Professor Brian Fynes: 1959 - 2020

Professor Brian Fynes, World-leading Academic in Supply Chain Management

It is with deep sadness that the UCD Community mourns the passing of Professor Brian Fynes, Professor of Supply Chain Management at UCD College of Business.

Brian single-mindedly contributed to the development of operations management/supply chain (OM/SCM) as a research area in Europe and was appointed as Ireland’s first Full Professor of Supply Chain Management in 2007. He was one of the leading OM/SCM management scholars globally and his extensive publication record encompassed contributions to leading academic journals including Management Science, Production and Operations Management, the International Journal of Operations & Production Management and the European Journal of Operational Research. According to Babbar et al., (2018) Brian is ranked in the top 50 operations and supply chain management scholars globally.

“Brian placed Ireland and UCD firmly at the global forefront of research in the field of operations and supply chain management,” said Professor Tony Brabazon, Dean of the UCD College of Business. “In addition to his contribution to the academy, Brian worked tirelessly to bring his research insights to management practice. He also played a key role in the formation and development of UCD’s highly ranked MSc in Supply Chain Management, empowering a generation of future business leaders. His loss is felt deeply by our extended community.”

Brian’s work directly contributed to the rapid growth of international supply chain management (SCM) networks as he was instrumental in the creation of events that enabled leading SCM faculty and researchers to share their ideas, knowledge and experience around the globe. Brian’s enthusiasm for his subject and generosity as an academic is also evidenced by the impressive international network of co-authors he built over his career, and by the number of colleagues, junior academics, and students whose life he touched.

"I have worked with people who did the grunt work to make a project or organization successful, people who helped me navigate a new culture, people who knew when to call time on administrative silliness, people who gave the best advice and people who were good fun,” commented Mark Pagell, Chair of Global Leadership and Professor of Sustainable Supply Chain Management. “Brian was all of these people and more. He was a good colleague, a better friend and his passing leaves a hole that will be impossible to fill. "

A UCD BComm alumnus, Brian also completed his MBS and PhD at UCD. He began his illustrious career as an EU Marie Curie Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the Centre for Operations Management at London Business School under the mentorship of his advisor, Professor Chris Voss.

In 1990, Brian became a faculty member of the UCD College of Business where he went on to serve as Head of the Management Subject Area from 2007-2016. In this role, he has been pivotal in driving the growth of the subject area while preserving a collegiate, research-oriented ethos. He has been the recipient of significant research funding awards in conjunction with academic and corporate partners, from multiple funding agencies including Science Foundation Ireland, and led the creation of MSc programmes in the areas of Supply Chain Management and Technology Management. Professor Fynes also held multiple leadership positions in the UCD College of Business and the wider university, most recently including Associate Dean (International) where he made very significant contributions to the development and management of the UCD College of Business’ international portfolio of programmes and growing its international footprint. Brian also represented the College in important international networks of business schools such as GNAM and PIM.

“From the start of his career, Brian was committed to the internationalisation of the UCD College of Business, attracting students, faculty, international partners and networks,” remarked Patrick Gibbons, Professor of Strategic Management. “He was enthusiastic in contributing to the development of our international presence and reputation. He was devoted to helping and mentoring students and colleagues to pursue the highest standards of scholarship.”

Brian was a leader in establishing, and extensively contributing to, the European Operations Management Association (EurOMA)—an international network of over 800 academics and practitioners from around the world who have a common interest in the continuing development of the operations management field. He served on the EurOMA Board from 2008 to 2014 and in June of 2020, he received the highly prestigious EurOMA Fellowship Award in recognition of his significant contribution and impact in the field of operations management over an accomplished career.

Brian was also elected as the first European-based president of the Global Manufacturing Research Group (GMRG) in 2013 and received six Emerald Literati Awards for his published work in addition to Outstanding Reviewer Awards. He was also a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Logistics & Transport.

“Brian was not only a prolific and accomplished academic, but also a cheerful, good-natured and generous colleague,” said Federica Pazzaglia, Professor and Head of the Management Subject Area. “His good humour and easy-going attitude endeared him to his colleagues, and he was always a source of stability and encouragement for those around him. One could always count on Brian.”

Far beyond his academic achievements, Brian was a husband, dad and friend. His proudest accomplishment was his wonderful family. Brian will be dearly missed by a very wide and cherished circle of friends in Rush, UCD and far beyond. Our thoughts are with his wife Noreen, his sons Eóghan and Conall, his extended family and all those friends and colleagues who knew him. 

Today and in the coming days, those who knew Brian will share their memories and messages of how he inspired and influenced them. Given the current restrictions in place on social gatherings, a KudoBoard has been created where individuals can post messages, photos and share stories about Brian. Please add your messages here: https://www.kudoboard.com/boards/dB0nkdNP. Other users of the board will be able to view all posts.

The UCD Community’s thoughts are with the family at this difficult time.

TB, MP, PG, FP