In Memoriam: James Stancill, 76

James Stancill

Professor James McNeil Stancill, Ph.D

By USC News

USC Professor Emeritus of Finance James McNeill Stancill, a leading member of the USC Marshall School of Business faculty for 43 years, died June 17 of pulmonary fibrosis at his home in Pasadena. He was 76.

Known as the “king of cash flow,” Stancill, taught more than one-third of USC’s MBA students during his 43-year academic tenure. His connection to students and interest in their success continued long after graduation in his role as an architect of USC Marshall’s international alumni network.

Stancill pioneered cash flow analysis and financial management for entrepreneurial companies, thus drawing attention to the special financing needs of this pivotal business sector. He developed the “Stancill Cash Flow Statement,” which is said to have several advantages over the format taught to students studying mega-corporate finance.

The key to his version of the cash flow statement is a measurement of the change in cash. Called NOCF Double Prime (Net Operating Cash Flow Double Prime), he developed this indicator and a new system for organizing the cash flow statement to give firms a better set of tools.

Stancill sought to have this financial statement become more useful to managers by “talking” to them rather than presenting a static picture. Recognizing the value of this formula, students throughout the years have presented the professor with customized USC sweatshirts with his cash flow formula emblazoned on the back.

Stancill introduced his version of the cash flow statement in Harvard Business Review, followed by the textbook Entrepreneurial Finance for New and Emerging Businesses (Southwestern College Publishing 2004 and Miregal Publishing, 2008). The work was translated into Chinese in 2009. Upon his retirement in 2007, the James McNeill Stancill Chair in Business Administration was established with a gift from former student Robert and Sue Rodriguez.

Stancill was born in Orange, N.J. He spent much of his boyhood in the Philadelphia neighborhood of Germantown. Later in his youth, Stancill moved to Baltimore and then Charleston, S.C., where he attended high school.

He fondly remembered a stint working at WUNC radio in Charleston, where he selected songs for the station’s Name That Song program. He went on to pursue studies at the University of South Carolina and then at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C., where he received a bachelor’s and a master’s in business administration.

Stancill met his wife of 55 years, the former Catherine Jackson, in an accounting class at GWU, and they were married in Alexandria, Va., in 1954.

He earned his Ph.D. in finance at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, where he also taught. In 1964, the Stancills and their three daughters moved to Pasadena when he was offered a teaching position at USC.

Stancill was a pioneer in adventure travel, having researched and planned every detail of travel to more than 111 countries. In 1969, he packed up the family in a 1964 Ford Falcon station wagon and drove through Mexico and Central America along the Pan Am Highway to the Panama Canal. Frequent breakdowns along dirt roads presented the opportunity to meet new friends as the family was invited into the homes of local residents while the car was being repaired.

One of the more memorable repairs involved plugging the transmission line with a piece of cactus wrapped in rubber bands. Several years later, Stancill drove the family in the Ford to Nome, at that time the northernmost point on the Alaskan highway. These long road trips later gave way to extensive travel in the Far East, Asia, Europe, Africa, South America and the South Pacific.

Stancill and his family traveled around the world on one trip in 1978, which included driving over the Khyber Pass (with armed escorts on the roof of the car); navigating the market of Peshawar, Pakistan, in a donkey cart; presenting a motivational lecture at a middle school in India; and visiting a dear friend from graduate school in Damascus, Syria.

Capping several months of travel, he spent a year at the Oxford Management Centre in England. Some years later, he traveled the Trans-Siberian railroad, stopping along the way to explore local villages.

Stancill had a special interest in China. He devoted several decades and thousands of consulting hours to assisting U.S. firms entering the burgeoning Chinese market.

Later in life, Stancill took a keen interest in genealogy and his family’s Scottish heritage. He was active with the Clan Macneil Association of America, serving as executive vice president for many years.

Memorial donations may be made to the James Stancill Endowed Scholarship Fund at the USC Marshall School of Business.

Stancill is survived by his wife, Catherine; daughters Martha Stancill, Mary Stancill Plock and Christine Stancill; and grandchildren James Leathers, John Leathers and Marina Plock.