Fricks endow professorship in Olin School; Zenger named initial holder

Alumnus Robert Frick and his wife Barbara have established a professorship in the Washington University John M. Olin School of Business. The gift of $1.2 million, which has been augmented with $300,000 from the University’s Sesquicentennial Endowed Professorship Challenge, was announced by Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton. It will create the Robert and Barbara Frick Professorship in Business; Todd R. Zenger, Ph.D., will be formally installed as the first holder on Feb. 10.

“Washington University and the Olin School benefit tremendously from this very generous gift of Barbara and Robert Frick. We are very grateful and honored for their trust and support of our academic mission,” Wrighton said.

“This professorship is extremely important to ensure that high quality teaching and scholarship continue for generations to come in the Olin School,” said Stuart I. Greenbaum, Ph.D., Bank of America Professor and dean of the John M. Olin School of Business. “I am pleased to announce Todd R. Zenger as the inaugural holder, to recognize his outstanding contributions to the academic enterprise.”

Zenger joined the John M. Olin School of Business faculty in 1990 as an assistant professor of organization and strategy. He was promoted to associate professor in 1995 and professor in 1998. During this period he also served as a resident fellow in the Center for Business, Law and Economics in the Olin School. He teaches a range of courses from undergraduate to Ph.D. and Executive M.B.A. level courses, covering subjects from corporate strategy to organizational economics, and organization design and management. Among his research interests are economic theories of the firm, compensation, organizational design, business strategy, and managing technology. In 1995 he received the Executive MBA Teacher of the Year Award.

In addition to his teaching and research, Zenger currently directs the Olin School’s executive M.B.A. program. Prior to this, he served as Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.

Zenger is widely published in scholarly journals. In addition, he is associate editor for Management Science and serves on the editorial boards of Academy of Management Review, Organization Science, and Strategic Organization. He received a bachelor’s degree from Stanford University and a doctoral degree from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Robert W. Frick, a native St. Louisan, holds two degrees from Washington University — an undergraduate degree from the School of Engineering and Applied Science in civil engineering and a master’s degree in business administration from the Olin School of Business — graduating in 1960 and 1962, respectively.

A veteran of the banking industry, Frick joined Bank of America in 1963 and worked in corporate finance until 1974, when he joined Measurex Corporation as a director and vice president of finance. He rejoined Bank of America a few years later and rose through the ranks. While at the bank, he was located in San Francisco, Tokyo and London. He served in a number of positions including president of the bank’s venture capital subsidiaries and chief financial officer. Frick retired in 1988, as vice chairman of its Board of Directors and head of its world banking group.

After retiring, he joined his wife, Barbara in growing her successful real estate business, K.E.S. Management, in the San Francisco Bay area where they live. Barbara Frick is a graduate of the University of Kansas, where she received a bachelor’s degree in education, and San Jose State University, where she obtained a master’s degree.

In addition to his work in real estate, he also teaches business strategy in the Executive MBA program at St. Mary’s College of California, and actively serves on the boards of seven companies headquartered on the West Coast.

Frick’s ties with the Olin School are strong, and he is a dedicated volunteer for his alma mater. Since 1987 he has chaired the San Francisco Eliot Society Committee, and also has served on a number of committees, including the San Francisco Regional Cabinet and the Regional Campaign Committee. Furthermore, he serves on Olin’s National Council. He received the school’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 1988.