Garth Saloner Named Dean of Stanford Graduate School of Business

Economist led the transformation of the Stanford GSB curriculum and will focus on ths school's mission to advance scholarship and prepare future leaders.

May 26, 2009

Economist Garth Saloner, a scholar of entrepreneurship and business strategy, will be the next dean of Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, President John Hennessy and Provost John Etchemendy announced today.

Saloner, 54, who joined the Stanford faculty in 1990, is the Jeffrey S. Skoll Professor of Electronic Commerce, Strategic Management and Economics, and a director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at Stanford Graduate School of Business. He will succeed Robert Joss, who is stepping down after 10 years as dean. Saloner’s appointment is effective September 1, 2009.

“Over nearly two decades at Stanford, Garth Saloner has demonstrated that he is not only a top-notch scholar, but also a respected leader among his peers and distinguished teacher highly-praised by his students,” Hennessy said. “His scholarship in the areas of entrepreneurship and electronic commerce is particularly pertinent to our times and the global economy.”

Etchemendy said Saloner has been a leader in the evolution of management education.

“Garth Saloner helped to lead the development and transition to a new curriculum that is truly reinventing the path to an MBA,” Etchemendy said. “In his own words, this new curriculum is the ‘innovation of the MBA.’ As dean, Garth will ably continue the momentum generated by Dean Joss and maintain the research excellence of our business school.”

Saloner said he welcomes the challenges ahead.

“Stanford GSB has the opportunity to prepare future generations of principled critical analytical thinkers whose actions can change the world. Through our research, we will continue to develop the intellectual underpinnings of management and we will embody that knowledge in our teaching. From our sustainable new management center on the Stanford campus we will promote the free-flow of students, faculty, and ideas across disciplines and schools as we develop management knowledge and business leaders for the 21st century.”

Saloner is known for his pioneering work on network effects, which underlie much of the economics of electronic commerce and business. Saloner’s research has focused on issues of entrepreneurship, e-commerce, strategic management, organizational economics, competitive strategy and antitrust economics. Much of his most recent work has been devoted to understanding how firms set and change strategy, in established firms and startups.

Members of the search committee were impressed with the breadth of Saloner’s experience and widespread respect he has earned across the academic spectrum, according to committee co-chair John Roberts, John H. Scully Professor of Economics, Strategic Management, and International Business in the Graduate School of Business.

“Garth Saloner is an outstanding teacher, a distinguished scholar and an experienced administrator with remarkable leadership skills, significant links to the business world and a global mindset,” Roberts said. “He should be a great dean.”

Saloner is one of only two faculty members to have won the Distinguished Teaching Award at the Stanford business school twice, first in 1993 and again in 2008. He has taught courses in entrepreneurship, electronic commerce, strategic management, industry analysis, and competitive strategy to undergraduates, MBAs, the Sloan Program, PhD students, and in executive programs around the world. He is the Director of the Summer Institute for Entrepreneurship, a summer program for graduate students in non-business fields.

Professor Saloner received a B.Com. and MBA (with distinction) from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. He received an MS in Statistics, an AM in Economics, and a PhD in Economics, Business, and Public Policy from Stanford University between 1978 and 1982. He joined the faculty of the economics department at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as an assistant professor in 1982 and was promoted through the ranks to the position of tenured full professor in both the economics department and the Sloan School of Management.

He was one of the founders of the Stanford Computer Industry Project, a major study of the worldwide computer industry, funded by the Sloan Foundation, and a founder of the Center for Electronic Business and Commerce. He served the Business School as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, and Director for Research and Curriculum Development from 1993-96. In 2006, he led the Curriculum Review Committee that undertook a major overhaul of the MBA curriculum, allowing students more flexibility in customizing their coursework.

Stanford Graduate School of Business, with a faculty that includes three Nobel laureates, has established itself as a global leader in management education and has built an international reputation based on educational programs designed to develop insightful, principled global leaders. Since its creation in 1925, the school has continued to innovate its curriculum and to build a faculty known for its cutting-edge research. It enrolls over 800 students in MBA, PhD and Sloan Master’s programs and has more than 100 tenure-track faculty and 50 lecturers and visitors.

The school is currently constructing a new campus, the Knight Management Center, with 360,000 square feet designed to support a wider variety of teaching and learning methods and foster collaboration across disciplines. When completed in 2010-2011, the new campus of eight buildings around three quadrangles is expected to achieve the highest level LEED Platinum certification for environmental sustainability from the U.S. Green Building Council.

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