The chair is endowed in honour of Dick Verbeek, who led Aon's operations in Europe for almost 20 years and completed his MBA at INSEAD in 1976. Research will focus on the importance of risk in strategic decision making. The first incumbent will be Professor Javier Gimeno, Professor of Strategy at INSEAD. Professor Gimeno's research interests centre on competitive strategy and entrepreneurship. He has published in leading journals on both subjects, and is a former Chairman of the Business Policy and Strategy Division of the Academy of Management.
Announcing the endowment, Greg Case, president and chief executive officer of Aon, said: "Risk affects all areas of strategy, and the interaction between the two is an area that we believe merits further research. We are delighted to be building on our relationship with INSEAD, and I can think of no finer way to honour the career and achievements of Dick Verbeek, a leader in our firm and in our industry for many years. We look forward to bringing the results of the research program to benefit our clients around the world."
J. Frank Brown, Dean of INSEAD, commented: "Aon's commitment in creating this chair will enable us to extend our research in areas that are critical to the future success of global organisations. Professor Gimeno will be engaging the expertise of our faculty in Europe, Singapore and the Middle East to deliver world-class research which we believe will have direct practical implications for firms around the world."
Dick Verbeek said he was honoured by the endowment, saying: "The current turmoil in financial markets demonstrates the pressing need to incorporate leading edge risk thinking into strategic decision-making. As a former student I am delighted and honoured that Aon has chosen to fund research at INSEAD in this vital area."
Professor Gimeno explained: "There is today a unique opportunity to integrate the insights of strategic management and risk management. Strategy involves making decisions under uncertainty and competitive pressures, and risk management techniques can help us to develop more robust and flexible strategies, and to avoid failures."