Lynn S. Paine

John G. McLean Professor of Business Administration

Lynn Sharp Paine is John G. McLean Professor and Senior Associate Dean at Harvard Business School. A member and former chair of the General Management unit, she co-founded the School's required course on Leadership and Corporate Accountability, and currently teaches Boards of Directors and Corporate Governance. She also teaches in various executive programs including Making Corporate Board More Effective, Leading Global Businesses, and the Senior Executive Program for China.

Ms. Paine's research focuses on the leadership and governance of companies that meld high ethical standards with outstanding financial results. Her most recent book is Capitalism at Risk: Rethinking the Role of Business (Harvard Business Review Press, 2011), with HBS colleagues Joe Bower and Dutch Leonard. Her most recent articles inculde, "Sustainability in the Boardroom," "The China Rules," and "A Global Leader's Guide to Managing Business Conduct," (the latter with HBS colleagues Rohit Deshpande and Joshua Margolis) - all published in the Harvard Business Review

Ms. Paine is a director of Atos SE (NYSE Euronext Paris), an international digital services company, and a member of the Governing Board of the Center for Audit Quality. She is also a member of the academic council of the Hills Program on Governance at CSIS (Center for Strategic and International Studies). Over the course of her career, Ms. Paine has served as a consultant to numerous firms, companies, and industry groups, and sat on various advisory boards and panels including the Conference Board's Blue-Ribbon Commission on Public Trust and Private Enterprise after Enron's collapse and the Conference Board's Task Force on Executive Compensation after the financial crisis. She was a director of RiskMetrics Group from 2008 until it became part of MSCI in June 2010. 

A summa cum laude graduate of Smith College, Ms. Paine holds a doctorate in moral philosophy from Oxford University and a law degree from the Harvard Law School. She practiced law with the Boston firm of Hill & Barlow early in her career. Prior to joining the Harvard faculty, Ms. Paine taught at Georgetown University Business School and the University of Virginia's Darden School of Business as well as National Cheng Chi University in Taiwan, where she was a Luce Scholar. She is a permanent member of the Henry Luce Foundation's Luce Scholar Selection Panel. She and her husband, Tom Paine, have three adult children and live in Wellesley, Massachusetts.  

  1. Overview

    by Lynn S. Paine

    My work focuses on boards of directors and corporate governance. I am currently developing new cases and materials for use in our MBA and Exec Ed offerings on boards of directors/corporate governance and working on projects in three areas: (1) the role of shareholders in the modern public corporation; (2) alternative models of corporate governance; and (3) the board's role in fostering corporate responsibility and sustainability. The latter area includes research using the Global Business Standards (GBS) survey developed with Rohit Deshpande and Joshua Margolis.