With the historic global upheaval and uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Nitin Nohria has agreed to remain as dean of Harvard Business School (HBS) through the end of December, Harvard University President Larry Bacow announced today.
Nohria, who has led HBS for nearly a decade, said last fall that he planned to step down on June 30 and take a year-long sabbatical.
“We are very fortunate to have the sustained benefit of Nitin’s keen judgment, deep experience, and steady hand as we navigate the unprecedented circumstances now before us,” Bacow wrote in a letter to the HBS community Thursday afternoon.
“Such near-term continuity during an uncertain time will serve HBS and Harvard well. It will also help ensure that Provost [Alan] Garber and I can give the ongoing dean search the full attention it deserves … as we continue working toward the selection of HBS’s next leader.”
Named dean in 2010 by then-President Drew Faust, Nohria quickly pushed forward with an ambitious agenda for HBS that he called the “Five I priorities.” He oversaw the launch of Harvard Business School Online and the Harvard i-lab, spearheaded curriculum innovation such as the field method, and presided over a $1.4 billion capital campaign to bolster faculty hiring and research and to strengthen the School’s residential campus, including Klarman Hall, the Chao Center, and Tata Hall.
In his letter, Bacow said he was “extremely grateful” to Nohria for his willingness to stay on during this turbulent period, calling it “an act of institutional commitment wholly characteristic of his profound devotion to HBS and to the University.”
Bacow also thanked the many faculty, students, staff, and alumni who have shared their views about the qualities and experience they would most value in the next dean.
Nohria has been a member of the HBS faculty since 1988, and taught leadership and organizational behavior. After earning a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering in 1984 from the Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay, Nohria moved to Cambridge to study at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management, where he received a Ph.D. in management in 1988.