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Laura Tyson Named Interim Dean At Haas

Laura Tyson will serve as interim dean at UC-Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. Haas photo

Unable to seal the deal with one of three finalists for the deanship of Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley today (June 28) turned to a familiar face to hold down the job on an interim basis. Laura D’Andrea Tyson, a Haas economist who had been dean of the school from 1998 to 2001, will temporarily succeed Dean Rich Lyons on July 1.

It has been nearly two months since the school confirmed that its search for a new dean came down to three candidates: two female professors from the Wharton School and a male professor from the Harvard Business School. Katherine Klein, vice dean for Wharton’s social impact initiative and a professor of management, and Ann E. Harrison, another Wharton management professor who had earlier taught at UC-Berkeley, are in the final consideration stage for the job, sources told Poets&Quants. The third finalist is Mihir A. Desai, a professor of finance at Harvard Business School who is also a professor of law at Harvard Law School (see Two Wharton Profs Among Finalists For Haas Deanship).

Exactly one year ago on this same date, Dean Lyons announced his intention to leave the deanship, giving the university and the school a full year to find his successor. The university hired a search firm–headhunter David Bellshaw of Isaacson, Miller–to help with the process and zeroed in on three final candidates in early April. There was every expectation that the university would have named its new dean by now in time for Lyon’s last day in office.


It’s not clear why Berkeley has been unable to complete the search in time for Lyon’s departure as dean by June 30, just two days from now. But several major business schools, including Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, UCLA’s Anderson School of Management, and Cornell University’s College of Business, are all in the market for new deans. It would hardly be a surprise then that the unusual number of high profile B-school deanships currently in progress might complicate the Berkeley search.

The university chancellor’s office said today it “continues to work on recruiting a permanent dean. The chancellor’s office hopes to have a new dean named and in place this fall.”

“We are so fortunate that somebody as able and uniquely qualified for this role as Professor Tyson is willing to step in and help the school during this leadership transition,” said Chancellor Carol Christ in a statement. “When Laura was dean of Berkeley Haas, she initiated many important programs that laid the foundation for the school’s financial and reputational strengths today. Haas couldn’t be in better hands.”


Tyson joined the Berkeley Economics Department in 1977 and the Haas faculty in 1990. She was the dean of the Haas School from 1998 to 2001. She also served as dean of London Business School from 2002 until 2006. Lyons, who has served as the Haas School dean for 11 years, will return to his full-time faculty position at Haas next year following a sabbatical.

No doubt Tyson has been an innovator at Haas and beyond. She also served as dean or London Business School from 2002 to 2006 and currently is the director of the Institute for Business and Social Impact. Tyson’s career has been an impressive marriage of economic chops and social impact. She served as Chair of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers and later as Director of the White House National Economic Council for the Clinton administration and was the first woman to hold both of those positions.

During her time as dean, Tyson began moving the school towards a focus on corporate social responsibility. She raised the funds and launched the Center for Responsible Business. Alongside students, she launched the Global Social Venture Competition, which regularly draws teams of MBAs from around the world to pitch their social enterprises.

“The Berkeley Haas community recognizes and appreciates the enormous contributions that Dean Lyons has made during his deanship,” said Tyson. “I am honored by the opportunity to serve our community during the transition to the new dean.”