Garth Saloner

Professor, Economics
+1 (650) 723-1940

Garth Saloner

Botha-Chan Professor of Economics

Academic Area:

Additional Administrative Titles

Co-Director, Stanford dy/dx


Garth Saloner, the Botha-Chan Professor of Economics, 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.

Academic Degrees

  • PhD, Stanford University, 1982
  • MS, Stanford University, 1982
  • AM, Stanford University, 1981
  • MBA, University of Witwatersrand, 1977
  • BCom, University of Witwatersrand, 1975

Academic Appointments

  • The Botha-Chan Professorship, 2020 to present
  • John H. Scully Professor of Leadership, Management and International Business, 2016–2020
  • Philip H. Knight Professor and Dean, Stanford Graduate School of Business, 2009–2016
  • Jeffrey S. Skoll Professor of Electronic Commerce, Strategic Management, and Economics, Stanford Graduate School of Business, 2000–2009
  • Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Stanford Graduate School of Business, 1993–1996
  • Robert A. Magowan Professor of Economics and Strategic Management, Stanford Graduate School of Business, 1992–2000
  • Professor of Strategic Management and Economics, Stanford Graduate School of Business, 1990–1992
  • Professor, MIT Sloan School of Management, 1990
  • Visiting Associate Professor, Harvard Business School, 1989–1990
  • Associate Professor, MIT, 1987–1990
  • Sloan Fellow, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, 1987–1989
  • Visiting Assistant Professor, Stanford Graduate School of Business, 1986–1987
  • National Fellow, Hoover Institution, 1986–1987
  • Assistant Professor, MIT, 1982–1987

Awards and Honors

  • Spence Faculty Fellow, 2016–2017
  • Doctor Honoris Causa, Universidad ESAN, 2013
  • MBA Distinguished Teaching Award, Stanford GSB, 2008
  • MBA Distinguished Teaching Award, Stanford GSB, 1993


Journal Articles


Book Chapters


Executive Education & Other Non-Degree Programs

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Stanford Case Studies

Stanford GSB Affiliations

  • Member Advisory Council 2009-Current
  • Chair MBA Program Task Force 2006
  • Director Summer Institute for Entrepreneurship 2005-2009
  • Director Center for Entrepreneurial Studies 2004-2009
  • Founder and Co-Director Center for Electronic Business and Commerce 1999-2004
  • Area Coordinator Economics 2003-2006
  • Area Coordinator Strategic Management 1990-1999
  • Director Research and Curriculum Development 1993-1996

Stanford University Affiliations

  • Co-Founder Stanford Computer Industry Project
  • Chair Stanford University Executive Cabinet 2006

Service to the Profession

Board of Directors

  • Destination U, 2004-2008
  • Aplia, 2001-2004
  • Synthean, Inc, 1999-2007
  • Tradeweave, Inc., 1999-2001
  • NextStage Entertainment, 1998-2002
  • Charles River Associates, 1998-2000
  • Brilliant Digital Entertainment, Inc., 1996-2003
  • Quick Response Services, Inc., 1993-2004

External Affiliations

  • Research Associate, National Bureau of Economic Research, 1991-2009
  • Steering Committee Member, NBER Program in Industrial Organization, 1990-2009
  • Standards Workshop Planning Committee, National Research Council, National Academy of Sciences, 1989-1990
  • Member, Organizing Committee, Eighteenth and Nineteenth Annual Telecommunications Policy Research Conferences, 1989-1991
  • Organizer, Conference on the Economics of Standardization, MIT, 1986

Editor or Editorial Boards

  • Editorial Board, Strategic Management Journal, 1991-1994
  • Editorial Board, Economics of Innovation and New Technology, 1989-1996
  • Associate Editor, International Journal of Industrial Organization, 1988-1996
  • Co-Editor, Rand Journal of Economics, 1988-1995
  • Associate Editor, Rand Journal of Economics,1986-1988

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