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Sean O'Keefe

Sean O'Keefe

Contact Information:


309 Eggers Hall

Sean O'Keefe

University Professor

Howard G. and S. Louise Phanstiel Chair in Strategic Management and Leadership

Distinguished Senior Advisor, Center for Strategic and International Studies

Senior Research Associate, Campbell Public Affairs Institute


Central Challenges in National Security Law and Policy

Managerial Leadership Seminar

Public Management of Technology Development (Spring/Winter intersession)

Highest degree earned

M.P.A., Syracuse University, 1978


Sean O’Keefe is University Professor and the Howard and Louise Phanstiel Endowed Chair in Strategic Management and Leadership at the Syracuse University Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. He is the 17th faculty recipient in the nearly 150 year Syracuse history to be designated University Professor, the most senior faculty appointment conferred by the institution. Concurrently, he is a distinguished senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a partner institution with the Maxwell School in Washington, D.C.

Previously, O’Keefe was chairman and chief executive officer of Airbus Group Inc, the U.S.-based corporate division of the global aerospace corporation. Prior to joining Airbus, O'Keefe was a company officer and vice president of the General Electric Company following service as chancellor of the Louisiana State University. On four separate occasions O'Keefe served as a presidential appointee when he led NASA, as secretary of the Navy, as deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget and deputy assistant to the President, and as comptroller and CFO at the Defense Department.

His first presidential appointment followed nearly a decade with the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee concluding as staff director of defense subcommittee. Between public service posts and at various times in his career, he held faculty appointments at the Pennsylvania State University, LSU and Syracuse University. Following completion of his graduate degree at the Maxwell School, his public service experiences began as a Presidential Management Intern in the inaugural class of the program in 1978.  

O'Keefe is the recipient of the Defense Department's Distinguished Public Service Award, the faculty recipient of the Syracuse University Chancellor's Award for Public Service; the Department of Navy's Public Service Award and has been awarded honorary doctorate degrees from five higher education institutions, including Loyola University, New Orleans, his undergraduate alma mater. On three occasions, Irish American Magazine designated O'Keefe as among the Top 100 Irish Americans. Syracuse University presented him with the distinguished alumni Arents Award for Excellence in Public Service, and the Meridian International Center honored him with the Corporate Leadership award.

O'Keefe is a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration and serves on the board of directors of the Partnership for Public Service. His graduate course offerings include public management, national security policy, technology management, leadership and participation in various executive education programs.


Public management, national security policy and strategy, public finance and public budgeting, financial management, technology development and innovation management, executive leadership