David Wheeler most recently held the position of Pro Vice-Chancellor (Sustainability) and Executive Dean of Business at the University of Plymouth, United Kingdom (UK). In 2010, the University of Plymouth was assessed as the #1 Green University in the UK and in 2011, the University won the Green Gown award in the category of Institutional Change. In 2012, the University won the Most Sustainable University in the Public Sector Sustainability Awards.
Dr. Wheeler is an internationally experienced academic and business person with more than two decades of senior executive level involvement in change management and sustainable business practice, research and teaching. Throughout his career, David has provided support to senior management teams in pursuing strategic change. He has particular expertise in service industries and energy and extractive industries.
In the last five years, David Wheeler has focused much of his advisory work in the fields of energy conservation and renewable energy policy in South West England, Nova Scotia and Alberta. He continues to pursue his interests in the role of the private sector in international development which has been built on major projects undertaken for the World Bank, the United Nations Development Program, the Canadian Development Agency, the International Development Research Centre and the UK Department for International Development.
David Wheeler’s former academic posts included Dean of Management, Dalhousie University (Canada), 2006-2009 and Director and Erivan K Haub Professor in Business and Sustainability at the Schulich School of Business, York University (Canada), 1999-2006. During Dr. Wheeler’s tenure, York University was regularly ranked in the top few schools worldwide for its integration of sustainability issues into the business curriculum. In 2010, Dalhousie University Business School was judged by CEO Europe as the Most Innovative School in Canada for changes made under Dr. Wheeler’s leadership.
David Wheeler has published more than 80 articles and book chapters in a wide variety of academic journals, books, parliamentary inquiries and popular journals, and has delivered speeches to numerous conferences and events. Top tier journals in which he has been published include the British Medical Journal, the Lancet, Energy Policy, Water Research, the Journal of Portfolio Management, the Journal of Business Ethics, Long Range Planning, and the MIT Sloan Management Review. David’s most recent book (with Elizabeth Kurucz and Barry Colbert) was published in early 2013: Reconstructing Value: Leadership Skills for a Sustainable World (University of Toronto Press).
David has participated in numerous television and radio broadcasts on environmental and social issues and business. Dr. Wheeler was principal author of The Stakeholder Corporation – the first business text to be endorsed by former UK Prime Minister, Tony Blair. He was an advisor to the UK Government on governance aspects of the Company Law Review, a member of the UK Government Advisory Committee on Consumer Products and the Environment and the Reference Group for Canada’s National Report to the World Summit on Sustainable Development (Rio+10). He was co-founder of the UK business-led Committee of Inquiry – A New Vision for Business that reported directly to Prime Minister Tony Blair in November 1999.
Prior to his academic appointments, David was a member of the Executive Management team of international cosmetics firm The Body Shop International. Dr. Wheeler spent 7 years overseeing a business operating in 50 countries with worldwide retail sales of $1 billion. As Executive Director (Senior VP) of Environmental and Social Policy, Dr. Wheeler had strategic oversight of human resources and learning, sustainability issues and non-financial auditing and reporting. In his time with The Body Shop, David Wheeler developed the company’s groundbreaking Values Reports which were rated top in a worldwide ranking by SustainAbility for the United Nations on corporate environmental and social reporting.