06 Nov 2019

Nitin Nohria Message to the Community


Dear members of the HBS community,

I am writing to let you know that I will step down as Dean of Harvard Business School on June 30, 2020, after a decade in this role. Serving as Dean has been a privilege for which I am immeasurably grateful. Little could I have imagined this opportunity when I joined the School's faculty in 1988. As I know is true for so many of you, HBS changed the arc of my life.

I love this School and University and have tried to serve both as best I could. Early in my tenure, a colleague shared a maxim that I adopted as a daily reminder of my job’s purpose. It is from the Hebrew text Pirkei Avot, and its essence is, “You can never complete the work, nor must you abandon it.” In the same vein, former Dean John McArthur often reminded me that even today HBS remains a “delicate experiment.” Although I became Dean after we marked the School's centennial, I have seen my role as continuing this delicate but enduring experiment. Our mission of educating leaders who make a difference in the world has always been and continues to be ever so important. The work of educating leaders will never be complete, nor can we abandon it.

Yet the time feels right to transition to new leadership. Ten years gave us a good run to make progress on our Five I priorities. A decade for HBS's tenth dean seems an appropriate duration for this chapter in the School's history.

I will take a sabbatical when I step down to reflect on what I may do next. I look forward to supporting our next Dean, as my predecessors supported me. I will always remain devoted to this most extraordinary institution that I have been so lucky to call not just my place of work, but my family's home.

I am deeply grateful for your extraordinary support. It has been a blessing to partner with faculty, staff, students, and alumni who care so much about HBS and are willing to give so much of themselves to it. And it has been inspiring, every day, to witness the many ways in which our community acts to solve society's most pressing problems.

I hope to personally thank as many of you as I can in the months ahead for all you have done for me and the School.

For now, though, onward!


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