Business School Dean Transition Extended during Coronavirus Crisis

Nitin Nohria, scheduled to step down June 30, will remain dean through 2020.

Photograph of Nitin Nohria

Nitin Nohria
Photograph courtesy of Harvard Public Affairs and Communications

President Lawrence S. Bacow announced this afternoon that Nitin Nohria, dean of Harvard Business School (HBS), who had announced his retirement effective at the end of this academic year, in June, will now remain the school’s leader through the end of 2020. Alluding to the COVID-19 pandemic—which has emptied campus—Bacow wrote:

We are very fortunate to have the sustained benefit of Nitin’s keen judgment, deep experience, and steady hand as we navigate the unprecedented circumstances now before us.  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.

Nohria has not only led HBS for a decade. He has played a leading role in building bridges to the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences as it prepares this summer to move much of its faculty and their laboratories and students to the huge facility rising across Western Avenue from the HBS campus. And he chairs the board of the Allston Land Company, the University unit planning the commercial Enterprise Research Campus, also on Western Avenue, development of which will obviously now take place in a much more challenging business and financial environment.

In his note to the HBS community, Bacow continued, “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.…Finally, I’m thankful to all of you for your resilience, your flexibility, and your dedication to the well-being of others, at a time when such qualities matter even more than usual. In more than the usual way, I wish you well.”

Other significant appointments are pending: the new Pusey Minister in Memorial Church; within the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, a new athletic director and a new dean for the extension school. In the current environment of unprecedented crisis and demands on leaders across the University, it would not be at all surprising to see these and other searches and appointments delayed.

Read more articles by: John S. Rosenberg

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