In Memoriam: Chris Kobrak, Wilson-Currie Chair of Canadian Business and Financial History

January 11, 2017 by Tiff Macklem & Nicholas Terpstra

Dear colleagues,

I have some very sad and unexpected news.  Chris Kobrak, who held the Wilson/Currie Chair of Canadian Business and Financial History at Rotman, and who had started teaching in our Department with History 489H-F last fall,  died last night in Paris. Chris divided his time between Toronto and Paris. 

Professor Kobrak began teaching at Rotman in the 2012-13 academic year as a visiting professor. He continued to be a professor of finance at ESCP Europe in Paris, France, where he had taught since 1991.

In July 2015, Professor Kobrak joined the Rotman School as a full professor. During his career, his main areas of teaching included international finance, financial theory, especially corporate governance, and business and financial history. His research concentrated on corporate and financial history, which included how the evolution of capital markets and political risk affected business strategies. His special interest was the interface between history and management, especially how politics and economic events helped shape corporate forms, international investment decisions, and governance structures. Among his degrees, he held a PhD (Business History) from Columbia University in New York, and a post-doctoral Habilitation in Management from the University of Toulouse.

Professor Kobrak was internationally prominent in business history.  He took the lead in developing the Canadian Business History Association with Mark Bonham.  He was also eager to develop and expand links with the History Department, and in that capacity began teaching the HIS 489H course and also started serving on some doctoral committees.  We were looking forward to expanding the relationship in the years ahead. 

It is very hard to lose a colleague like this, with so much left to share with us. Our thoughts are with his family on this very sad day.

Tiff Macklem   Nicholas Terpstra

Dean, Rotman School of Management,  

Professor & Chair,
University of Toronto Department of History