Bush Center President and CEO Named Cox School's Inaugural Distinguished Executive in Residence

by Anna Martinez|

Dallas, TX (SMU) Monday, Aug. 21, 2023 — The SMU Cox School of Business proudly announces that Ken Hersh, president and chief executive officer of the George W. Bush Presidential Center, has accepted an appointment as the Cox School’s inaugural Distinguished Executive in Residence. This honorary position for distinguished business leaders and preeminent figures is part of an initiative to broaden the School’s influence as a thought leader in business. The Distinguished Executive in Residence program also creates more opportunities for student learning and faculty collaboration. The 2023-2024 academic year is the first of Hersh’s four-year appointment, with potential for re-appointment.

“As the president and CEO of the Bush Center, Ken is a good friend to SMU and the Cox School,” said Matthew B. Myers, dean of the Cox School. “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.”

Different from executive-in-residence programs that bring mid-level executives into full- and part-time teaching roles, the Cox Distinguished Executive in Residence is a position for a limited number of distinguished, globally experienced leaders. In this role, Hersh will take part in three to four student engagements per academic year and may also collaborate on writing opportunities of his choosing. Hersh 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. “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.”    

Hersh has served as president and CEO of the Bush Center since 2016. He 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 his leadership, NGP invested over $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.
He is a frequent writer and speaker on topics ranging from economics and geopolitics to the energy industry and financial markets. In 2023, Hersh released his book, The Fastest Tortoise: Winning in Industries I Knew Nothing About, which chronicles his life’s lessons evolving from his many business and personal experiences.

He also oversees his family investment office, investing in sectors across the economy. Hersh sits on the boards of the Texas Rangers Baseball Club and several private companies in which he invests. In addition, 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. 

His business record has been recognized nationally. In 2023, he 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, Hersh received the L. Frank Pitts Energy Leadership Award presented by the SMU Cox School of Business for demonstrating outstanding leadership and innovation in the field of energy. In 2017, he 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.  

Hersh is also very involved in the nonprofit arena both nationally and locally through the efforts of the Hersh Foundation. 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. 

He is an alumnus of St. Mark’s School of Dallas and attended Princeton University, where he graduated magna cum laude with a degree in Politics in 1985. An Arjay Miller Scholar at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, he earned his MBA in 1989.

About SMU Cox 

The SMU Cox School of Business celebrated 100 years of business education at SMU in 2020. The Cox School is committed to influencing the way the world conducts business via prolific research that provokes innovation, change and global thought leadership. Cox faculty members strive to connect ground-breaking research to the classroom as well as the marketplace. Cox faculty are widely published in the world’s most prestigious management journals. The Cox School of Business offers a full range of business education programs including BBA, Full-Time MBA, Professional MBA (part-time), Executive MBA, Online MBA (OMBA), Direct Admit MBA and Master’s degree programs, as well as Executive Education. Consistently ranked among the world’s leading business schools, SMU Cox maintains an active alumni network and is accredited by the AACSB.               


Ken Hersh - Inaugural Role at SMU Cox
Ken Hersh named to new role at the Cox School