Entrepreneurial Skills Seen as Sahlman's Forte

Some Question Tenure in Publishing Division

Class of 1995 Professor of Business Administration William A. Sahlman is an entrepreneur in every sense of the word.

A member of the Business School faculty since 1980, Sahlman created the second-year course "Entrepreneurial Finance" in 1985. The professor also researches and writes about investment decisions in entrepreneurial ventures and holds a chair endowed in honor of 1955 Business School graduate and successful entrepreneur Dimitri V. d'Arbeloff.

Sahlman may soon undertake another enterprise: that of leading the Business School (HBS). The 45-year-old senior associate dean and director of publishing activities is one of the favorites to succeed retiring Dean of the Business School John H. McArthur, faculty members said last week.

Others whom faculty members have listed as potential contenders for the deanship include:

Robinson Professor of Business Administration James I. Cash.

Figgie Professor of Business Administration Kim B. Clark.

Baker Professor of Business Administration Leonard Schlesinger.

Leading Like An Entrepreneur?

As dean, Sahlman's belief in the benefits of entrepreneurship might move him to decentralize administration at the Business School, some faculty members said.

"Sahlman specializes in the entrepreneurial, and it could bear upon the future of the Business School," said a professor who spoke on condition of anonymity.

"He would probably tend to encourage individual initiatives rather than try to run [the school] as a bureaucracy," Professor of Business Administration Francis J. Aguilar said. "Not to imply that McArthur did--he also had various initiatives, but probably more of a central control. We might find less of that under Sahlman."


But turmoil in the Business School's publishing department in the past four years could hurt Sahlman's chances of being appointed dean, some faculty members said.

"[The] publishing [department], it's like chaos over there," said a professor who spoke on condition of anonymity. "I'm not sure there would be the right confidence in [Sahlman]."

"A lot of people say things haven't goneright--there's been some missteps," he added.