Robert L Joss

Philip H. Knight Professor and Dean, Emeritus

Phone: (650) 723-3951


Academic Areas: Finance

Robert Joss has been a long-time student and practitioner of general management and organizational leadership. His interests and work lead him to explore such issues as (a) what makes managers and leaders effective, (b) how can people be developed to be good managers and leaders, and (c) what causes people to succeed or fail in these important roles.


A leader in global banking, a former U.S. Treasury Department official, and a Stanford Graduate School of Business MBA (’67) and PhD (’70), Robert Joss became the eighth dean of the Business School in 1999. He served as dean for 10 years--overseeing the introduction of a new MBA curriculum, the institution of new collaborations between the school and Stanford University, and the construction of a new Business School campus which opened in 2011.

Joss has observed that ideas, capital, and technology move freely across borders around the world, but that there is a significant lack of management skill. As dean he drew on both his academic and business experience to address this issue through education. He has a strong belief in experiential learning, leadership development, and academic research that constantly tests the boundaries of what we know about organizational effectiveness. He continues to teach leadership and management in the school’s MBA curriculum.

Prior to joining the Business School as dean, Joss was chief executive officer of Westpac Banking Corporation, one of Australia’s largest banks, a post he held for six years. At Westpac, he was credited with refocusing the bank strategically, modernizing operations, and building a culture of teamwork, customer focus, open communication, and community support. Bank shareholders also benefited substantially during and after his tenure.

Before going to Australia, Joss held a variety of posts at San Francisco-based Wells Fargo Bank between 1971 and 1993, serving from 1986 onward as vice chairman. Prior to Wells Fargo, Joss worked 3 years at the U. S. Treasury, first as a White House Fellow and then as deputy to the assistant secretary for economic policy.

He is currently a director of Citigroup, Bechtel Group, Makena Capital Management, SRI International and CM Capital; and is active in Australian-American affairs, serving as Co-chair of the Advisory Board for the U.S. Studies Center at Sydney University and is a member of the U.S. Advisory Council for the American Australian Association. In 2001 he received the Centenary Medal for service to Australian society, and in 2013 was named by the Australian Financial Review as one of the 50 figures who have most shaped the nation's business landscape over the preceding half century.

Academic Degrees

PhD, 1970, Stanford Univ., MBA, 1967; Sloan Fellow,1966, Stanford Univ.; BA (magna cum laude) Univ. of Washington, 1963.

Professional Experience

At Stanford since 1999. CEO and Managing Director, Westpac Banking Corporation, 1993-99; Wells Fargo Bank, Vice Chairman, 1986-93, Executive Vice President, 1981-86, Senior Vice President, 1975-81, Vice President, 1972-75, Asst. Vice President, 1971-72; Deputy to Assistant Secretary for Economic Policy, U.S. Treasury Department, 1968-71; White House Fellow, 1968-69.

Selected Publications

  • "A Dairy Farmer Who Delivered Life Lessons": Deans Column, Financial Times (5/11/09), 2009
  • "Management": Australian Journal of Management, vol 26, 2001
  • "Managing in Australia": Landsdowne Publishing Pty. Ltd., 1999
  • "Alternative Approaches to Revenue Sharing: A Description and Framework for Evaluation": National Tax Journal, Vol. 23, 1970, 1970
  • Dean's Column: Stanford Business Magazine 2000-2009, 2009
  • "The Deal": The Australian Business Magazine, Vol. 1, No. 1, 2008

Selected Cases

  • E400: Westpac: Offshore Bank Accounts in the Cook Islands (A) and (B)

Awards and Honors

  • Honorary Doctor in Business, 2009, Konkuk University - William F. Miller School of Management, Korea
  • Centenary Medal, 2001, Commonwealth of Australia
  • Meritorious Service Award, 1971, U.S. Treasury Dept.
  • White House Fellow, 1968
  • Phi Beta Kappa, 1963

Courses Taught


  • Director: Bechtel Group (2009 - present)
  • Director: Citigroup (2009 - present)
  • Director: Makena Capital (2006 - present)
  • Director: SRI (2013 - present)
  • Director: Agilent Technologies Inc. (2002 - 2010)
  • Chairman: Australian Bankers Association (1997 - 1999)
  • Member: Review of Business Taxation, Commonwealth of Australia (1998 - 1999)
  • Director: Wells Fargo & Co. (1999 - 2009)
  • Director: Student Loan Marketing Association (1990 - 1993)
  • Director: Shanghai Commerical Bank, Hong Kong (1978-1993), (2004 - 2006)
  • Member: International Monetary Conference (1993 - 1999)
  • Member: California Commission for Reform of Intermediate and Secondary Education (1974 - 1975)

In The Media