Blythe J. McGarvie

Senior Lecturer of Business Administration

Blythe McGarvie has operated profitable business units and managed employees in business endeavors from China to Chile, France to Finland. She has been CFO of a Fortune 500 company in the US and of a leading consumer goods company in Paris. Her best-selling book, Shaking the Globesubtitled Courageous Decision-Makers in a Changing World (published by John Wiley & Sons in 2009) provides entrepreneurs and executives with research and action ideas to overcome obstacles in a competitive and interconnected world.  She is the author of Fit In Stand Out, subtitled Mastering the FISO Factor: The Key to Leadership Effectiveness in Business and Life (published by McGraw-Hill in 2005). This book has reached wide distribution in the U.S. and published outside the US, including in Spanish, Indian and Russian language versions.

Blythe McGarvie has operated profitable business units and managed employees in business endeavors from China to Chile, France to Finland. She has been CFO of a Fortune 500 company in the US and of a leading consumer goods company in Paris. Her best-selling book, Shaking the Globe, subtitled Courageous Decision-Makers in a Changing World (published by John Wiley & Sons in 2009) provides entrepreneurs and executives with research and action ideas to overcome obstacles in a competitive and interconnected world.  She is the author of Fit In Stand Out, subtitled Mastering the FISO Factor: The Key to Leadership Effectiveness in Business and Life (published by McGraw-Hill in 2005). This book has reached wide distribution in the U.S. and published outside the US, including in Spanish, Indian and Russian language versions.

In 2012 McGarvie joined the faculty of Harvard Business School where she teaches Financial Reporting and Control to first-year MBA candidates as well as in-field and executive education classes. For ten years before joining HBS, Ms. McGarvie served as Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Leadership for International Finance, offering a global perspective for clients seeking profitable growth by providing leadership seminars for corporate and academic groups. She serves as a member of the boards of directors of Accenture, Viacom, Wawa, LKQ, and Sonoco, and formerly served on the boards of Travelers Insurance, Pepsi Bottling Group and Lafarge NA. In 2012, she accepted the invitation to join the Audit Committee Learning Network, a group of Audit Committee Chairs of American and European companies with revenues of $10 billion or more. In 2014, for the fifth year in a row, McGarvie gave the keynote address at the International Women's Day Conference in Washington, D.C. In prior years, McGarvie gave the keynote address in Bombay, London, Minneapolis, and Chicago. In 2012, 2010 and 2008, NACD/Directorship selected Ms. McGarvie as one of the Top 100 Most Renowned and Influentials in Corporate Governance.  In December 2009, Ms. McGarvie received an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from Old Dominion University. 

McGarvie is renowned for her perspective on leadership decision-making, corporate governance and worldwide economic trends. Past academic appointments include as Senior Fellow for Northwestern University’s Kellogg Innovation Network, a faculty member of Duke CE and Visiting Leader at Shanghai-based CEIBS. Prior to founding the LIF Group, McGarvie was a pioneering CFO, and in 1995, was one of only ten female CFOs in the Fortune 500.  Ms. McGarvie was Chief Financial Officer of BIC Group, a French company traded on the Euronext, famous for its pens, lighters and shavers. For five years prior to joining BIC, Ms. McGarvie was Senior Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer of Hannaford Bros. Co., a Fortune 500 company, acquired by the Delhaize Group in 1999.  Her international experience includes being based in Paris, France for BIC Group and as Chief Administrative Officer – Pacific Rim of Sara Lee Corporation, based in Chicago, where she was responsible for the finance, strategy, information systems and human resources functions for the personal product business in Asia, Australia and South America, growing the division from $124 million to $600 million in sales over a three-year period ending in 1994.

Ms. McGarvie is a Certified Public Accountant. She earned an MBA from Northwestern University’s J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management, who selected her for the Schaffner Award in 1992, presented annually to an alumnus (a) who is pre-eminent in his or her field and who provided outstanding service to Kellogg. She earned an Advanced Professional Director certification from the American College of Corporate Directors in 2012. Separately, she is a member of numerous non-profit organizations including the Lyric Opera of Chicago Board of Directors, The Chicago Network, NACD (National Association of Corporate Directors) and CIVIC Institute.

  1. Overview

    Research about the design and use of internal performance measurement and control systems to implement strategies, align incentives, manage risks, and shape culture using accounting measurement and priorities. In addition, my research includes understanding how and when corporate governance influences the company's financial reults.

    Keywords: corporate governance; strategic change; accounting red flags; accountability;