Stuart C. Gilson

Steven R. Fenster Professor of Business Administration

Professor Stuart Gilson is the Steven R. Fenster Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School, and former chairman of the Finance Area of the School.  Professor Gilson’s research, teaching, and consulting activities focus on the operational, financial, and legal strategies that companies use to revitalize their business, improve performance, and create value when operating in a challenging business environment.  He is an expert on business valuation, corporate financial analysis, financial strategy, credit analysis, and corporate restructuring.  

Professor Gilson’s research has been published by leading academic and practitioner journals and has been cited by the national news media, including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Business Week, and Bloomberg.  His work has received numerous honors, including the prestigious Graham and Dodd Award for his article on investment strategies used by credit-oriented investors to acquire control and create value in highly leveraged companies. 

For the last twenty years he has taught one of the most popular courses in Harvard’s MBA curriculum, Creating Value Through Corporate Restructuring.  He has also taught extensively in Harvard’s Executive Education programs, including the Advanced Management Program, Finance for Senior Executives, and Corporate Restructuring, Mergers and Acquisitions.  

Professor Gilson has written more than sixty Harvard Business School case studies and teaching notes that are used in business schools throughout the world.  A number of these cases have been published in his book Creating Value Through Corporate Restructuring (John Wiley & Sons), now in its second edition.  

Professor Gilson has served as a consultant for a variety of companies and organizations.  He has provided focused executive training programs for a number of Fortune 500 companies.  He has served on the advisory boards of various for-profit and non-profit organizations, including the Turnaround Management Association (as co-chair) and several investment funds.  He serves as a litigation expert on business valuation, credit analysis, and corporate restructuring.  He is an academic affiliate of Cornerstone Research, a leading economic consulting firm. 

Professor Gilson received his B.A. degree from the University of Manitoba; his Masters degree from the University of British Columbia; and his Ph.D. in Finance from the University of Rochester, New York.  He lives with his wife in the town of Brookline, Massachusetts.


  1. Winner of the 2012 Distinguished Paper Award from the Business Policy and Strategy Division of the Academy of Management for his paper with Emilie Feldman and Belén Villalonga, “Do Analysts Add Value When They Most Can? Evidence from Corporate Spinoffs” (Strategic Management Journal).

  2. Appointed Business Law Advisor to the Business Bankruptcy Committee of the American Bankruptcy Association, 2008–2010.

  3. Nominated for the 1998 Smith Breeden Prize for best paper in the Journal of Finance for “Transactions Costs and Capital Structure Choice: Evidence from Financially Distressed Firms” (1997).

  4. Awarded the John M. Olin Visiting Professor Fellowship, University of Virginia Law School, 1997.

  5. Winner of the 1995 Graham and Dodd Award for Excellence in Financial Writing from the Financial Analysts Journal and the CFA Institute for "Investing in Distressed Situations: A Market Survey" (1995).

  6. Nominated for the 1994 Smith Breeden Prize for best paper in the Journal of Finance for "CEO Compensation in Financially Distressed Firms: An Empirical Analysis" (with M. R. Vetsuypens, 1993).

  7. Winner of the 1991 Outstanding Paper in Financial Management at the Financial Management Association Annual Meetings for "CEO Compensation in Financially Distressed Firms: An Empirical Analysis" (with M. R. Vetsuypens).