Dean Garth Saloner

Garth Saloner, John H. Scully Professor of Leadership, Management and International Business and Spence Faculty Fellow for 2016-17, served as the ninth dean of Stanford GSB from September 2009 until September 2016.

He is an economist whose intellectual interests span a broad range of applied areas including strategy, leadership, and entrepreneurship.

Saloner’s career has been highlighted by a deep passion for strategy and entrepreneurship and a commitment to educating students to think and act with a comprehensive strategic leadership perspective. His intellectual interests focus on organizational economics, strategic management, competitive strategy, and entrepreneurship. As Stanford GSB dean, he was an innovator in the evolution of management education with the goal of transforming leaders who can change the world.

In 2006, Saloner led the Curriculum Review Committee that restructured Stanford GSB’s MBA program, prioritizing a personalized approach to drive leadership transformation. Stanford GSB introduced the new curriculum in 2007, which provides courses at multiple levels and challenges each student according to their background and experience. The curriculum now includes courses in personal leadership, cross-cultural understanding, and innovative thinking, alongside requirements for traditional sound management discipline.

Under Saloner’s administration:

  • The size of the tenure-line faculty increased about 25 percent, from 100 to 125;
  • The number of (practitioner) lecturers teaching in the school increased from 56 to 130;
  • The flagship MBA program solidified its position as the destination of choice for young men and women seeking a full-time two-year management education program;
  • The PhD program strategically increased its size, from 100 to 140 students;
  • The Stanford GSB’s centers and research support activities were reorganized, to facilitate faculty research support requests;
  • Executive Education more than doubled in annual revenues, growing from about $18 million to over $40 million and leaped successfully into online education with unique programs to broaden Stanford’s global reach;
  • Stanford Ignite and other Global Innovation Programs were launched to expand the GSB’s international reach and impact in China, India, Brazil, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, and Europe;
  • The previously named Sloan program became the MSx program and expanded to two sections and almost 100 students; and
  • The Knight Management Center was completed and inaugurated and the new student residence facility, Highland Hall was conceived, funded and constructed.

Saloner has previously held positions as senior associate dean for academic affairs, director for research and curriculum development, and director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies.

He has been a Stanford faculty member since 1990, and recognized for his groundbreaking research on network effects, which underlie much of the economics of e-commerce and business. He has taught strategic leadership, entrepreneurship, e-commerce, women’s perspectives on entrepreneurship, and critical analytical thinking.

Saloner is a two-time recipient of Stanford GSB’s Distinguished Teaching Award (1993, 2008), one of only two professors to twice receive the award. He co-authored two books: Strategic Management and Creating and Capturing Value: Perspectives and Cases on Electronic Commerce.

In 2001, he took a two-year leave from Stanford to serve as an advisor, board member, or investor with a number of Silicon Valley startups. His experience extends to applying innovation as an engine for growth in developing economies. More recently, Saloner conceptualized and led the effort to establish the Stanford Institute for Innovation in Developing Economies, which was launched in November 2011. Known as Seed, the Institute aims to improve the lives of people in poverty on a massive scale through entrepreneurship and innovation. In July 2013, Seed established it first regional innovation hub in Ghana to provide coaching and training to entrepreneurs in West Africa, and in May 2016, Seed established a second regional hub in East Africa.

A native of South Africa, Saloner received a BCom (bachelor of commerce) and MBA (with distinction) from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. He received an MS in statistics, an AM in economics, and a PhD in economics, business, and public policy from Stanford between 1978 and 1982. He has previously taught at Harvard University and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1982-1990), first as an assistant professor, and later as a tenured full professor in both the economics department and the Sloan School of Management.

Saloner and his family have been active in the Stanford community for more than 20 years. Stanford is part of the Saloner “DNA,” with the family having earned a combined eight academic degrees from the university.

In addition to spending time with his close-knit family, Saloner is an avid photographer, a cycling enthusiast and enjoys international travel.

Thought Leadership

Looking at the Path Ahead

Stanford Business, Summer 2016
The path upon which our tenth Stanford GSB dean, Jon Levin, will lead us will be influences, as mine was, by our predecessors.

How We Embrace Disruption to Push Boundaries

Stanford Business, Spring 2016
It isn’t always easy to resist the temptation to focus excessively on defending positions in which we are already strong. It’s similarly challenging for a school that prides itself on doing everything well to take risks with new ventures that might fail.

What Is a Healthy GSB?

Stanford Business, Summer 2015
What does it mean to say the GSB is in good shape? Even as we hope our alumni take good care of themselves and their loved ones so as to increase the likelihood of a healthy future, I wonder what it means for the GSB to engage in predictive, preventative, and longitudinal care of itself.

In Pursuit of a Rewarding Life

Stanford Business, Summer 2015
I have found that GSBers spend a lot of time thinking about what makes for, or will make for, a rewarding life. In part, of course, this is because many GSBers are in the fortunate position of having lots of options in career and life choices.

The Pursuit of Meaning and Impact, Tied to a Passion for What We Do

Stanford Business, Spring 2014
Living lives of impact and meaning stems from finding and pursuing your passion – both professionally and personally.

Transcending Geography to Build Our Community

Stanford Business, Autumn 2013
In extending Stanford GSB’s reach, we strive to have a transformational impact on the lives of people wherever they are, while remaining a small, impactful community that leverages faculty research, insights, and teaching skills to connect with alumni and the world.

A Legacy of Balanced Excellence

Stanford Business, Summer 2013
Stanford GSB strives to develop an outstanding faculty that balances deep research, extraordinary teaching ability, and the application of management principles to real-world business situations — an approach known as “Balanced Excellence.”

Reinventing Management Education — A Work in Progress

Stanford Business, Spring 2013
Reinvention is an opportunity to refine, rework, and improve ourselves as individuals and institutions so that we are better positioned to take on the challenges of business and society in a rapidly changing world.