Garth Saloner

Garth Saloner
Professor, Economics
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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

Julio Rotemberg, Garth Saloner. RAND Journal of Economics. 2000, Vol. 31, Issue 4, Pages 693-716.
Garth Saloner, Andrea Shepard. RAND Journal of Economics. 1995, Vol. 26, Issue Autumn, Pages 479-501.
Julio Rotemberg, Garth Saloner. American Economic Review. 1994, Vol. 84, Issue 5, Pages 1330-1349.
Joseph Farrell, Garth Saloner. Journal of Industrial Economics. 1992, Vol. 40, Issue March, Pages 9-35.
Janusz A. Ordover, Garth Saloner, Steven C. Salop. American Economic Review. March 1990, Vol. 80, Issue 1, Pages 127-142.
Joseph Farrell, Garth Saloner. RAND Journal of Economics. 1988, Vol. 19, Issue 2, Pages 235-252.
Joseph Farrell, Garth Saloner. American Economic Review. December 1986, Vol. 76, Issue 5, Pages 940-955.
Julio J. Rotemberg, Garth Saloner. American Economic Review. June 1986, Vol. 76, Issue 3, Pages 390-407.
Joseph Farrell, Garth Saloner. RAND Journal of Economics. 1985, Vol. 16, Issue 1, Pages 70-83.


Garth Saloner, A. Michael Spence New York: Wiley, 2002.
Garth Saloner, Andrea Shepard, Joel Podolny New York: Wiley, 2001.

Book Chapters

Garth Saloner, Timothy Bresnahan. Competing in the Age of Digital Convergence. Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 1997.


Degree Courses


This course is offered for students who at some time may want to undertake an entrepreneurial career by pursuing opportunities leading to partial or full ownership and control of a business. The course deals with case situations from the point of...


This course is offered for students who at some time may want to undertake an entrepreneurial career by pursuing opportunities leading to partial or full ownership and control of a business. The course deals with case situations from the point of...

Stanford Case Studies

Smitten Ice Cream: Serving Joy | E663
Garth Saloner, Jim Ellis, Jeffrey Conn2018
Amanda's (A) | E326(A)
Claire Magat, Garth Saloner2009
Amanda's (B) | E326(B)
Claire Magat, Garth Saloner2009
Hand in Hand, India | E372
Annie Adams, Lyn Denend, Sarah Garrett, Whit Keuer, Garth Saloner2009
Semprae Laboratories | E351
Garth Saloner, Claire Magat2009
Shonaquip | E355
Victoria Chang, Jessica Jackley, Garth Saloner2009
Silkor Laser Medical Center | E353
Victoria Chang, Riad Dimechkie, Jessica Jackley, Garth Saloner, Carla Sayegh2009
Stella & Dot | E345
Garth Saloner, Jocelyn Hornblower2009
Ashesi University | E290
Sean Harrington, Garth Saloner2008
Circles, Lifecycle of a New Venture | E298
R. Ellis, Garth Saloner, Amanda Silverman2008
Databank | E291
Sean Harrington, Garth Saloner2008
Endeavor | E308
Sean Harrington, Garth Saloner2008
Flexperience (Making Mother + Professional Work) | E315
Garth Saloner, Alex Tauber2008
Kiva | E288
Bethany Coates, Garth Saloner2008
Nicole Alvino & Dermalounge | E316
Jocelyn Hornblower, Garth Saloner2008
Rose Hanna (A) | E327A
Jocelyn Hornblower, Garth Saloner2008
Rose Hanna (B) | E327B
Jocelyn Hornblower, Garth Saloner2008
Finding the Idea, Ning | E314
Katherine Bose, Garth Saloner2008
Partnership Formation, Ariat | E305
Katherine Bose, Garth Saloner2007
Sheryle Bolton (B) | E207B
Katherine Bose, Garth Saloner2007
Equity Bank (A) | E260
Garth Saloner, Bethany Coates, Ana Garcia Azuelo, Jessica Flannery and Haydee Moreno2007
Circles, The First 10 Years | E225
Katherine Bose, Mike Harkey, Garth Saloner2006
Fitness Anywhere | E211
R. Ellis, Garth Saloner, Alex Tauber2006
Shimano And The High-End Road Bike Industry | SM150
Victoria Chang, Garth Saloner2006
Destination-U, College Counseling on the Internet | E197
R. Ellis, Mike Harkey, Garth Saloner2005
Jo Anne Heywood (A) | E204A
Garth Saloner, Angie Strange, Alex Tauber, Amanda West2005
Jo Anne Heywood (B) | E204B
Garth Saloner, Angie Strange, Alex Tauber, Amanda West2005
Katrina Garnett | E205
Emily Melton, Garth Saloner2005
Rosemary Brooks | E206
Aisa Aiyer, Carly Irestone, Garth Saloner, Alex Tauber2005
Capital One Financial Corporation, Setting And Shaping Strategy | SM135
Victoria Chang, Garth Saloner2004
Circles | E160
Jamie Earle, Garth Saloner, Jeffrey Skoll2003
ProjectSHED (A) | E116A
Garth Saloner, Janet Feldstein2002
BabyCenter | EC11
Tyee Harpster, Garth Saloner, A. Michael Spence, Meredith Unruh2000
Disintermediation in the U.S. Auto Industry | EC10
Eric Marti, Garth Saloner, A. Michael Spence2000
E-Commerce Building Blocks | EC6
Garth Saloner, A. Michael Spence, Christopher Thomas, Elizabeth Urban2000
E-Markets 2000 | EC23
Robert Burgelman, Garth Saloner, Christopher Thomas2000 | EC9A
Katherine McIntyre, Ezra Perlman, Garth Saloner, A. Michael Spence2000
Karen Brown | EC12
Kasey Craig, Garth Saloner, A. Michael Spence2000
NIKE - Channel Conflict | EC9B
Katherine McIntyre, Ezra Perlman, Garth Saloner, A. Michael Spence2000
Pricing and Branding on the Internet | EC8
Garth Saloner, Kostas Sgoutas, A. Michael Spence2000
QRS Corporation | EC2
Eric Marti, Garth Saloner, A. Michael Spence2000
SAP and the Online Procurement Market | EC5
Eric Marti, Garth Saloner, A. Michael Spence2000
Tradeweave | EC14
Garth Saloner, A. Michael Spence2000
HP E-Services.Solution | EC16
Garth Saloner, Michelle Moore, Cara Snyder2000
Online Auctions | EC7
Garth Saloner2000
Siebel Systems, Inc. | EC1
Eric Marti, Garth Saloner, A. Micheal Spence1999
Cisco Systems: A Novel Approach to Structuring Entrepreneurial Ventures | EC15
Garth Saloner, A Michael Spence, James McJunkin, Todd Reynders1997
Apple Computer in the Portable Computer Market (B) | SM1B
Garth Saloner, Hank Chesbrough,1993
EDS Information Technology Outsourcing | SM3
Garth Saloner, Sanjeev Dheer, Brian Viard1993
Apple Computer in the Portable Computer Market (A) | SM1A
Garth Saloner, Hank Chesbrough,1992

Stanford University Affiliations

Stanford GSB

  • 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

Greater Stanford University

  • Member, Stanford University Executive Cabinet, 2009-Current
  • Co-Founder, Stanford Computer Industry Project

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

In the Media

Inc., December 7, 2013
More than anything, women need role models — and not just at the top, says Stanford GSB Dean Garth Saloner in a recent video interview with Inc. magazine associate editor Jill Krasny.
The Financial Times, February 28, 2013
Dean Garth Saloner and Stanford MBA students travel to Antarctica to investigate the business issues surrounding climate change.
EFMD - The Management Development Network , February 1, 2013
Stanford Graduate School of Business Dean Garth Saloner discusses why and how business schools must change if they are to serve their students and society well.

Insights by Stanford Business

June 20, 2018
The Stanford Venture Capital Initiative is quietly assembling a massive database from people who prefer to stay mum.
July 23, 2015
Youku Tudou CEO on micro movies and other ways Chinese directors are leveraging the internet.
February 1, 2011
The Ford Motor turnaround required tough decisions and labor cooperation but CEO Alan Mulally is optimistic about the future.
October 1, 2007
James Mwangi, the head of Equity Bank of Kenya, is the central figure in a major microfinance success case.
October 1, 2007
In the inaugural Social Innovators Speaker Series talk, the actress and activist explains her work with FINCA International.
August 1, 2001
In an excerpt from their book, Garth Saloner and Michael Spence explore the ways managers can use technological innovations to add value.

School News

November 15, 2018
The Sloan — now Stanford MSx — Program has evolved in many ways in the last six decades. Here are six of the most significant changes.
May 23, 2016
Annual dinner honors military service and recognizes contributions of key alums, faculty, and students.
April 7, 2016
Since 1968, Stanford GSB has recognized lifelong achievement in management, leadership, and community service with the Ernest C. Arbuckle Award.
March 25, 2016
Event honored Fran Maier, MBA ’89, and highlighted recent research on Latino entrepreneurship.
February 8, 2016
More than 150 unique elective courses offered this year; offerings continually refreshed with new perspectives, lecturers, and ideas.
October 6, 2015
New faculty and lecturers offer unique perspectives and experience to augment program offerings.
June 17, 2015
Annual diploma ceremony celebrates graduates degrees, certificates and awards.
March 27, 2015
Alumni couple have demonstrated commitment to finding solutions to looming energy challenges.
March 19, 2012
Jerker Johansson, MBA ’86, and his wife, Stephanie, made a generous commitment to The Dean’s Fund to help the school build on its collective achievements.
March 1, 2012
In 2012, Stanford University concluded an unprecedented five-year campaign that positioned the school to address a range of challenges in the global economy.
June 6, 2011
Two 2011 Social Innovation Fellows focus on environment and international development.
April 30, 2011
Reflections on the generosity of our alumni and friends, and their help in building the Knight Management Center.
January 31, 2011
Structured trips provide intellectual and emotional experiences with other cultures for Stanford MBA students learning to lead in a global economy.