tsiakas has been named the Lang Chair in Finance.

Aharonson studies entrepreneurial tendencies and innovation activities within geographic clusters and how businesses use technology to compete or cooperate with each other to boost their performance.

“I am extremely pleased that Dr. Aharonson will be joining the Lang School,” said dean Lysa Porth. “He has extensive research in the area of strategy, innovation and entrepreneurship, and I am confident he will contribute to the research excellence of Lang with his successful track record of consistently publishing in FT50 journals.”

Funding for this position comes from the Wood family’s $7-million gift in 2018 to launch the John F. Wood Centre for Business and Student Enterprise.

Dr. Barak Aharonson has been named the Wood Chair in Innovation Management.

“Dr. Aharonson’s expertise is well aligned with the Wood Centre’s focus on innovation and entrepreneurship,” said Porth.

Aharonson was most recently a professor at Xiamen University in China and has also worked at the Stern School of Business at New York University and the Coller School of Management in Israel. He received his PhD in strategic management and organization theory from the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto.

“I am very happy to join the Lang School and their world-class faculty,” said Ahoronson. “The goal of my research is to understand how we can intensify the innovation activity and entrepreneurial spirit in Canada. By inspiring and empowering the individuals across our community, we can create a sustainable, technologically oriented ecosystem, which can help reignite our economy post-COVID-19.”

Tsiakas studies asset pricing, climate finance and foreign exchange markets.

Before joining the University of Guelph in 2010, he was a professor at Warwick Business School in the U.K., where he directed the PhD program. He received his PhD in economics from the University of Toronto.

“Dr. Tsiakas’s expertise in international finance will help establish Lang as a global leader in finance research and teaching,” said Porth. “I am confident he will continue to publish impactful research in top-tier journals and mobilize his findings to various audiences. I look forward to the leadership he’ll bring to the Lang chair.”

Tsiakas has published multiple articles in the Financial Times top 50 journals (FT50). He holds a five-year research grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada to study the role of global financial markets in regulating carbon emissions.

Dr. Ilias Tsiakas has been named the Lang Chair in Finance.

“I am deeply honoured to be named the first Lang Chair in Finance,” said Tsiakas. “The generous gift of Stu and Kim Lang in establishing the Lang Chair has significantly enhanced our ability to promote research excellence in finance and raise the profile of our undergraduate and graduate finance programs. As Lang Chair, I look forward to providing the leadership required in continuing to build finance at Lang.”

Tsiakas received the Best Paper Prize from Inquire UK and the Outstanding Article Award from the Journal of Financial Research in 2010. He is an associate editor for Economic Inquiry, a journal published by the Western Economic Association International.

“Ilias exemplifies research excellence as we define it at Lang,” said Dr. Sean Lyons, associate dean research and graduate studies. “He has consistently secured competitive funding to do high-quality research and involves his graduate students meaningfully in the research process.”

Funding for this position comes from a $21-million gift from Stu and Kim Lang in 2019 that led to the naming of U of G’s business school after Stu’s late father, Gordon.

Tsiakas will begin his new role in the Department of Economics and Finance on July 1; Aharonson will begin his term on May 1 in the Department of Management.