McCombs Hall of Fame to Induct Three Prominent Business Leaders

The McCombs School of Business has announced its Hall of Fame Class of 2009-three prominent business leaders who will be inducted at a ceremony at the ATandT Executive Education and Conference Center on The University of Texas at Austin campus Nov. 6.

The honorees are James R. Huffines, Joel V. Staff and Elizabeth Henke Yant.



is chairman of PlainsCapital Bank for the Central and Southwest Region and senior executive vice president of PlainsCapital Corporation. Huffines has been appointed to two six-year terms on The University of Texas System Board of Regents by Governor Rick Perry beginning in February 2003. The Board elected him chairman in June 2004, and he served in that capacity until November 2007, when he was elected as a vice chairman of the board. During his tenure as a regent, he also served on the board of directors of The University of Texas Investment Management Company.

"James is a dedicated leader whose service to the state and the University of Texas has been an indispensable asset over the years," Gov. Perry said. "He is not only a longtime friend, but someone whose leadership and wisdom I deeply respect, and I congratulate him on the honor of being inducted into the McCombs School of Business Hall of Fame."

Huffines has a long record of civic involvement and serves on the board of the Austin Chamber of Commerce, where he chairs the Regional Infrastructure Committee. He is also on the board of the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum. He is a member of the Texas Lyceum and the Texas Philosophical Society. Huffines earned a bachelor's degree in business administration in 1973 from The University of Texas at Austin.



is chairman of the board of directors of Reliant Energy and chairman of the Finance and Risk Oversight Committee. He served as chairman and chief executive officer of Reliant Energy, Inc. from 2003 to 2007.

He is a trustee of Texas Children's Hospital, a member of the McCombs School Of Business Advisory Council and an advisory director of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Houston.

Staff earned a bachelor's degree in business administration in 1967 from The University of Texas at Austin, a master of business administration degree in 1971 from Texas AandM University-Kingsville and Certified Public Accountant accreditation in 1974.

"Joel is a compassionate leader and an innovator in the energy industry," said McCombs School Dean Tom Gilligan. "He demonstrates this not only in the business arena but also through his community involvement and generous philanthropic spirit. His dedication to the McCombs School as a member of our Advisory Council and his support of The University of Texas at Austin are greatly valued."



is a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP in Houston. She has more than 30 years of experience specializing in international and domestic taxation of multinational, mid-cap and start-up companies. She also has built and managed several tax and legal consulting practices. She is the firm's relationship partner on one of the world's leading oil and gas companies leading a team of business advisory as well as tax specialists. She also serves as engagement tax partner for several energy, services and investment fund clients.

Yant is a 1977 graduate of The University of Texas at Austin with a bachelor's degree in accounting and a master's degree in professional accounting in 1978. She leads the firm's recruiting efforts at The University of Texas at Austin and is a member of the McCombs School of Business Advisory Council and the Department of Accounting Advisory Council. She recently was honored with the Texas Star award by the McCombs Department of Accounting.

"Liz is passionate about the success of the McCombs School, and her commitment is reflected in the abundance of time and support she has given to our activities over many years," said Stephen Limberg, McCombs accounting professor. "This is especially impressive given Liz's high and consuming leadership role in PricewaterhouseCoopers."

Yant serves on the steering committee of the Greater Houston Partnership Executive Women's Partnership Committee. She has been involved in many community not-for-profit activities in the U.S. and abroad.

Learn more about the McCombs School Hall of Fame.