Professor Ken McPhail has taken up his post as Head of Alliance Manchester Business School (AMBS) and shared his vision for the future growth of the school, outlining how business can act as a powerful force for good in society.
“We are living in pivotal times for business, partly due to the nature of the challenges we collectively face, from climate change to global geopolitical upheaval and regional economic disparities here in the UK,” Professor McPhail said.
“AMBS is an important and influential institution, combining world-class research across many different disciplines with real-world applications - more than 30 new start-ups each year are established here, for example. I want to build on the great work that has been done over the last 10 years to establish the best teaching, technical and educational facilities in Europe and further grow AMBS’ impact not only here in Manchester but across the UK and overseas.”
Discussing some of his specific focus areas, Professor McPhail stressed the importance of leaders preparing for and adapting to the ongoing “technological revolution”, with dynamic technologies like artificial intelligence playing an increasingly prominent role. While he acknowledged its amazing disruptive potential, he said that it will also present some serious ethical and social questions too.
He believes business can play a fundamental role in helping to address these concerns and build a more equal and sustainable society. “It’s why I’m passionate about the transformative power of business research and education, which has a vital role to play in ensuring the UK economy can create prosperity and opportunity for all and elevate the UK’s status globally,” he said.
“Policymakers, local combined authorities and corporate leaders are all looking to business schools to play a role in addressing these issues and as an engine for driving economic growth. That’s why taking up the role of Head of Alliance Manchester School at this moment in time presents such a significant opportunity.
“We also must pursue the role that business must play in achieving Net Zero. This not only requires grappling with the barriers to transition but seizing the opportunities it represents for business, entrepreneurs and policy setters who have the vision and courage to act now.
“There has never been such a ground-breaking time to help shape the minds of tomorrow and explore how the future business community will evolve. And to be appointed to this role in the pioneering city of Manchester, which has so many strengths as a global centre for commerce, is a real honour."
Professor Ken McPhail succeeds Professor Fiona Devine as Head of AMBS, who has now become Vice-President and Dean of Humanities at The University of Manchester.
He originally joined The University of Manchester in 2014 as Vice Dean of Social Responsibility in the Faculty of Humanities. His research has focussed on the link between financial and ethical success in business, helping companies to generate profits while also making a positive impact on the environment and society.
From 2017 to 2021, Ken was Director of Research and Deputy Head of AMBS where he led the business school’s 2021 Research Excellence Framework (REF) submission and was involved in bringing the £32m ESRC Productivity Institute to Manchester.