University of Pittsburgh
October 25, 2000


Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH, Oct. 25 -- A $1.5 million gift from The PNC Foundation to the University of Pittsburgh's Katz Graduate School of Business will be used to establish the Thomas H. O'Brien Chair in Business Administration. The faculty member selected to hold the chair is expected to be a nationally recognized expert in the fields of strategic management and organizational behavior.

The O'Brien Professorship is the result of an endowment provided by PNC to honor O'Brien for his 15 years as chief executive officer. During his tenure, The PNC Financial Services Group evolved from a regional bank into a national financial services firm, increasing assets from $15 billion to $76 billion and earnings growth from

$143 million to $ 1.26 billion. O'Brien retired as CEO effective May 1, 2000, and remains chairman until May 1, 2001.

"The University of Pittsburgh is very proud to be the home to the O'Brien Chair," University Chancellor Mark Nordenberg said. "Tom O'Brien is one of Southwestern Pennsylvania's favorite sons, a person who has generously invested his time and talent in a broad range of community initiatives. He also has consistently applied his vision and his own strategic thinking, both in guiding PNC's growth and in helping shape the region's transition from its proud industrial past to a position of strength in the knowledge-based economy of the new millennium. It is particularly fitting, then, that the chair bearing his name will be here in Pittsburgh and will emphasize strategic management."

"To have a professorship in my name and be affiliated with a nationally respected institution like the University of Pittsburgh is truly an honor," O'Brien said. "It makes me proud to know this professor will be contributing to the development of future business leaders in Pittsburgh and beyond."

The O'Brien Professor will serve in a leading business school that values interdisciplinary research and is not divided by departments. Frederick Winter, dean of the Katz School, said the O'Brien Professor would likely come from academic roots in "management," not limited to, but including the fields of strategic management and organizational behavior.

"The career success of Mr. O'Brien was based on building a highly effective, innovative, and diverse management team at PNC, and, in a similar vein, the O'Brien Professor will be responsible for energizing and contributing to the productivity of faculty colleagues, while continuing to build the School's reputation," Winter said.

The chairholder will likely have a record that demonstrates a strong interest in the strategy of the firm and the relationship between the strategy of the firm and the organization used to implement the strategy, the dean added. A record of cross-disciplinary research will be considered a positive aspect of any candidate's record.

"This is a senior chair within the Katz School, and the individual who holds it must be a preeminent scholar with an international reputation," Winter said. The O'Brien Professor will join other key chairholders in Katz and be responsible for the academic leadership of the School.

The O'Brien Professorship is the latest development in an ongoing relationship between PNC and the Katz School. O'Brien and other PNC executives have been active in the graduate school, supporting efforts related to development and curriculum. Some have made presentations to students as part of the school's "Best Practice Partners" in financial services and also have participated in the middle markets program.

In 1999, the PNC Foundation also provided $1.5 million in support for the PNC Team Technology Center at the Katz School. The center will enhance the School's team-oriented educational approach with the very latest in technology and other learning resources, Winter said. Construction of the Oakland center is expected to be completed by May 2001.

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