Eugene F. Soltes

Jakurski Family Associate Professor of Business Administration

Eugene Soltes is the Jakurski Family Associate Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School where his research focuses on how individuals and organizations confront and overcome challenging situations. He teaches in several of the school’s executive education programs and was awarded the Charles M. Williams Award for outstanding teaching in 2015.

Professor Soltes’ work on corporate misconduct and fraud culminated in the book Why They Do It: Inside the Mind of the White-Collar Criminal, which was described by Kirkus Reviews as “a groundbreaking study” on white-collar criminality. The book explores why often wealthy and successful executives engage in deception. The investigation draws on more than seven years of interaction with nearly fifty of the most high-profile former executives responsible for the most significant corporate crimes. The book refutes popular explanations of why seemingly successful executives engage in fraud and instead shows that most executives make decisions the way we all do—on the basis of intuitions and gut feelings. The trouble, Soltes shows, is that these gut feelings are often poorly suited for the modern business world and often lead to the harmful acts that we so often read about in the news.

More recently, Professor Soltes’ research has focused on understanding how veterans with disabilities overcome obstacles when leaving the military. He is the principle investigator on a five-year field study focused on exploring the impact of several innovative incentive and benefit programs to help veterans more effectively transition to civilian life and develop fulfilling personal and professional identities.

At the organizational level, Professor Soltes examines how firms voluntarily disclose information to investors, employees, regulators, and the media. This research has been published in leading finance, accounting, and economics journals and resulted in numerous awards including the Hillcrest Behavioral Finance Award, California Corporate Finance Conference, and the Financial Research Association Best Paper Award.

Professor Soltes and his work have been widely quoted by the media including in The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Bloomberg, and USA Today.

Prior to joining the faculty of the Harvard Business School, Professor Soltes received his PhD and MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, and his AM in statistics and AB in economics from Harvard University.

He lives in Cambridge with his wife, a rheumatologist, and young daughter.

  1. Received the 2015 Charles M. Williams Award for Excellence in Teaching.

  2. Winner of the 2015 Hillcrest Behavioral Finance Award from Hillcrest Asset Management for “Being Surprised by the Unsurprising: Earnings Seasonality and Stock Returns” with Tom Chang, Samuel Hartzmark, and David Solomon.

  3. Winner of the Best Paper Award at the 2015 California Corporate Finance Conference for “Being Surprised by the Unsurprising: Earnings Seasonality and Stock Returns” with Tom Chang, Samuel Hartzmark, and David Solomon.

  4. Winner of the 2012 Best Paper Award from the Financial Research Association for "What Are We Meeting For? The Consequences of Private Meetings with Investors" with David Solomon.