Preston Townley, 49-year-old dean of the University of Minnesota's business school, has been selected president and chief executive of the Conference Board, a business-supported research organization based in New York.
Townley is a noted fund-raiser who led a $40-million campaign at Minnesota and is president of the Harvard Alumni Assn. for the 1988-89 term.
In an interview, Townley said his goal is to make sure the Conference Board's activities mesh with the desires of the senior executives who make up its board of trustees.
Townley has been dean of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management since 1984. He helped secure a $25-million gift from entrepreneur Curtis Carlson to the university, $18 million of which went to the business school. In turn, the school was named after Carlson.
From 1964 to 1983, Townley held various jobs at General Mills Inc., headquartered in Minneapolis. He has also been active in raising money for the arts, community organizations and the Democratic party.
Townley is to be formally elected by the Conference Board trustees Sept. 22. He will succeed James T. Mills, who will be 65 in November and has served nearly seven years as president and chief executive.
The Conference Board, founded in 1916, is a nonprofit research group with a staff of more than 350 in the United States, Canada and Europe.