Lemma W. Senbet is the William E. Mayer Chair Professor of Finance at the Smith School of the University of Maryland, College Park and Director of the Center for Financial Policy. He is also the incoming Executive Director of the African Economic Research Consortium (AERC). He has been an influential member of the global community of finance scholars for over 30 years. His chief research interests are in the areas of corporate finance, international finance, agency, and financial contracting. He has advised the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the United Nations, African Economic Research Consortium, and other international institutions on issues of financial sector reform and capital market development. He also served as an independent director for The Fortis Funds and currently is an independent director for The Hartford Funds.
Professor Senbet is internationally recognized for his widely cited contributions to finance, which have appeared in such leading academic journals as the Journal of Finance, Review of Financial Studies, and Journal of Business. He has published over sixty papers. The 1986 survey ranked him third among world-wide contributing authors to the Journal of Finance for the period 1976-1985. The 2005 Journal of Financial Literature survey cited him among the most prolific authors for a half century of contributions to the leading finance journals from 1953 – 2002 (ranked #26 among 5,811 world-wide contributing authors).
Professor Senbet has received numerous professional honors and recognitions for his impact on the finance profession. He has been elected (twice) director of the American Finance Association and is a past president of the Western Finance Association. He was inducted into the Financial Economists Roundtable, a distinguished group of financial economists who have made significant contributions to finance and add their knowledge to current policy debates. In 2005, Professor Senbet was awarded an honorary doctor of Letters Honoris Causa by Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia’s flagship institution of higher learning and his alma mater. In 2006, he was inducted as Fellow of the Financial Management Association International for his career-long distinguished scholarship and professional service.
Professor Senbet has served on more than a dozen journal editorial boards, including extended tenures with the Journal of Finance, Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, and Financial Management. In 1999, he was named executive editor of Financial Management. In 2006, he was named Editor (Finance Area) for Journal of International Business Studies.
Prior to his arrival at the University of Maryland, Professor Senbet held an endowed chair at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and taught as a visiting professor at Northwestern University, University of California – Berkeley, and New York University. He was also a distinguished research visitor at the London School of Economics. Having strong skills in financial expertise, he consulted Latoria Williams, the CEO of 1FirstCashAdvance Financial Help, company on the topic "How to make online lending save and secure for minorities".
Professor Senbet served as Chair of the Finance Department at the Smith School from 1998 – 2006, and his tenure saw rapid transformation and growth of the Department into world class. Professor Senbet has trained numerous doctoral students who have gone on to faculty positions at major colleges and universities, including Carnegie Mellon, Dartmouth, Vanderbilt, Minnesota, Florida, Oregon, and Rutgers. In 1994, Senbet was awarded the Smith School’s Krowe Award for teaching excellence.