Robert L. Joss

Robert L. Joss
Professor and Dean Emeritus, Finance
Contact Info
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Research Statement

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. 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 Makena Capital Management and CM Capital; was formerly a director of Citigroup, Wells Fargo & Co, Westpac Banking Corp, Shanghai Commercial Bank Ltd., Social Finance, Inc., Agilent Technologies, Inc., and Bechtel Group; and is active in Australian-American affairs. 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 most shaped the nation’s business landscape over the preceding half century. In 2016 he received the Companion of the Order of Australia, the highest national citizen honor, in recognition of his service to Australia’s business, financial, and academic sectors.

Academic Degrees

  • PhD, Stanford University, 1970
  • MBA, Stanford University, 1967
  • Sloan Fellow, Stanford University, 1966
  • BA (magna cum laude) University of Washington, 1963

Academic Appointments

  • At Stanford University since 1999

Professional Experience

  • CEO and Managing Director, Westpac Banking Corporation, 1993-1999
  • Vice Chairman, Wells Fargo Bank, 1986-1993
  • Executive Vice President, Wells Fargo Bank, 1981-1986
  • Senior Vice President, Wells Fargo Bank, 1975-1981
  • Vice President, Wells Fargo Bank, 1972-1975
  • Assistant Vice President, Wells Fargo Bank, 1971-1972
  • Deputy to Assistant Secretary for Economic Policy, U.S. Treasury Department, 1968-1971
  • White House Fellow, The White House, 1968-1969

Awards and Honors

  • Companion of the Order of Australia, 2016
  • Ernest C. Arbuckle Award, Stanford GSB Alumni Association, 2012
  • Honorary Doctor in Business, Konkuk University - William F. Miller School of Management, Korea, 2009
  • Centenary Medal, Commonwealth of Australia, 2001
  • Meritorious Service Award, U.S. Treasury Department, 1971
  • White House Fellow, The White House, 1968
  • Phi Beta Kappa, 1963


Journal Articles

Robert L. Joss. The Deal. October 17, 2008, Vol. 1, Issue 1.
Robert L. Joss. Australian Journal of Management . August 2001, Vol. 26, Pages 89-103.
Murray Weidenbaum, Robert L. Joss. National Tax Journal. 1970, Vol. 23, Issue 1, Pages 2-22.


Degree Courses


This seminar will explore the nature and role of leadership in organizations. We will examine such questions as (1) What is leadership? (2) Why is it important? (3) What is it that leaders actually do? (4) How do they do it? (5) How are leaders...


This seminar will explore the nature and role of leadership in organizations. We will examine such questions as (1) What is leadership? (2) Why is it important? (3) What is it that leaders actually do? (4) How do they do it? (5) How are leaders...


This seminar will explore the nature and role of leadership in organizations. We will examine such questions as (1) What is leadership? (2) Why is it important? (3) What is it that leaders actually do? (4) How do they do it? (5) How are leaders...

Stanford Case Studies

In the Media

How Can Leaders Inspire People in Difficult Times?
Journal of High Tech HR Forums, January 2009
Financial Times, June 11, 2009
On the Record: Robert Joss
US New & World Report, October 24, 2006
Silicon Valley Business Journal, March 28, 2005
View from the Top: Former GE CEO Jack Welch in Conversation with Dean Joss
Commonwealth Club audio, January 2005
Boston Globe, December 7, 2004
Your Career Matters: Business Schools Expand MBAs for Executives
Wall Street Journal, January 2003
Dean's Corner
AACSB eNewsline, January 2003
Sydney Morning Herald, August 13, 2002
The Economist, February 28, 2002
The Economist, February 28, 2002
School Seeks to Lead the Field in Leadership
Financial Times, January 2002
Bloomberg Businessweek, November 19, 2001
Where Small is Beautiful
Financial Times, January 2001
Wells Fargo Press Release, October 28, 1999
BusinessWeek, May 15, 1999

Insights by Stanford Business

August 13, 2020
Stanford business professors share what they’re reading at home right now.
May 1, 2011
As Japan shifts from disaster relief to rebuilding, GSB alumni see opportunities for change and renewal.
May 11, 2009
Stanford Graduate School of Business Dean Robert L. Joss recalls powerful lessons from his grandfather, a dairy farmer.
May 1, 2009
Stanford GSB Dean Robert L. Joss delivers the year's last View From The Top lecture. He plans to continue teaching after leaving the dean's office.
December 12, 2007
Stanford GSB dean delivers International Distinguished Lecture at the Melbourne Centre for Financial Studies in Australia.
August 1, 2007
The dean of Stanford GSB says, the day you become a leader, it's about the people who work for you.
March 1, 2005
Business is not only an economic, but also a social institution that should be used to solve some of the world's most difficult challenges, said Joss.
February 1, 2002
In a seminar, the Stanford GSB dean explains that many organizations don't properly think through when to put certain employees in top jobs.

School News

August 29, 2019
Management professor George Foster awarded for outstanding service and contributions to Australia.
February 19, 2019
The newly established symposia are a testament to the lasting impact of David M. Kreps’ contributions to Stanford GSB.
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.
April 26, 2018
Two new awards recognize outstanding academic achievement by Sloan Fellows in the Stanford MSx Program.
April 29, 2016
In an April 15 ceremony, Stanford GSB Dean Emeritus Robert Joss, Sloan ’66, Stanford MBA ’67, PhD ’70, was honored with Australia’s equivalent of knighthood.
April 15, 2009
Robert L. Joss, Philip H. Knight Professor and Dean, reflects on his time as dean at Stanford GSB.
October 15, 2008
The Reliance Dhirubhai India Education Fund was recently established by Reliance Industries Limited and Stanford GSB to to support promising Indian students.