Deming Center Leadership


Nelson M. Fraiman is a Professor of Professional Practice in the Decision, Risk, and Operations Division at Columbia Business School. He is also the faculty director of Entrepreneurship and Competitiveness in Latin America (ECLA), a program for Latin American entrepreneurs who aim to be successful across borders. His current research centers on entrepreneurship and operational excellence.

Fraiman joined the faculty in 1995 after a 17-year career at International Paper Company, where his most recent position was chief technology officer. He teaches operations management and strategy and has conducted executive education programs in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Holland, Israel, Mexico, South Korea, the United States, and Uruguay. Fraiman holds a BS in industrial engineering, an MS, MBA, and PhD from Columbia University.

Research Director

Omar Besbes is the Vikram S. Professor of Business in the Decision, Risk and Operations Division of Columbia Business School. His primary research interests are in the area of decision-making under model uncertainty with a focus on applications in e-commerce, pricing, and revenue management, online advertising, operations management and service systems. His research has been recognized by the 2012 INFORMS Revenue Management and Pricing Section prize as well as the 2013 M&SOM best paper award. In INFORMS 2019, he was a winner of the prestigious Frederick W. Lanchester Prize awarded for the best contribution to operations research and the management sciences published in English in the past five years. He serves on the editorial boards of Management Science and Operations Research.

Professor Besbes is a graduate Ecole Polytechnique (France) and received an MS from Stanford University in 2000 and a PhD from Columbia University in 2008. Before joining Columbia, he was on the faculty at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.

Chairman of the Advisory Board

David Niles is President of G100 Companies, a professional services holding company, and SSA & Company, a professional management consulting firm.  David has extensive experience in building businesses, as a strategic advisor, private equity investor, and operating executive.  Previous to SSA, David was a Partner at Castling Group, a management consulting firm and private equity fund with offices in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles.  Prior to Castling, David was a member of Booz, Allen and Hamilton's Media and Entertainment Practice, where he worked on numerous strategic and growth-related initiatives.

David holds a MBA, with distinction, from Columbia Business School and a BA from the University of Virginia. He currently sits on the board of Leading Edge Aviation, a portfolio company of Vance Street Capital, and is an investor in private companies and venture capital funds.  He is also a member of the Gotham Chapter of YPO.