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May 24, 2023

Passings: Larry Crosby, Former Dean of the Drucker School and Entrepreneur

Larry Crosby former Drucker School dean

Larry Crosby, who served as dean of the Drucker School of Management from 2013 to 2015, died May 14 in a plane crash in Wyoming along with his wife, Frances. They were returning home to Bend, Oregon, in their single-engine plane after attending the funeral of Frances’ father in Toronto.

Though Crosby was dean for just two years before returning to the private sector, he left an indelible mark at CGU by laying the foundation for both the Drucker Institute Corporate Effectiveness Index and a revival of the Executive PhD program. The former has become a staple at The Wall Street Journal, with the Management Top 250 serving as a badge of honor for businesses that make the cut. The latter will be realized in fall 2023 when the Executive PhD is again offered.

Crosby was an accomplished academic and entrepreneur, driven by intellectual curiosity and possessing a keen sense of marketing. As dean of the Spears School of Business at Oklahoma State University, he created the Watson Graduate School of Management and the PhD in Business for Executives program, and successfully raised funds for a new business school building. Fifteen years earlier, he founded and served as chairman and CEO for Symmetrics Marketing Corp., a customer loyalty research and consulting business in Arizona. In 2004, he sold the company to Synovate, a global market research company, where he continued on as chief loyalty architect of the Customer Experience Practice.

He was a member of the faculty at Arizona State University, the University of Michigan, and the University of Nebraska, and was published in a variety of academic and professional journals. Focusing on measures, models, and management principles, his innovative practices in the field of customer satisfaction and loyalty have been adopted by a global following of Fortune 500 companies.

When he became dean in 2013, he said he was attracted to the Drucker School in large part because of its commitment to its namesake’s principles.

“The legacy of Peter Drucker has helped maintain a focus on such overarching leadership issues as organizational effectiveness, innovation, employee and customer relationships, management of knowledge workers, social responsibility, and individual well-being. All are approached from a transdisciplinary perspective,” Crosby said. “I admire how the faculty and students are bridging these topics.”