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Nitin Nohria to Stay On As HBS Dean in 2020 to Shepherd School Through Coronavirus

Shifting course after he announced his departure in November, Harvard Business School Dean Nitin Nohria will stay in his post through December 2020, University President Lawrence S. Bacow wrote in an email Thursday.
Shifting course after he announced his departure in November, Harvard Business School Dean Nitin Nohria will stay in his post through December 2020, University President Lawrence S. Bacow wrote in an email Thursday. By Sharleen Y. Loh
By Michelle G. Kurilla, Crimson Staff Writer

Shifting course after he announced his departure in November, Harvard Business School Dean Nitin Nohria will stay in his post through December 2020, University President Lawrence S. Bacow wrote in an email Thursday.

Last fall, Nohria wrote that he would step down on June 30 after ten years leading the country’s premier business school. But the challenges Harvard will face as a result of the coronavirus pandemic led him to extend his stay, Bacow wrote.

In his email to Business School affiliates, Bacow cited Nohria’s “judgement, deep experience, and steady hand” as the school navigates “unprecedented circumstances.”

“Such near-term continuity during an uncertain time will serve HBS and Harvard well. It will also help ensure that Provost Garber and I can give the ongoing dean search the full attention it deserves, on a somewhat extended time horizon, as we continue working toward the selection of HBS’s next leader,” he wrote.

Bacow also wrote that he was grateful to Nohria for his willingness to alter plans during a period of considerable changes. The Business School, like many other Harvard institutions, cancelled meetings of more than 25 people and shifted to remote classes in line with University policies.

“I am extremely grateful to Nitin for his willingness to alter his plans – an act of institutional commitment wholly characteristic of his profound devotion to HBS and to the University,” Bacow wrote.

“I am similarly grateful to the many people across the HBS community who have contacted me with advice and suggestions during the course of the search so far,” he added. “Your perspectives have already been invaluable, and they will continue to inform our ongoing effort.”

Much like Bacow, Nohria and Business School Executive Dean for Administration Angela Q. Crispi wrote about the historic challenges the virus will present on campus in an email last week.

“The last time we had to pivot our operations so significantly was in the 1940s, against the backdrop of World War II, when the School's campus (and that of the University) was turned over to military training,” they wrote.

—Staff writer Michelle G. Kurilla can be reached at michelle.kurilla@thecrimson.com. Follow her on Twitter @MichelleKurilla.

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