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Darla Moore School of Business


Donald J. Schepker

Title: Associate Professor
Research Director, Center for Executive Succession
Department: Management
Darla Moore School of Business
Phone: 803-777-5977
Office: DMSB 410D
Resources: Curriculum Vitae [pdf]
Donald Schepker


Donald J. “DJ” Schepker is an associate professor of strategic management in the Moore School and is the research director in the Center for Executive Succession. Schepker received his Ph.D. in Strategic Management from the University of Kansas and B.S. from Babson College with a focus on finance and economics. His research focuses on corporate governance, executive succession and turnover, board level decision making, and dynamics between executives and boards. His research has appeared in outlets such as the Academy of Management Journal, Strategic Management Journal, Journal of Management and Leadership Quarterly, and he is currently on the editorial board of the Journal of Management. Prior to completing his Ph.D., Schepker worked in the advisory practice at PricewaterhouseCoopers, conducting assessments of areas such as risk, fraud and due diligence for a variety of publicly traded companies, institutions of higher education and government-affiliated entities. 

Strategic Management (MGMT 478), Global Strategic Management (DMSB 711), doctoral seminar in Strategy Formulation (MGMT 878), Thinking Strategically (Executive Development), Translating Strategy into Results (Executive Development)

My focus is on helping students to build critical thinking skills to analyze company decision-making and strategy with an emphasis on bringing real-world experiences into the classroom and applying coursework from across the Darla Moore School of Business’ curriculum through experiential exercises. At the undergraduate and MBA level, this includes using knowledge application through involvement in an extensive business simulation where you compete as a team against other students in the course.

Much of my current research revolves around how organizations manage and groom executive talent to prepare for executive succession. This includes understanding how boards of directors get access that is necessary to better understand the qualifications of executive talent both internal and external to the company.

My research assists boards of directors and executives in understanding the common problems that are encountered when planning for changes in executive leadership. Many board members and executives experience only a handful of succession events, and thus much of the best practices in this area revolve around these limited experiences. By aggregating these experiences and sharing the successes and failures of organizations collectively, we can help by identifying solutions means to ensure success while avoiding common pitfalls.

I am working to help understand how a variety of succession planning processes influence the efficacy of decision-making. My current work is also exploring whether certain successors have changed in their effectiveness over time or if market changes influence the speed at which organizations choose to dismiss executive talent.

My research involves a variety of doctoral students who assist in research design and testing. However, we also use a variety of masters students to collect important data. For instance, we have been gathering data on large company executives over a series of years to learn how the composition of executive leadership teams and changes in those teams over time influences performance.

I love having the opportunity to explore the questions I find most interesting and working with businesses to understand their problems. This blend of academic knowledge with practical application allows me to share interesting insights and stories in my research as well as the classroom. 

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.