BankBoston Exec Will Move to KSG

Jackson will serve as director of Center for Business and Government

BankBoston executive Ira A. Jackson '70, will return to Harvard this summer, serving as the new director of the Center for Business and Government (CBG) at the Kennedy School of Government, officials announced Monday.

Jackson will replace IBM Professor of Business and Government Roger B. Porter, who has held the post for four years.

Jackson is not new to KSG--he served as an associate dean from 1976 to 1983.

"I'm thrilled to return to Harvard in a challenging new role which will draw upon my careers in both the public and private sectors," Jackson said.

Since its inception in 1982, the CBG has conducted research on a number of international, domestic, and institutional issues related to both business and government.

"Capitalism is clearly triumphant, but it lacks a moral compass. Government is increasingly in a retreat, but it has an indispensable, even if changing, role to play," Jackson said.

Jackson will assume the CBG post after serving 12 years as a BankBoston executive vice president. He was in charge of corporate and community affairs, including advertising, economic analysis and community banking.

Jackson said he felt he had achieved all of his goals at BankBoston.

"I left BankBoston after 12 years as executive vice president because I had largely completed what I had set out to do and decided that it was time to move on to the next challenge and chapter in my eclectic career," he said.

According to Jackson, it was only natural that challenge would come from Harvard.

"Harvard has been my anchor, sort of my home-away-from-home, intermittently for more than 30 years," Jackson said.

When Porter and others at KSG called him with the offer to come to CBG, Jackson said he jumped at the chance.

"I didn't need any further persuading," he said.

Jackson said he sees CBG's role in fusing the studies of government and of business as crucial.

"Generally, I find the intersection of public and private sectors to be the most interesting and important space in contemporary society, either domestically or globally," he said.

Jackson said he will continue Porter's focus on business and governmental issues in the Asia-Pacific region as well as in the Middle East.

But he has other plans as well.

"We will launch some new initiatives in the area of entrepreneurship and public policy and some other areas next year," he said.

Those other areas will not be decided until Jackson has the chance to meet with KSG faculty and others.

"[We will] proceed when we have a clear consensus about the most important areas where our research, writing, teaching and conferences can have the most value and yield the greatest potential return to society," he concluded.