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. Overview

    Professor Jones researches the history and impact of globalization. His focus is on the role of entrepreneurs and business enterprises. He has an on-going research interest in the beauty industry, and is now also researching the history of green entrepreneurship worldwide over the last fifty years.

    Keywords: business history; consumer goods; corporate entrepreneurship; entrepreneurship; foreign direct investment; global; globalization; government and business; green marketing; green technology; international business; international entrepreneurship; ethics; Government and Politics; Beauty and Cosmetics Industry; consumer products; Energy Industry; Fashion Industry; Green Technology Industry; Africa; Asia; Europe; Latin America; Middle East; North and Central America; Oceania; Entrepreneurship; Ethics; Globalization; Government and Politics; History; Beauty and Cosmetics Industry; Consumer Products Industry; Energy Industry; Fashion Industry; Green Technology Industry; Africa; Asia; Europe; Latin America; Middle East; North and Central America; Oceania;

  2. Evolution of the Global Beauty Industry

    This research examines the global beauty industry, which includes cosmetics, deodorants, fragrances, hair care, oral hygiene and skin care. Today global sales of cosmetics and toiletries are in excess of U.S. $380  billion. This research examines the growth of this industry worldwide since the nineteenth century, during which it was transformed from a collection of small firms making products considered dangerous to one's health and morality to a global industry led by corporations such as  L'Oréal and Procter & Gamble. The project investigates not only the drivers of globalization of beauty, but the impact on consumer perceptions of what it means to be beautiful.


  3. A History of Green Entrepreneurship

    This research recovers the history of the entrepreneurs and firms who developed green or “sustainable” businesses, identifies the multiple motivations behind their strategies, explores the clustering of green business in specific locations, and shows how the concept of “greenness” has evolved over time. The industries covered include wind and solar energy, organic food and agriculture, natural beauty, construction and architecture, eco-tourism, waste disposal and recycling