Henry W. McGee

Senior Lecturer of Business Administration

Unit: General Management


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Henry McGee is a Senior Lecturer at Harvard Business School.  A member of the General Management Unit, he teaches the required MBA courses Leadership and Corporate Accountability (LCA) and Field Immersion Experience for Leadership Development (FIELD).  In addition, he is an instructor in the executive education course The Business of Entertainment, Media and Sports. He is a member of the Harvard Business School Business History Initiative and a director of the Pew Research Center in Washington, DC.

Prior to his appointment to the faculty in July 2013, McGee was President of HBO Home Entertainment, the DVD and digital program distribution division of Home Box Office, the world’s leading premium television company.  The recipient of numerous industry awards for his pioneering use of Internet-based marketing and early adoption of the high definition format for the company’s releases, McGee was named one of the 50 most powerful African Americans in the entertainment business by Black Enterprise magazine.  He served as a director of the Digital Entertainment Group, the trade association of entertainment companies and electronics manufacturers focused on fostering new technologies, and is a former board member of Quickflix (ASX:QFX), Australia and New Zealand’s only subscription DVD and rental video streaming service.  Since 2004 he has been a director of AmerisourceBergen (NYSE: ABC), one of the nation’s top pharmaceutical service companies and number 28 on the Fortune 500 list of the biggest corporations in the United States.

McGee joined HBO immediately after graduating from Harvard Business School in 1979.  During the course of his 34-year career with the company, he held posts in a wide range of areas including family programming, film acquisition and international co-production.  Named President of HBO Home Entertainment in 1995, McGee oversaw the release of numerous multi-million selling releases including The SopranosSex and the CityBand of Brothers and Game of Thrones.  With the launch of offices in London and Toronto, he drove the expansion of the company’s international business and HBO’s titles are now distributed in more than 70 countries around the globe.

McGee’s accomplishments have received significant attention.  In 1997 he was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the National Association of Minorities in Communications.   In 1998 he was named one of New York’s top 100 minority executives by Crain’s New York Business. That same year he was elected a fellow of the United Kingdom’s RSA (Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufacturers & Commerce). In 2004 the Harvard Business School African American Alumni Association honored McGee with its Professional Achievement Award.  McGee was inducted into the Video Hall of Fame, one of the home entertainment industry’s most prestigious honors, in 2008.

McGee has a strong interest in the governance of non-profit organizations and has been especially involved in the fields of arts and education. He has served as president of both the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater Foundation, the nation’s largest modern dance organization, and the Film Society of Lincoln Center.  He has also been a board member of the Sundance Institute, the Black Filmmaker Foundation, The Public Theater, Radcliffe College, Save the Children, the Studio Museum in Harlem and the New 42nd Street, the organization overseeing the revitalization and management of seven historic theaters in Times Square.

After graduating from Harvard College, magna cum laude, in 1974, McGee worked as a reporter for Newsweek magazine in its New York and Washington bureaus.  He covered stories in the fields of politics, foreign affairs, education and entertainment and also served as an on-camera reporter for Newsweek Broadcasting.


Journal Articles

Cases and Teaching Materials

  1. Comcast Corporation

    Sunil Gupta, Henry McGee and Felix Oberholzer-Gee

    In March 2015, Richard Plepler, the CEO of Home Box Office (HBO) announced the company's new 'over the top,' or OTT service, HBO Now, that consumers could stream online for a monthly fee of $14.99 without paying for a cable subscription. Soon, CBS followed and announced its own OTT version for $5.99 a month. Why were HBO and CBS doing this? Was this the beginning of the unbundling of TV? And how should Comcast respond to these changes?

    Keywords: television industry; television; Marketing; Television Entertainment; Telecommunications Industry;


    Gupta, Sunil, Henry McGee, and Felix Oberholzer-Gee. "Comcast Corporation." Harvard Business School Teaching Note 516-048, October 2015. (Revised October 2015.) View Details
  2. Wanda Studios Qingdao

    Henry McGee and Willy Shih

    Wang Jianlin, founder and Chairman of the Dalian Wanda Group (Wanda), kept close tabs on one of his flagship projects going up on the shores of the Yellow Sea. There construction was underway on Wanda Studios Qingdao, the largest film and production facility in the world. The studio was a key initiative of Wang, a central player in the country's rapidly growing movie business. Wanda was already the largest theatrical exhibitor in the world, but the studio represented an enormous bet on a less familiar part of the value network of the film industry. Its vertically integrated approach was also quite different from the Hollywood of today, which has evolved to a much more specialized division of labor.

    Keywords: Dalian Wanda Group; AMC Entertainment; Wang Jianlin; entertainment; movie industry; Vertical Integration; vertical specialization; film; Film Entertainment; Theater Entertainment; Entertainment; Vertical Integration; Entertainment and Recreation Industry; China; United States;


    McGee, Henry, and Willy Shih. "Wanda Studios Qingdao." Harvard Business School Case 616-005, September 2015. View Details
  3. Shonda Rhimes' ShondaLand

    Anita Elberse and Henry McGee

    In January 2015, superstar television creator Shonda Rhimes, whose production company ShondaLand dominates American television's most competitive and lucrative night with three shows in primetime on network ABC's Thursday night, is plotting the future. One challenge she faces is to, as she put it, "solve the problem of writing and producing serialized dramas for broadcast network television." What changes could she propose to ABC to make the creative process more manageable? A second challenge is to figure out how to further expand ShondaLand. How could Rhimes best build her portfolio and further cement ShondaLand's place in television history?

    Keywords: marketing; entertainment; media; television; broadcasting; Creative Industries; television industry; product portfolio management; superstar; talent management; Creativity; Personal Development and Career; Television Entertainment; Media and Broadcasting Industry; United States;


    Elberse, Anita, and Henry McGee. "Shonda Rhimes' ShondaLand." Harvard Business School Case 516-026, August 2015. View Details