Nohria Appointed Dean of Harvard Business School

Harvard Business School Professor Nitin Nohria will become the School’s next dean on July 1, the University announced this afternoon.

Nohria, a professor of business administration and co-chair of the school’s Leadership Initiative, was a faculty leader of the MBA Oath movement, a drive to promote professional responsibility within the business community. The movement garnered national attention when hundreds of students signed the pledge around Commencement last year.

During his 22-year tenure at the Business School, Nohria has taught MBA, doctoral, and executive education classes, chaired the organizational behavioral unit, and served as senior associate dean for faculty development. He designed the first-year course on leadership and corporate accountability and also has taught an executive education course on globalization in India.

“[Nohria] is a great leader and has worked in a number of key roles at the school,” said outgoing dean Jay O. Light, who will step down after leading the Business School for five years. “He brings a uniquely global perspective. I think a great future lies ahead of us.”

University President Drew G. Faust said that while making the decision, she consulted a 15-member advisory committee that consisted of 12 Business School faculty members and three professors from other schools within the University and met almost every week.

Throughout the year, Faust sought advice from additional members of the Business School community, inviting them to e-mail her with their thoughts on the dean selection.

Upon accepting the deanship, Nohria said he was prepared to address concerns about business and the MBA degree that arose during the financial crisis.

“It’s hard to deny that to some extent society’s trust in business has taken a hit,” Nohria said. “As dean one of my great hopes is to restore the trust lost, innovate in curriculum, innovate in research, and usher in a new century of innovation that would usher in a new sense of business’s role in society.”

Several members of the MBA Class of 2009 who worked with Nohria on the MBA Oath campaign publicly endorsed Nohria’s candidacy for the deanship in a January letter.

“I’m thrilled—Professor Nohria is the type of person who will ask the difficult questions we need to ask about the institution,” said Umaimah Mendhro, who worked on the open letter.

HBS Alumni Association President Ann M. Kelly, who was Nohria’s student while at the Business School, noted that Nohria possesses the qualities for which alumni asked in the HBS Alumni Board’s open letter to Faust.

“Nohria has the global outlook and a specific expertise in leadership and organization which are really what are needed to lead HBS in the future,” Kelly said.

In addition to his leadership skills, first year MBA student and HBS Student Association Co-President Brett C. Gibson said that Nohria is known for his dedication to students.

Lawrence M. Estrada, a second-year who worked with Nohria on the MBA Oath Project, also expressed his excitement about Nohria’s appointment.

“Nitin is someone who—beyond being intellectual, thoughtful, and charismatic—also empowers students,” Estrada said.

—Staff writer Tara W. Merrigan can be reached at tmerrigan@college.harvard.edu.

—Staff writer William N. White can be reached at wwhite@fas.harvard.edu.

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