Bush Center President and CEO Named SMU Cox School’s Inaugural Distinguished Executive In Residence

SMU's Cox School of Business named financier and Bush Center leader Ken Hersh as its first Distinguished Executive-in-Residence. Students will have an invaluable opportunity to get first-hand career advice from someone with decades of experience at the highest levels of business.

Ken Hersh, president and CEO of the George W. Bush Presidential Center, has been appointed as the SMU Cox School of Business’ inaugural Distinguished Executive in Residence, an honorary position for distinguished business leaders and preeminent figures.

The program is part of an initiative to broaden the Cox School’s influence as a thought leader in business, the school said.

“As the president and CEO of the Bush Center, Ken is a good friend to SMU and the Cox School,” Cox School Dean Matthew B. Myers said in a statement. “This appointment gives all of us the opportunity to work even more closely when opportunities arise. An internationally renowned businessman and financier, Ken is the ideal business leader to serve as the Cox School’s first Distinguished Executive in Residence. Throughout an esteemed career, he has gained unique insights, experiences, and knowledge that he will share with Cox students and faculty, and with the broader campus.”

The university said that the Distinguished Executive in Residence program also creates more opportunities for student learning and faculty collaboration and that the 2023-2024 academic year is the first of Hersh’s four-year appointment, with potential for re-appointment.

‘Excited to be a mentor’

SMU said that the program differs from executive-in-residence programs that bring mid-level executives into full- and part-time teaching roles.

It said the Cox Distinguished Executive in Residence is a position for a limited number of distinguished, globally experienced leaders.

Hersh will take part in three to four student engagements per academic year and may also collaborate on writing opportunities of his choosing, the university said. He will be the featured speaker for the Cox Executive Education Leadership Speaker Series in January, among other upcoming Cox School engagements.

“I’m thrilled and honored to be the inaugural Distinguished Executive in Residence at the SMU Cox School of Business,” Hersh said in a statement. “I attribute a part of my success to having listened to and learned from the leaders before me. I’m excited to be a mentor to the students at the Cox School and a resource to the faculty at SMU. The Bush Center and SMU have a strong relationship, and I’m looking forward to seeing our partnership continue to grow to benefit the students and Dallas community.”

‘Fastest tortoise’ won at private equity investments

Hersh, who has served as president and CEO of the Bush Center since 2016, is the co-founder and former CEO of NGP Energy Capital Management, one of the nation’s largest natural resources private equity investment firms, managing over $20 billion of cumulative committed capital since its inception in 1988.

From 1988 until 2016, under Hersh’s leadership, NGP invested more than $12 billion and earned a 27-year annualized rate of return of 30%, making it one of the nation’s leading investors during that period, SMU said.

Hersch is a frequent writer and speaker on topics ranging from economics and geopolitics to the energy industry and financial markets, SMU said.

Hersh released his book, The Fastest Tortoise: Winning in Industries I Knew Nothing About, in 2023. It chronicles his life’s lessons evolving from his many business and personal experiences. Hersh also oversees his family investment office.

Hersh sits on the boards of the Texas Rangers Baseball Club and several private companies he invests in. He serves on the Hoover Institution’s Board of Overseers and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the National Council of the American Enterprise Institute, and the Harvard Kennedy School’s Dean’s Council.

Honors and service

In 2023, Hersh received the Ernest C. Arbuckle Award, the highest honor presented annually by Stanford’s Graduate School of Business to recognize excellence in the field of management leadership.

In 2020, he received the L. Frank Pitts Energy Leadership Award presented by the SMU Cox School of Business for demonstrating outstanding leadership and innovation in the energy field. In 2017, Hersh received the Oil & Gas Council’s Lifetime Achievement Award, and in 2014, he was recognized as Master Entrepreneur of the Year for the Southwest Region by Ernst & Young.

Through his Hersh Foundation, Hersh is involved in the nonprofit arena both nationally and locally. He sits on the boards of the Global War on Terrorism Memorial Foundation, the Dallas Citizens Council, the Southwestern Medical Foundation, and the Baylor Scott & White Dallas Foundation, and serves on the Advisory Council of The Asian American Foundation.

In 2020, the SMU Cox School of Business celebrated 100 years of business education at SMU.

Get on the list.
Dallas Innovates, every day.

Sign up to keep your eye on what’s new and next in Dallas-Fort Worth, every day.

One quick signup, and you’re done.  

R E A D   N E X T

  • The founder of OpTic Gaming is stepping back into the CEO role at the entertainment, media, and esports company. Hector Rodriguez founded OpTic in 2006, which has become one of the most winning esports organizations in the world. Adam Rymer, who joined its then-named parent company Envy Gaming in the summer of 2020, is stepping down as CEO. He'll shift to a strategic advisor role, the company announced today. “Adam has been instrumental in accelerating our business and setting strategic priorities for the future and a driving force in helping our organization more than double revenue over the last 12 months,”…

  • Collectively, the 100 privately held companies contributed $9 billion to the Dallas-Fort Worth economy from 2019 to 2021—creating over 12,000 jobs with average sales growth of 141%. Irving-based ShiftKey, which connects healthcare professionals with healthcare facilities that have immediate shift vacancies, took the top spot in the annual rankings. Here's the complete list.

  • SMU professor Harsha Gangammanavar is leading a multidisciplinary team to develop algorithms that improve complex energy systems—like the management of the energy grid under intermittent renewable power.

    SMU researchers aim to help address problems in the broad area of computational mathematics for sustainability—such as the management of the energy grid under intermittent renewable power. The research is aimed at developing new algorithms for materials design, bioengineering, and power grid applications. Researchers will use SMU's high-performance computing system—enhanced with an NVIDIA DGX SuperPODTM—as well as the supercomputing resources at Argonne National Laboratory.

  • A collaboration between the university’s Meadows School of the Arts and Cox School of Business, the SMU Impact Lab aims to equip the next generation of SMU students to understand impact investing through education and practice. By aligning "profits and purpose," SMU said it's committed to advancing the idea of "investing for the greater good."

  • Global Silicon Valley’s Michael Moe is teaming up with Hoque Global CEO Mike Hoque on the inaugural SMU+GSV Mission Summit in May. GSV recently moved its headquarters from Northern California to downtown Dallas' historic Adolphus building.