Geoffrey Garrett, vice provost and dean of the UCLA International Institute, has emerged as the leading candidate to head the Anderson School of Management, raising concern among some insiders who question both the process and Garrett's qualifications.

Garrett, who had been chairman of a committee formed to find a replacement for outgoing Dean Bruce Willison, is the choice of UCLA Chancellor Albert Carnesale, who told the Business Journal last week that the selection is "not a popularity contest" and that "it's my decision."

Garrett wrapped up final interviews last week. The chancellor is expected to finalize his choice within the next month.

"The faculty thinks this guy is absolutely wrong," said one local business leader with close ties to UCLA, citing Garrett's lack of a connection to the business school.

By some accounts, the faculty choice appeared to be Al Osborne, an associate professor of global economics and management, and Anderson's senior associate dean. Osborne founded the school's Harold Price Center for Entrepreneurial Studies.

In addition to his role at the International Institute, which is not part of the Anderson School, Garrett is director of UCLA's Ronald W. Burkle Center for International Relations. He shares an internationalist approach with Carnesale, who participated in arms limitations talks with the Soviet Union and teaches an undergraduate course in international affairs and security.

Returning a call to Garrett, Lawrence Lokman, assistant vice chancellor of university communications, said Garrett declined comment "other than to say he is proud and very honored to be considered formally for the dean's position."

Neither Willison nor Osborne returned calls.

"Whoever you put in that position involves serious risk," said Edward Leamer, director of the Anderson Forecast and member of the search committee, who acknowledged the criticism. "The question is whether the transformation will be 'inside out,' focusing on programmatic changes, or 'outside in,' with a dean who would go to the business community and find substantial support for certain activities and bring that financial support back to the school. Garrett is more of an 'inside out' than 'outside in.'"

Added to list

The process to replace Willison, the former president and chief operating officer of Home Savings of America and H.F. Ahmanson & Co., began in February, when Carnesale assembled a 10-member search committee.

The committee, consisting of Anderson School faculty, faculty from other schools within UCLA, the university's vice chancellor of finance, and representatives of the L.A. business community, embarked on a search to find someone who could reverse the school's shifting fortunes.

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