Dean Light Stepping Down from HBS

113009_Light_Jay_084.JPGHarvard Business School Dean Jay O. Light announced today that he will retire in June 2010 following a 40-year career as a teacher, scholar, and leader. Light is the ninth person to serve as dean since the School’s founding in 1908.

In a message to faculty, staff, students, and alumni, Light noted that the timing felt right, even if the decision did not come easily. “There are significant opportunities and exciting challenges ahead for the School,” said Light, the George F. Baker Professor of Administration. “I believe it is time to let a new dean guide the future path of this very special institution.”

Light expressed his deep appreciation to the HBS community, commenting, “I will always cherish the opportunity I was given to lead this distinctive and extraordinary place, and value the important work we accomplished together.”

President Drew Faust said she would soon launch a search for the next HBS dean. “I intend to consult widely in the search for Jay’s successor, and will be in touch with the Business School community in the time ahead to welcome advice on the School, its future, and prospective candidates for dean,” she said. “For today, I hope you will join me in saluting Jay and letting him know how much we appreciate all he has done, and continues to do, for HBS and for Harvard as a whole.”

Remarking on the announcement, the Financial Times wrote that the business school rumor machine will now work overtime to speculate on who will replace Light, adding that Harvard has always appointed the dean from within the Harvard faculty and the two front-runners will be two of the most outspoken professors there: Rakesh Khurana, professor of leadership, and Nitin Nohria. Both have been forthright in the past year on the role of business schools, says FT.

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