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John Gallemore: Triple Tar Heel

5/19/2014

John Gallemore - UNC Kenan-FlaglerJohn Gallemore’s research has taken him all across the world: from presentations at the University of Oxford to European banking conferences in the Netherlands to accounting colloquia in Paris. And that’s all before he completed his PhD in accounting at UNC Kenan-Flagler.

Gallemore (PhD ’14, MBA ’09, BSBA ’05) also has presented his work on banking regulation at dozens of U.S. universities — Harvard, Columbia and Stanford, to name a few – and he’s gone before regulatory agencies such as the FDIC.

He’ll continue his research at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business when he joins the faculty in July.

Gallemore began his academic career at UNC Kenan-Flagler as a student in the Undergraduate Business Program student. After graduating with a double major in business and political science, he worked at Navigant Consulting, Inc.

“Consulting is very interesting because you get to go into a project and there are lots of questions that need to be answered,” he said. But Gallemore eventually became frustrated with his job, which didn’t allow him to choose his projects or see them through from beginning to end.

He came back to UNC Kenan-Flagler in 2007 to attend the MBA Program. Classes on taxes and accounting attracted him from the start. He attended conferences and seminars, spoke with professors and sat in on PhD classes.

“They were fascinating,” he said. “I had no clue what anyone was talking about.”

In 2008 — a year into his MBA — the financial system collapsed, which brought to the forefront the many problems with financial firms’ accounting practices. For Gallemore, this sealed the deal: He was going to get a PhD in accounting.

Soon after he received his MBA with a focus in corporate finance – and graduating first in his class – he started UNC Kenan Flagler’s PhD accounting program. He spent the last five years learning from tax experts like Doug Shackelford, the Meade H. Willis Distinguished Professor of Taxation and now dean, and doing research on banks’ accounting practices.

“I’ve been looking at regulation in light of the financial crisis,” he said. “A lot of people were talking about what we can do to mitigate the chances of this happening again. We had all these interesting questions that people didn’t have answers to.”

Gallemore tries to provide answers to some of those questions.

“I like research that has practical implications,” he said. “Some academic research is just academics talking to other academics. Specifically with banking research, we’re trying to make banks safer, better.”

His first paper focused on the makeup of regulatory capital — the equity banks are required to hold to absorb losses. It won the best paper award at the University of Oxford CBT Doctoral Meeting in 2011.

Gallemore got the idea for the paper after reading an article in The Wall Street Journal. He looked at the existing academic literature and couldn’t find any research that on the topic. “There was an opportunity to contribute,” he said.

While most academic literature has focused on the overall level of banks’ regulatory capital, Gallemore was interested in the composition. He found that many banks filled the capital requirement using deferred tax assets — a type of asset that has little value when a bank is experiencing losses. Gallemore linked this use of deferred tax assets to a greater risk of bank failure.

“Not all assets are created equally,” he said.

Gallemore also has researched how firms that aggressively evade taxes rarely face reputational or long-term consequences. He wrote a paper on the topic — to be published in Contemporary Accounting Research — with Jacob Thornock of the University of Washington Professor and Edward Maydew, the David E. Hoffmann Distinguished Professor of Accounting at UNC Kenan-Flagler.

John Gallemore - UNC Kenan-FlaglerHe’s already earned numerous academic honors. He received one of just 10 Deloitte Foundation Doctoral Fellowship Awards in 2012, and he served as the American Accounting Association's representative at the 2013 European Accounting Association Doctoral Colloquium in Paris.

Gallemore credits much of his success — including his job at Chicago Booth, a top business school known for rigorous research — to the support he’s received from UNC Kenan-Flagler faculty. His professors and mentors pushed him to go to conferences, pursue research opportunities and helped him in his job search.

“For the type of research that I’ve done, I’m not sure that there’s a better place to have done it,” he said. “I wouldn’t have been able to land this job without coming here. The opportunities, the support from the faculty made this possible.”