Indian American Srikant Datar named new dean of Harvard Business School

Srikant Datar
Srikant Datar

Bombay University alumnus to succeed Nitin Nohria, another Indian American.

Srikant Datar, an alumnus of Bombay University and IIM Ahmedabad, will become the new dean of prestigious Harvard Business School (HBS), succeeding Nitin Nohria, another Indian-American, on Jan. 1.

Datar, the Arthur Lowes Dickinson Professor of Business Administration and the senior associate dean for University affairs at HBS, will become the 11th dean in the Business School’s 112-year history.

He will be the second dean of Indian origin at Harvard University, with Rakesh Khurana, who heads Harvard College.

“Srikant Datar is an innovative educator, a distinguished scholar, and a deeply experienced academic leader,” said Harvard University President Larry Bacow in announcing the appointment.

“He is a leading thinker about the future of business education, and he has recently played an essential role in HBS’s creative response to the challenges posed by the covid-19 pandemic.

READ: Indian American Vallabh Sambamurthy named dean of Wisconsin School of Business at University of Wisconsin-Madison (January 24, 2019)

“He has served with distinction in a range of leadership positions over his nearly 25 years at HBS, while also forging novel collaborations with other Harvard Schools.”

“Srikant will come to the deanship with a broad international perspective, decades of close engagement with business practice, and a strong commitment to building an increasingly diverse and inclusive HBS community,” Bacow added.

Since joining the HBS faculty in 1996, Datar has held a series of key positions, as the School’s senior associate dean responsible for faculty recruiting, for faculty development, for executive education, for research, and currently for University affairs.

READ: Soumitra Dutta, IIT Delhi alum, is new Dean of Cornell University’s business school (February 5, 2016)

“I am equal measures humbled and honored to take on this role,” said Datar. “Harvard Business School is an institution with a remarkable legacy of impact in research, education, and practice.”

“Yet the events of the past year have hastened our passage to an unforeseen future,” he said. “I look forward to working with colleagues and friends of the School — including throughout Harvard, in our Boston community, and around the world — to realize our mission in what undoubtedly will be an exciting new era.”

Nohria, who also studied in Mumbai, last November announced his plans to leave at the end of June 2020, after 10 years of service, but agreed to continue through this December in view of the pandemic.

“Srikant is an outstanding choice as Harvard Business School’s next dean,” said Nohria. “He has thought deeply about the challenges and opportunities facing management education, and has a proven record of collaboration, innovation, and leadership — not only within HBS, but across Harvard and at other organizations.”

READ: Indian American academician Anand S. Desai named dean of W. Frank Barton School of Business at Wichita State University (May 8, 2015)

“He is deeply respected for his judgment, admired for the genuine enthusiasm he brings to his research and teaching, and beloved as a colleague. I am confident, through the remainder of the pandemic and beyond, he will chart an inspired course for the School.”

Datar received his bachelor’s degree, with distinction, from the University of Bombay in 1973. A chartered accountant, he went on to receive a postgraduate diploma in business management from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, before completing master’s degrees in statistics (1983) and economics (1984) and a PhD in business (1985), all from Stanford University.

From 1984 to 1989, he was an assistant professor and then associate professor at the Carnegie Mellon Graduate School of Industrial Administration, where he was honored with the George Leland Bach Teaching Award.

From 1989 to 1996, he served on the faculty of the Stanford Graduate School of Business, where he rose to become the Littlefield Professor of Accounting and Management and was recognized with the school’s Distinguished Teaching Award.

READ: Sanjay Putrevu is the new dean of University of Wyoming’s College of Business (March 11, 2015)

He was co-author, with David Garvin and Patrick Cullen, of “Rethinking the MBA: Business Education at a Crossroads” (2010).

More recently, he has developed new courses on “Developing Mindsets for Innovative Problem Solving” and “Managing with Data Science.”

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