Campus & Community

Jay Light named acting dean of Harvard Business School

4 min read

Faculty advisory group formed for dean search

For release: June 30, 2005
Contact: John Longbrake

Jay O.
Jay O. Light, the Dwight P. Robinson, Jr., Professor of Business Administration.

Jay O. Light, the Dwight P. Robinson, Jr., Professor of Business Administration, has agreed to serve as Acting Dean of Harvard Business School starting August 1, President Lawrence H. Summers announced today.

A member of the HBS faculty since 1970 and currently the school’s senior associate dean responsible for planning and development, Light will take on the role of Acting Dean once Dean Kim B. Clark steps down on July 31 to assume the presidency of Brigham Young University-Idaho.

“We are very fortunate to have someone of Jay Light’s quality of mind, depth of experience, and institutional values to carry forward in this interim role while we search for a longer-term successor to Kim Clark, who has served HBS so ably this past decade,” said Summers. “Jay is widely admired both within and beyond the HBS community, and I know he will guide the school thoughtfully and effectively during this important time of transition.”

“Kim leaves the School on very solid footing and with a clear sense of direction,” said Light. “In the months ahead, I look forward to working with my colleagues in the HBS community and President Summers to ensure we continue making progress on our important priorities and initiatives.”

In a message to the HBS community, Summers also announced the formation of a 15-member faculty advisory group for the dean search. The group will include, from the HBS faculty, Professors Teresa Amabile, Dwight Crane, David Garvin, Janice Hammond, Robert Kaplan, Jay Light, Warren McFarlan, Kathleen McGinn, Cynthia Montgomery, Das Narayandas, William Sahlman, David Thomas, and Richard Vietor. In addition, consistent with recent practice in Harvard dean searches, two faculty members from elsewhere in the University will join the group: Mahzarin Banaji (Psychology) and Jeremy Stein (Economics). Summers said that further steps will be taken in the time ahead to ensure structured channels of advice from the broader HBS community of faculty, students, staff, alumni, and friends. He encouraged anyone with thoughts bearing on the search to write, in confidence, to

Light holds his bachelor’s degree from Cornell (engineering physics, 1963) and a doctorate from Harvard (joint program in decision and control theory, 1970). Following work in data communications and satellite guidance at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and in management consulting, he joined the HBS faculty in 1970. From 1977 to 1979, he took leave from HBS to serve as director of investment and financial policies for the Ford Foundation. He returned to HBS in 1979 as a tenured professor. He served as chairman of the school’s finance area from 1985 to 1988 and as Senior Associate Dean, Director of Faculty Planning from 1988 to 1992. For the past seven years, since 1998, he has been the Senior Associate Dean, Director of Planning and Development, working closely with Dean Clark and others on the school’s strategic planning.

“Jay is an outstanding choice for this important role,” said Clark. “He has been a wonderful partner for me over the last ten years, and is respected by all who know him. I am confident he will lead HBS wisely and well until a long-term dean is named.”

Light’s professional, research, and teaching interests have focused on institutional asset management including the management of pension funds and endowments, as well as on the entrepreneurial management of technology companies. He is the author of the book The Financial System as well as numerous articles and cases in such areas as asset management, risk management, negotiation, and corporate finance.

Light’s service on various boards includes his roles as a director of Harvard Management Company, a director of Partners HealthCare, and a trustee of the Groton School. He is a former trustee of TIAA-CREF and Brigham and Women’s Hospital.