Geoffrey G. Jones

Isidor Straus Professor of Business History

Geoffrey Jones is the Isidor Straus Professor of Business History, and Faculty Chair of the School's Business History Initiative. He holds degrees of BA, MA and PhD from Cambridge University, UK, and an honorary Doctorate in Economics and Business Administration from Copenhagen Business School. He taught previously at the London School of Economics, and Cambridge and Reading Universities in the UK, and has held Visiting Professorships at Gakushuin University, Tokyo, Erasmus University, Rotterdam, and Universidad de los Andes, Bogota. Elsewhere at Harvard, he serves on the faculty committee of the Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies, and on the Policy Committee of the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies.

Professor Jones researches the evolution and impact of global business. He has written extensively on the history of international entrepreneurship and multinational corporations, specializing in consumer products including beauty and fashion, as well as services such as banking and commodity trading. He is a Fellow of the Academy of International Business.

Professor Jones's books include British Multinational Banking 1830-1990 (Oxford University Press, 1993), Merchants to Multinationals (Oxford University Press, 2000), (edited with Franco Amatori) Business History around the World (Cambridge University Press, 2003), Multinationals and Global Capitalism: From the Nineteenth to Twenty First Century (Oxford University Press, 2005), Renewing Unilever. Transformation and Tradition (Oxford University Press, 2005), and (edited with Jonathan Zeitlin) the Oxford Handbook of Business History (Oxford University Press, 2008).  Professor Jones's most recent book, Beauty Imagined (Oxford University Press, 2010) provides the first history of the global beauty industry from a business perspective. He is currently writing a new book called Profits and Sustainability: A Global History of Green Entrepreneurship, which is scheduled for publication by Oxford University Press in 2015. 

  1. Beauty Imagined: A History of the Global Beauty Industry (April 2010)

    The global beauty business permeates our lives, influencing how we perceive ourselves and what it is to be beautiful. The brands and firms which have shaped this industry, such as Avon, Coty, Estée Lauder, L'Oréal, and Shiseido, have imagined beauty for us.

    In Beauty Imagined, Geoffrey Jones takes an in-depth look at the global beauty industry from its emergence in the nineteenth century to the present day, exploring how today's global giants grew. He shows how successive generations of entrepreneurs built brands which shaped perceptions of beauty, and the business organizations needed to market them. They democratized access to beauty products, once the privilege of elites, but they also defined the gender and ethnic borders of beauty, and its association with a handful of cities, notably Paris and later New York.

    Today globalization is changing the beauty industry again; its impact can be seen in a range of competing strategies. Jones shows how global brands have swept into China, Russia, and India, but at the same time, these brands are having to respond to a far greater diversity of cultures and lifestyles as new markets are opened up worldwide. In the twenty first century, beauty is again being re-imagined anew.

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