Despite the upheaval at cross-town rival USC, there won't be much snickering in Westwood from UCLA's Anderson School of Management. UCLA's business school went through a little rough patch of its own.


Last year, UCLA's Chancellor Albert Carnesale handpicked a fellow academic, Geoffrey Garrett, vice provost and dean of the UCLA International Institute, to chair a 10-person committee to find a replacement for Dean Bruce Willison, who was retiring after five years. But when the committee whittled the candidates to just four names, the chancellor selected Garrett over the short list of candidates.


Some faculty members began grumbling that Garrett lacked the qualifications to lead a business school. They pointed out that Willison had direct business experience, having joined UCLA in 1999 after a 26-year career in banking, including stints as president and chief operating officer of Home Savings of America and H.F. Ahmanson & Co. Garrett, a political science professor, was director of UCLA's Ronald W. Burkle Center for International Relations, but he had no outside business experience.


When Carnesale was asked about the selection process in an interview with the Business Journal last year, he said the choice of a new dean was "not a popularity contest" and that "it's my decision."


Within a few weeks, Garrett withdrew his name from the selection process.


Ultimately, UCLA selected July Olian, head of the Smeal College of Business Administration at Pennsylvania State University, as the first woman to head the Anderson School. Olian, a native of Australia, started the job January 1.

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