Jay W. Lorsch

Louis E. Kirstein Professor of Human Relations

Jay W. Lorsch is the Louis Kirstein Professor of Human Relations at the Harvard Business School. He is editor of The Future of Boards: Meeting the Governance Challenges of the Twenty-First Century (2012) He is the author of over a dozen books, the most recent of which are Back to the Drawing Board: Designing Boards for a Complex World (with Colin B. Carter, 2003), Aligning the Stars: How to Succeed When Professionals Drive Results (with Thomas J. Tierney, 2002), and Pawns or Potentates: The Reality of America's Corporate Boards (1989). Organization and Environment (with Paul R. Lawrence) won the Academy of Management's Best Management Book of the Year Award and the James A. Hamilton Book Award of the College of Hospital Administrators in 1969.

Having taught in all of Harvard Business School's educational programs, he was Chairman of the Doctoral Programs, Senior Associate Dean and Chair of the Executive Education Programs from 1991-1995, Senior Associate Dean and Director of Research from 1986-1991, Chairman of the Advanced Management Programs from 1980-1985, and prior to that was Chairman of the Organizational Behavior Unit. He is currently Chairman of the Harvard Business School Global Corporate Governance Initiative and Faculty Chairman of the Executive Education Corporate Governance Series. As a consultant, he has had as clients such diverse companies as Applied Materials, Berkshire Partners, Biogen Idec, Citicorp, Cleary Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton LLP, Deloitte Touche, DLA Piper Rudnick, Goldman Sachs, Kellwood Company, MassMutual Financial Group, Tyco International, Shire Pharmaceuticals and Sullivan & Cromwell LLC. He is a member of the Board of Directors of New Sector Alliance as well as The Antioch Review National Advisory Board. He formerly served on the boards of Benckiser (now Reckitt Benckiser), Blasland Bouck & Lee Inc., Brunswick Corporation, Sandy Corporation and CA, Inc.; he also served on the Advisory Board of U.S. Foodservice. He currently serves on the Board of Trustees of Antioch College and Cambridge at Home, as well as the Global Advisory Board of the Women's Tennis Association.

He is a graduate of Antioch College (1955) with a M.S. degree in Business from Columbia University (1956) and a Doctor of Business Administration from Harvard Business School (1964). At Columbia, he was a Samuel Bronfman Fellow in Democratic Business Administration. From 1956-59, he served as a Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Finance Corps.

Professor Lorsch is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.

  1. Shareholders and Corporate Governance

    by Jay W. Lorsch

    The data gathering has been completed and an article is being written about the role shareholders can and cannot play in corporate governance. This article should be completed by the spring of 2012.
  2. Say on Pay

    by Jay W. Lorsch

    This project is examining, on a continuing basis, the evolving practice of allowing shareholders to have a vote on top executive compensation. The expected product will be an article explaining the limitations of this effort to give shareholders voice.
  3. Directors Survey

    by Jay W. Lorsch

    This project, which is just beginning, will be a questionnaire survey of directors of public companies in the U.S. The goal of the survey will be to understand the views of directors about their jobs and the changing legal, regulatory, and institutional climate in which they must work. The product will be a book describing the current views of these important actors.