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. He has an honorary Doctorate in Economics and Business Administration from Copenhagen Business School, Denmark, and an honorary PhD from the University of Helsinki, Finland. He taught previously at the London School of Economics, and Cambridge and Reading Universities in the UK, and at Erasmus University Rotterdam in the Netherlands. He has held Visiting Professorships at Gakushuin University, Tokyo, 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. 

Reviews for Beauty Imagined

“This illuminating account of the history of the beauty business, as well as its current challenges in the face of globalization, offers unique insights on the drivers of success and failure in an industry in which branding and marketing are at the heart of competitive success.”

John A. Quelch, Lincoln Filene Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School

“Geoffrey Jones has distilled a massive amount of evidence from around the world to produce the intriguing essence of the global beauty business. This book’s incisive analysis of how the industry grew, and its current challenges and dynamics, makes it essential reading for people working in beauty today, as well as millions who delight in using our brands each day.”

Bernd Beetz, Chief Executive, Coty

“Beauty is a sprawling global business, yet Geoffrey Jones has produced a book broad enough and deep enough to encompass it compactly and with insight. Beauty Imagined skillfully marshals a vast array of disparate sources—not just from the usual suspects, but from high and low, from east and west, from north and south, and from the present and the past - into a well-honed and compelling account of the business that one way or another quite literally touches us all. This book will no doubt be read avidly by business historians, among whom Jones is preeminent. But it will also be read far beyond for what it tells us about society, about business, and about ourselves.”

Paul Duguid, Adjunct Professor, School of Information, University of California, Berkeley

“The beauty industry has done well by making people look good, and making them feel good about themselves. Like other corporate sectors, it has shaped human needs as much as it has responded to them. This study of enterprise and global reach also sheds light on the inner self and its interaction with others. It is a great achievement.”

Avner Offer, Chichele Professor of Economic History, University of Oxford, author of The Challenge of Affluence