Professor Paul Holden

Paul Holden (1894-1976) joined the faculty of the Stanford Graduate School of Business in 1926 as one of the school’s pioneers. Just prior to his appointment as Professor of Industrial Management, he was selected by President Herbert Hoover to serve on a committee on United States Patent Office reorganization. In 1926 he was selected by the American Engineering Council as a member of a group to conduct a national study of safety and production.

In 1952 under the leadership of Professor Holden, Stanford GSB established the school’s executive education program. He served as director of this highly successful program from 1952 through 1961. He also served as the first director of the Stanford Sloan Program from 1958-1962. From the late 1940’s until he retired in 1959, Professor Holden was a senior consultant with Booz, Allen and Hamilton in the field of top management: organization and control.

He also served as a senior management consultant with the Stanford Research Institute from 1962 through 1968. He was a member of the board of directors or board of trustees of:

  • Schick, Incorporated, 1942-44
  • Ferris Miles, Inc., 1939-69
  • California Water Service Company, 1962-75
  • Castilleja School, 1942-71
  • Stanford’s Children’s Convalescent hospital, 1937-65
  • The Palo Alto Chapter of the American Red Cross, 1953-59

In recognition of his contributions to the profession of management, the Paul E. Holden Endowed Professorship in Management was established in 1975 through contributions from his former students and friends in the business community.

In 1941 Professor Holden coauthored Top Management Organization and Control, a research study of the policies, organization and control practices of 31 of the largest industrial corporations in the country.

He was the recipient of the Gantt Gold Medal Award in 1941 for his outstanding achievement as executive administrator, consultant, educator and researcher in the art and science of management. Throughout his entire professional career he made a major contribution to Stanford, to Stanford GSB, and to professional management education by his rare capability of melding the theory and practice of management in a realistic and meaningful way.

Holden was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, on September 17, 1893. He attended elementary and high school in Indianapolis and graduated from Purdue University with a BS in mechanical engineering in 1916. After graduation, he served as a special assistant with E. C. Atkins and Company from 1915-17. During the period of 1919-20, he was production manager for E. C. Atkins and Company.

He was:

  • An associate of Wallace Clark and Company in 1930-31, during which time he conducted consulting studies in major companies in France, Germany, and Denmark.
  • A management consultant to many Pacific Coast companies from 1926 until 1940.
  • An industrial advisor to the Office of Production Management during World War II.
  • Elected to the Fellows Group of the Academy of Management and was one of the founders of the San Francisco Management Chapter, which later became the San Francisco Chapter of the Society for Advancement of Management.
  • Assistant production manager at Remington Typewriter Company in New York in 1920-21.
  • An industrial engineer with the library bureau in Ilion, New York in 1921-22.
  • Assistant manager for the Department of Manufacture, United States Chamber of Commerce from 1922-26.

Holden, one of the most distinguished scholars and teachers at Stanford GSB, died in his home from a heart attack on Friday, April 9, 1976 at the age of 82.