The University of the Free State (UFS) is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Udesh Pillay as Director of UFS Business School.
Dr. Pillay was previously Group Executive and Portfolio Head: Research, Innovation, and Built Environment Studies at the South African Local Government Association (SALGA). Previously, he was Senior Advisor to the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the Presidency of the Republic of South Africa (RSA) for Research, Innovation and the Fourth Industrial Revolution and Senior Advisor to the Department of Public Works (EPWP). Dr. Pillay has also served as Associate Professor, Lecturer, and Supervisor at the Universities of Pretoria, Wits, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and California Berkeley, and was a Research Fellow Emeritus at Harvard Business School and the London School of Economics (LSE).
The Rector and Vice Chancellor of UFS, Prof. Francis Petersen, says: “Dr. Udesh Pillay brings a wealth of experience as a recognized leader in the private and public sector, coupled with expertise in the academic system, which is a perfect combination for the future of business school. I am confident that he will succeed in making the business school a competitive, leading institution in the higher education sector.
While Dr. Pillay brings with him a wealth of experience from the private, public and higher education sectors – after having been on the executive board for almost 25 years – his vision goes beyond repositioning and realigning the business school into a world-class institution. Dr. Pillay is deeply committed to the imperatives of sustainable economic development. He believes that the business school lives up to the principles of innovation and entrepreneurship and is committed to the framework conditions for a fair energy transition. Emphasis is also placed on meeting the needs of the SME sector, which is a significant contributor to the country’s GDP. The financial sustainability of the business school and ensuring a critical mass of top academics and scientists are also an integral part of Dr. Pillay.
Prof. Hendri Kroukamp, Dean of Economics and Management Sciences, adds: “The Faculty of Economics and Management Sciences (EMS) is delighted to welcome Dr. Udesh Pillay as director of the UFS Business School and as a member of the faculty management. We look forward to his contribution to strategically repositioning the UFS Business School and setting a new vision that the UFS Business School differs from other business schools, among other things by focusing on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) – not just in the Free State , but in the broader national and international area. “
The diverse skills of Dr. Pillay, coupled with his academic credentials, including a PhD in Built Environment Studies, Public Policy and Business Operations and Management from the University of Minnesota, USA, and an MA in Geographical and Built Environment Sciences from UKZN, among others, make him one ideal candidate to lead the business school in the next phase.
On October 1, 2021, Dr. Pillay assumed his role as director of the UFS Business School.