L'Oreal (now putting less mascara in the eyes of bunnies!) gave the University of Oxford a huge pile of money to endow the "L'Oréal Professor of Marketing" chair. Of course, being a great academic university, Oxford would never allow millions upon millions of dollars to interfere with the principle of absolute academic freedom.
Last month, applications closed for the L'Oréal professorship, which was established at Oxford's Saïd Business School in 2001 with a £1.8 million pound ($2.9 million) endowment from the company. The job description published by the university specifies the post's research and teaching duties, before stating: "In addition, the professor will be expected to engage periodically with L'Oréal, the sponsor of the chair, in the interests of developing and promoting mutually beneficial activities."
Heh. John Morgan reports that when some people pointed out that "promoting mutually beneficial activities" with L'Oreal would generally be considered, you know, somewhat compromising, an Oxford spokesperson hastened to explain that it's not mandatory—it "was actually intended … as an inducement to attract applicants who would relish the opportunity to work with the company."
I have an idea: instead of being a professor of marketing, you can work in marketing. Problem solved. Not that L'Oreal would expect anything for their $3 million investment.