John H. McArthur

George Fisher Baker Professor of Administration, Emeritus


(617) 495-6002

Send Email

John H. McArthur was Dean of the Faculty of Harvard Business School from 1980 through 1995.  Since then he has been the George F. Baker Professor of Business Administration Emeritus and Dean Emeritus. He was a member of the School's faculty from 1962, where he taught courses in corporate finance and related fields in several HBS programs while also engaging in research and course development in Europe and North America.  In 1973, McArthur was appointed the Sylvan C. Coleman Professor of Financial Management, and in 1980, the George F. Baker Professor of Business Administration.  From 1995 to 2005 he  served as Senior Advisor to the President of The World Bank. He is currently Chair of the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada. 

A native of Vancouver, British Columbia, McArthur earned the Bachelor of Commerce degree in Forestry from the University of British Columbia in 1957.  At the Harvard Business School, he completed the MBA degree in 1959 and earned a doctorate there in business administration in 1963. 

He has held numerous corporate directorships, committee memberships, and consulting posts in business, government, education and health care organizations around the world over the decades.  He is or has been a director of the AES Corporation, Arvida Corporation; the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada; Avenir Group, Inc., BCE, Inc.; Benchmarking Partners; Boston World Partnerships; Buckeye Pipe Line Company; Cabot Corporation; the Advanced Leadership Program of the Canada School of Public Service; Center for Surgery and Public Health at Brigham and Women's Hospital; Chase Manhattan Corporation; Controlled Rick Insurance Co., Data General Corporation; Detroit, Toledo and Ironton Railroad; Development Gateway Foundation; Duke University Health System; e-Rewards, Inc.; Glaxo Wellcome plc; GlaxoSmithKline plc; HCA Inc.; Koç Holdings A.S, Istanbul; Multibank Financial Corporation; National Aviation and Technology Corporation; New England Transportation Co.; The Pennsylvania Corporation; People Express Airline; Rohm and Haas Company; Springs Industries, Inc.; Student Education Loan Fun, Inc.; Telesat Canada; Teradyne Inc.; Thomson Reuters Founders Share Co, London; and Urban National Corporation. 

McArthur was a Trustee in Bankruptcy of Penn Central Transportation Company, a founding board member of the Canada Development Investment Corporation, and a member of the Task Force on the Future of the Canadian Financial Services Sector.  He has served in numerous roles over the years for the Mayor of the City of Boston.  For many years, he served as chair of the Brigham and Women's Hospital. Following the affiliation of Brigham and Women's and Massachusetts General Hospital, he was founding Co-chair of the Board of Trustees of Partners HealthCare System, Inc. He has been a trustee of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the US Friends of the National Arts Centre of Canada and is a board member of the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City. 

McArthur has also served or serves on the boards of overseers of several other organizations including The Anti-Defamation League; Brandeis International Business School; Canada 2020; the Council of Canadian Academies' Expert Panel on Management, Business and Finance; Fondation Jean Monnet pour L'Europe, Lausanne, Switzerland; Foreign Business Council, International Institute for Management Development, Lausanne, Switzerland; Junior Achievement, Inc; Koç University, Istanbul; National Coalition on Health Care; The Netherlands School of Business, Nijenrode; Nomura School of Finance and Business Studies, Japan; Partners In Health; Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University, Japan; the Social Enterprise Initiative Advisory Board at Harvard University; and both the Graduate School and the Business School of the University of British Columbia.  Club memberships have included the Commercial Club; The Links; the Harvard clubs in Boston and NYC; The Somerset Club; and Willowbend Club.

He has received Distinguished Alumni awards from Burnaby South High School, the University of British Columbia , and the Faculty of Commerce and Business Administration at UBC. He has also been awarded honorary doctorates from Middlebury College, Queens University, Simon Fraser University, the University of British Columbia, the University of Western Ontario, and the University of Navarra in Spain. Other awards include a Management Achievement Award, McGill University; Harvard Statesman Award, from the HBS Club in New York; and a Canadian Business Leadership Award, from the combined HBS Clubs of Canada.  He was named as a Lifetime Trustee at Brigham and Women's Hospital in 1996.  In that same year, he was also selected as Honorary Coach of the hockey team at Harvard College and as a member of the Varsity Club. He is an Honorary Citizen of the town of Remauville in France. 

The John and Natty McArthur University Professorship was established at Harvard University in 1997.  McArthur Hall was dedicated at Harvard Business School in 1999 in recognition of his contributions at Harvard University.  A group of Canadian alumni announced the creation of the John H. McArthur Canadian Fellowship program in 2002.  In 2007 he received the Director of the Year Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Association of Corporate Directors.  Brigham and Women's Hospital announced the John H. McArthur Fellowships in Medicine and Management in 2010. In 2013 the Governor-General of Canada made him an Officer of the Order of Canada. 



Cases and Teaching Materials

  1. Ceres Gardening Company: Funding Growth in Organic Products

    Ceres is a leading player in the growing organic gardening industry, selling seeds, small plants, and related items. Their distribution depends heavily on retail sales through independent nurseries and garden centers. Because these small dealers are unable to finance much inventory, Ceres has crafted its Get Ceres program, which offers steep discounts and vendor financing. Ceres hopes both to accelerate its penetration into new retail accounts and to encourage dealers to accept more inventory in anticipation of seasonal sales. A key focus of the case is the relationship between marketing strategy and credit policy. The case invites students to analyze a range of financial information and to make financial projections; a student spreadsheet (product 4019) is available free of charge.

    Keywords: Accounting procedures; financial statements; marketing; Sales; Marketing channels; Expansion; Business growth; Plant-Based Agribusiness; Marketing Strategy; Expansion; Business Growth and Maturation; Marketing Channels; Credit; Financial Statements; Sales; Retail Industry; Agriculture and Agribusiness Industry;


    McArthur, John H., and Sunru Yong. "Ceres Gardening Company: Funding Growth in Organic Products." Harvard Business School Brief Case 094-017, May 2009. View Details
  2. Ceres Gardening Company: Funding Growth in Organic Products (Brief Case)

    Teaching Note to 4017.

    Keywords: Accounting procedures; financial statements; marketing; Sales; Marketing channels; Expansion; Business growth;


    McArthur, John H., and Sunru Yong. "Ceres Gardening Company: Funding Growth in Organic Products (Brief Case)." Harvard Business School Teaching Note 094-018, May 2009. View Details
  3. Ceres Gardening Company: Funding Growth in Organic Products, Spreadsheet for Instructors (Brief Case)

    Keywords: Accounting procedures; financial statements; marketing; Sales; Marketing channels; Expansion; Business growth;


    McArthur, John H., and Joel L. Heilprin. "Ceres Gardening Company: Funding Growth in Organic Products, Spreadsheet for Instructors (Brief Case)." Harvard Business School Spreadsheet Supplement 094-020, May 2009. View Details