John O'Connell, Ph.D.

C.V. Starr Chair of International Risk Management
Areas of Expertise: 

International risk management, Emergency/Disaster planning, Global insurance issues


Business & Culture of Dubai/UAE, Challenges in Middle Eastern Economy, International Risk Management, Risk Management for Entrepreneurs

Professional Bio: 

John O’Connell, Ph.D., chair of the Thunderbird Faculty Senate, has been a professor of global business and the C.V. Starr Chair of International Risk Management at Thunderbird School of Global Management since 1984. His professional and academic achievements have earned him international recognition as one of the foremost experts in international risk management, emergency planning and global insurance issues.

Dr. O’Connell has devoted a great deal of his time and efforts in the study of local, national and international security. He has met with representatives of 11 southeast Asian countries regarding the coordination of security efforts between countries, and he consulted with members of the city council of Kobe, Japan, on its efforts to solve security issues associated with container traffic coming from the port of Pusan, South Korea.

Following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the United States, he did extensive research into the lessons learned from the World Trade Center and presented that information in Toronto Canada in 2002 at the 12th World Conference on Disaster Management. Since, he has presented the research in a number of business and educational settings. In 2006, he was selected by the Secretary of the Air Force to participate in the National Security Forum held at Air Force War College at Maxwell Air Force Base and in 2008 attended a similar program at Nellis Air Force Base. He also visited Kabul, Afghanistan, in 2009 to offer assistance in developing an Afghanistan Disaster Plan.

Dr. O’Connell is a co-editor and a major contributor to The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Management and The Blackwell Encyclopedia Dictionary of International Management. He has also authored nearly 40 articles related to risk management and insurance in a variety of academic journals and trade publications. He was appointed to the Executive Editorial Board of the Journal of Transportation Security in 2008.

He has been a member of the Insurance Council of the American Management Association since 1997 and is a member of the International Committee of the Risk and Insurance Management Society. He has served on different committees and commissions, including the Arizona Governor’s Commission on Workers Compensation and as the chairman of the Arizona Commission on Liability Insurance.

Dr. O’Connell, who holds CPCU (Chartered Property & Casualty Underwriter) and ARM (Associate in Risk Management) certificates, received his Ph.D. in insurance and organizational behavior from Ohio State University in 1975, receiving his MBA from OSU that same year. He earned his MS in economics in 1970 from the University of Oregon and his BA in economics from Western Washington State College in 1968.