McClain previously served as vice president for academic affairs for the system from 2003 to 2004 and as dean of the UH Manoa College of Business and First Hawaiian Bank Distinguished Professor of Leadership and Management from 2000 to 2003. He first joined the Manoa campus in 1991 as the Henry A. Walker Jr. Distinguished Professor of Business Enterprise and professor of financial economics and institutions.
After receiving a BA in economics and mathematics from the University of Kansas, McClain joined the U.S. Army, completing his service as a first lieutenant in Vietnam. He earned a PhD in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and was a tenured faculty member and department chair at Boston University and founding director of its Management Development Program–Japan. He has taught at MIT’s Sloan School of Management and at Universidad Gabriela Mistral in Santiago, Chile, and has been a visiting scholar at Keio and Meiji Universities in Japan. He also served as senior staff economist on the Council of Economic Advisors to President Jimmy Carter and as head of global economic information services for Data Resources, Inc.
McClain has headed the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Business Management Network and is on the board of advisors for Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University in Japan. He is a director of ML Resources, the managing partner of ML Macadamia Orchards, and First Insurance Company of Hawai‘i, a joint venture of CNA and Tokio Marine Nichido. He is the author of Apocalypse on Wall Street (Dow-Jones/Irwin) and hundreds of scholarly articles and columns on economic issues. He is married to Wendie McClain; they have three children and two granddaughters.