New Stanford Dean Names Leadership Team

Incoming Stanford GSB Dean Jonathan Levin has named his senior leadership team: Paul Pfleiderer (top left), Glenn R. Carroll (bottom left) and newcomers Yossi Feinberg and Sarah Soule

Incoming Stanford GSB Dean Jonathan Levin has named his senior leadership team: Paul Pfleiderer (top left), Glenn R. Carroll (bottom left) and newcomers Yossi Feinberg and Sarah Soule

Well, that didn’t take long.

Even before officially taking over the job on Sept. 1 as new dean of the Stanford Graduate School of Business, Jonathan Levin has put in place a senior leadership team for the school. The four-person group of senior associate deans includes two newcomers. Stepping down from the team that served under Dean Garth Saloner is Madhav V. Rajan, who had been passed over for the deanship, and Larissa Tiedens, who on Aug. 1 became president of Scripps College in Claremont.

Though the new choices appear conservative and predictable, they include Sarah Soule, a highly likable professor of organizational behavior who has been co-director of the Center for Social Innovation. The other newcomer is Yossi Feinberg, who like incoming dean Levin is an economist. Feinberg joined Stanford in 1998 after a a two-year stint as an assistant professor at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.


Levin has chosen to retain two senior associate deans under Saloner for at least another year: Glenn R. Carroll, a professor of organizations, and Paul Pfleiderer, a finance professor. Carroll has been at Stanford GSB since 2001 and was named a senior associate dean in 2008. Pfleiderer is a long-time Stanford player, having taught at the GSB for the past 35 years, joining the school just before receiving his Ph.D. in economics from Yale University in 1982. He was named a senior associate dean by Saloner three years ago.

Under the new lineup, which takes charge on Sept. 1 as Levin assumes his deanship, Feinberg will be responsible for the MBA and MSx programs along with MBA admissions and the career management center. Soule will oversee executive education, global innovation programs and finance. Carroll will be in charge of faculty affairs, the school’s behavioral lab, the Centers and Initiatives for Research, Curriculum & Learning Experiences, accounting, marketing, and political economics. Pfleiderer will handle the school’s Ph.D. program, case writing, the Initiative for Leadership Education and Development, Design for Extreme Affordability, economics, organizational behavior, and operations, information, and technology.

Soule, who has a Ph.D. in sociology from Cornell University, has been at Stanford for the past eight years. She was awarded an endowed chair one year after joining Stanford GSB from Cornell University, where she was a professor in the sociology department. Soule teaches courses on strategy, organizational design, redesigning work, and sustainable food systems. Earlier this year she was named a co-director of a new executive education offering, the Stanford LGBT Executive Leadership Program.


Stanford GSB senior associate dean for academic affairs Madhav Rajan

Stanford GSB Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Madhav Rajan

Feinberg, who served on the search committee that led to Levin’s appointment, was faculty director of Stanford Ignite, a global innovation program running on the Stanford campus, and led its expansion to Bangalore, Beijing, Paris, and Santiago, Chile. After earning his Ph.D. in economics from Hebrew University, he joined Stanford in 1998 and within five years won the MBA Distinguished Teaching Award. His teaching interests include economics of organization, managerial economics, strategy, information markets, game theory, and applied decision making.

When Saloner, embroiled in a sex and leadership scandal, announced last September that he would resign at the end of this academic term, Rajan was seen as the most likely successor to his boss. The India-born accountant had left the Wharton School of Business to join Stanford’s accounting faculty in 2001 and was named a senior associate dean in 2010.

When Saloner took a two-month sabbatical in January and February of 2015, Rajan was named acting dean of the school. That short appointment became the subject of a satirical skit in the MBA students’ annual follies show in 2015, with Rajan willingly posing as the “quiet renegade” eager to take control of the school. A video clip shows him to have a healthy sense of humor, if not someone with Bollywood acting potential.

Considered a highly competent administrator. Rajan’s candidacy had been disadvantaged by his close association with Saloner and the scandal that engulfed the school. When 46 current and former GSB staffers urged the university not to reappoint Saloner, it was clear that the mostly male “GSB leadership” group was seen as responsible for a deterioration in the school’s culture. And when Saloner approved a decision by email to pull a university loan from his lover’s husband, a faculty member at the school, it was Rajan who sent that message seeking the dean’s okay. Court records indicate Rajan didn’t know at the time that Saloner was in a relationship with the professor’s wife.


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