As director of the School of Management he will be in charge of Oxford's first MBA course with an initial 40 student places planned to increase to 120 places by 1998. Oxford's project involves building a new business school on playing fields near Mansfield College close to the centre of the city.
It was made possible by a controversial pounds 20m donation from Wafic Said, the Syrian-born entrepreneur who helped to arrange the huge Al-Yamamah arms deal between Saudi Arabia and the UK. The university still faces severe hurdles before the chosen site can be developed.
Foremost among these is the difficult task of raising matching funds of pounds 20m and securing planning approval for the site.
Professor Kay said he wanted to establish the Oxford MBA course, which he will help to teach, as a subject strongly backed by existing disciplines such as sociology, economics and psychology.
From next January Professor Kay will step down as chairman of London Economics, the consultancy firm he co-founded and built up into a business with annual sales of pounds 6m. He will be replaced by Baroness Hogg, who as Sarah Hogg was the first business editor of the Independent in 1986. She went on to be the head of the Downing Street Policy Unit.