Purdue Chooses St. Louis Federal Reserve Head to Lead Business School

James Bullard, the head of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis and a leading economist, will become the first dean of the Purdue University Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr. School of Business.
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Updated on July 20, 2023
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  • James Bullard will serve as the head of Purdue University's revamped Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr. School of Business.
  • Bullard is the longest-serving sitting president of Federal Reserve Banks and known as a leading economist.
  • Bullard's appointment comes as Purdue is reimagining its business school with a heavy focus on technology.

Purdue University has named the first leader of its revamped business school.

James Bullard, president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, will take the reins as the first head of Purdue University's Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr. School of Business (DSB). Bullard is the longest-serving sitting president of Federal Reserve Banks, according to a Purdue press release, and is known as one of the world's most influential economists.

Bullard underscored the importance of innovation at the school in the release.

"I am humbled and beyond thrilled to be asked to lead the Daniels School of Business, named for one of the most influential fiscal leaders of our time," Bullard said in the release.

"Purdue is known around the world for forward-thinking innovation. I will work to foster that spirit, and I think I can bring some real-world experience to pass on to the next generation of business leaders and innovators. I share Purdue's vision to build toward the economies of the future, and I can't wait to get started."

Purdue's reimagined business school is named after Daniels, who retired from his role as Purdue University president in December. The business school is set to integrate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and business analytics to prepare students for high-demand jobs.

Purdue President Mung Chiang said Bullard will be a "transformational" leader at the innovative business school.

"His track record has the perfect combination of national impact, scholarly excellence, and innovative leadership through 15 years as President of the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank," Chiang said in the release. "Today's exciting recruitment is a singular, extraordinary moment for the future of DSB and the tech-driven, free-market economy."

Patrick J. Wolfe, Purdue's provost and executive vice president for academic affairs and diversity, said Bullard's leadership will also help the university build on two of its other priorities: Purdue Computes, a new machine learning and semiconductor study effort, and Purdue University in Indianapolis, the result of the split of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI).

"Jim's experience base, credentials and perspective are exactly the right match to enhance scholarly excellence and develop globally leading thinkers at our Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr. School of Business," Wolfe said.

Purdue's undergraduate business school is already set for major expansion thanks to a $50 million gift from the Dean and Barbara White Family Foundation earlier this year. That gift will launch the Bruce White Undergraduate Institute within the business school and create a revised curriculum featuring the intersection of business and technology.

Bullard will leave the St. Louis Fed effective Aug. 14, according to a release from the bank. Bullard stepped down from his position as president and CEO on July 13, but will remain "in an advisory capacity" over the next month.

"This is an outstanding organization with staff in every area of the Bank bringing their passion, integrity and a deep sense of purpose to our mission of promoting a healthy economy and financial stability," Bullard said in the Fed release.

"The Bank is well-positioned for ongoing success and impact. I am also grateful to have worked alongside such dedicated and inspiring colleagues across the Federal Reserve System and for the opportunity to have worked for the many outstanding directors who have served on the St. Louis Fed board. It's been an honor to serve this great institution."

Jim McKelvey, chair of the St. Louis Fed's board of directors, praised Bullard's leadership during his 15 years as bank president.

"Jim Bullard has brought his scholarly expertise and often prescient views to the policy table as the Fed navigated several remarkable economic issues during his 15 years as St. Louis Fed president: the Great Recession, the zero lower bound, high unemployment, the COVID pandemic and the current high inflation," McKelvey said in the release.

"His commitment to outreach and transparency has been unwavering. Bullard also built a strong management team, and we're confident in the Bank's ongoing performance and service to the Eighth Federal Reserve District during this transition."