In a terse, five-sentence announcement, George Washington University abruptly said today (Aug. 22) that the dean of its business school was no longer in his job. It was unclear whether Doug Guthrie, who was recruited from New York University’s Stern School to become dean in August of 2010, was fired or resigned of his own accord.
“Fundamental differences about financial and operational performance were significant enough to warrant a change in leadership,” said Provost Steve Lerman in the statement. “I wish to thank Dr. Guthrie for his contributions as dean, including hiring talented faculty, attracting students with stellar records from around the world and launching innovative programs.’
A university spokesperson told the student newspaper, The GW Hatchet, that the differences between the dean and the university were “too great to surmount.”
“I will tell you that as the University did our regular budget process of closing out the fiscal 2013 books, that’s where issues were discovered,” the spokesperson, Candace Smith, added. “The administration and Doug Guthrie have been unable to reach a common understanding of how the business school should operate in the future.”
Guthrie, who was paid $532,464 in total compensation in 2012, was brought to the business school with a mandate for radical change. When he arrived at the school, it was operating in the red. Guthrie helped to launch online business programs and expanded the school’s executive education offerings. Those changes reportedly helped to put the school on a more secure financial footing.
Yet, the vague comments by the provost and university spokesperson suggest that financial issues were core to why Guthrie is no longer in the job.
Prior to joining GW, Guthrie served as Professor of Management at New York University’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business. He also held a joint appointment as Professor of Sociology on NYU’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences and was Director of Executive Education at NYU-Stern from 2007-09.
Guthrie has held visiting positions at Harvard Business School, INSEAD and the graduate schools of business at Stanford University, Columbia University and Emory University. He served as Director of the Business Institutions Initiative at the Social Science Research Council (1999-2003) and was the academic director of the Berlin School of Creative Leadership from 2008-11.
Guthrie is expected to stay on at GW as a tenured professor.