After A 15-Year Run, Columbia B-School Dean To Step Down

Columbia Business School Dean Glenn Hubbard will step down on June 30th of 2019

When Columbia Business School finally opens its new Manhattanville campus four years from now in 2022, the man most responsible for making it happen will no longer be dean. The school announced today (Sept. 13) that Dean Glenn Hubbard is stepping down from his job at the end of this academic year on June 30th of 2019 after a 15-year run.

Hubbard, who was not available to comment on his decision, did not disclose why he would not seek another term to see the new campus to completion. A spokesperson for the school said that “after dotting all the “I’s” and “t’s” in securing the school’s future home in Manhattanville, he felt it was time to pass stewardship of the school on to another capable leader.”

But the announcement also comes just six weeks after a jury awarded a former junior professor at Columbia Business School $1.2 million in a highly publicized case in which the faculty member, a woman, said she was a victim of sexual harassment from a senior male professor and one-time mentor (see Prof Wins $1.25 Million From Columbia & B-School Professor Geert Bekaert). In one of the more dramatic moments of the trial, Hubbard testified that he considered the conflict between the two faculty members “a soap opera.”


During his 15-year span as dean, however, Hubbard proved himself to be one of the most prolific fundraisers in the history of business school deanships. By the time he steps away, the school estimates that he will have raised more than $1 billion, including over $500 million for the school’s new home. Hubbard secured two of the largest gifts ever pledged to a business school, $125 million from Henry Kravis, co-founder and co-CEO of the leveraged buyout firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., and $100 million from Ronald Perelman, chairman and CEO of MacAndrews & Forbes Holdings. The two buildings in the business school complex will bear their names.

Hubbard used the additional funds he raised to bring on 38 new professorships. Financial aid to students, moreover, increased 600% from 2004 to 2018. Only one other B-school dean in his generation has raised more money: Nitin Nohria of Harvard Business School who last year surpassed a $1 billion capital campaign goal a year early and then announced plans to raise another $300 million by the end of this year.

Columbia, one of world’s most prestigious business schools, now joins an unprecedented list of highly selective schools–including Northwestern Kellogg, Yale SOM, Cornell, UCLA and Notre Dame Mendoza–in the search for a new leader. It is an unusual level of turnover at the top, a function of coincidence and the increasingly larger churn rate in higher education. The university said tht a “global search for Hubbard’s replacement will begin immediately.”


An economist by training, Hubbard joined Columbia Business School in 1988 after beginning his teaching career at Northwestern University. He served as senior vice dean of the business school from 1994 to 1997 and co-director of its entrepreneurial program from 1998 to 2004. Preisdent Lee Bollinger appointed the academic dean of the business school in July of 2004. But Hubbard’s interest in public policy also brought him to Washington and the world of politics. He was chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President George W. Bush and a top economic advisor to Mitt Romney during his Presidential campaign.

“Glenn’s 15 years as dean will be remembered as an historic period during which Columbia Business School was strengthened on every meaningful front and solidifed its standing as one of the most celebrated and innovative schools of business in all of higher education,” said President Bollinger in a statement. “Dean Hubbard succeeded repeatedly in seixing opportunities for transforming and modernizing Columbia Business School through times tht were often turbulent and challenging.”

In an email to students this afternoon, Hubbard said “I am writing to let you know that I will not seek another term as dean of Columbia Business School. With President Bollinger’s concurrence, I will serve out my current term, stepping down June 30, 2019.  That period should be sufficient to find the next dean, and I am prepared to assist in any transition President Bollinger or the faculty request.  The school’s success and opportunity going forward will attract excellent candidates for the dean’s position. I am honored to have the opportunity to serve as dean.”


The school noted that Hubbard led initiatives to revamp Columbia’s core MBA curriculum, strengthened recruitment of both top academics and students; launched several initiatives to bridge acdemic theory with the practice of business and “reignitied engagement” of the school’s 46,000 alumni. Under his leadership, the school also launched six new master’s degrees and went through three new extensions of the school’s executive MBA program. As a dean, Hubbard never fully surrendered his teaching role in the classroom, preferring to get in front of both MBA and Executive MBA students on a fairly regular basis.

Besides the recent lawsuit, Hubbard has occasionally bumped into some controversial moments during this deanship. In the aftermath of the Great Recession, Hubbard agreed to an interview with documentarian Charles Ferguson that became highly contentious when the filmmaker began grilling him on his outside consulting assignments and how much money he made from them. Hubbard lost his composure, becoming visibly angry in the film, Inside Job, which would go on to win an Academy Award for best documentary in 2010,. “I’m not going to answer that,” he said. “In fact, you’ve got three minutes. So give it your best shot.” .

The documentary noted that B-school Professor Frederic S. Mishkin did not disclose publicly that in 2006, he was paid over $100,000 by the Iceland Chamber of Commerce to co-author a paper in which he praised the stability of Iceland’s economy—two years before it collapsed. It also criticized Hubbard for not disclosing that he is paid $250,000 per year to serve on the board of the insurance giant MetLife. The school would later approve more stringent rules for disclosing potential conflicts of interest among faculty.

“Looking back,” he wrote in his email to students, “we should all take a moment to celebrate the School’s success.  With $1 billion in fundraising and leaps in alumni giving and participation, our financial muscle is being built.  The School has succeeded with funding for the new Manhattanville campus; an expanded faculty with 38 new professorships; expansion of research institutes, centers, and programs; and greater financial aid for a very talented, diverse student body.  These accomplishments are noteworthy, but I am proudest of our success in building our people—the team of students, faculty, staff, and alumni that gives us our distinction.”

Though he is leaving the deanship before what will be a landmark change in the school’s history–the opening of its new campus–Hubbard said he was optimistic about the school’s future. “I am very optimistic about what lies ahead for you as a future CBS alum,” he told students.  “You are well positioned to identify and capture opportunity in the midst of the change through which we are living.  As an economist, I believe we face a bright future of growth and innovation.  When I visited our global alumni community to celebrate the School’s Centennial in 2016, I reminded every group that Facebook, Twitter, the iPhone, the modern Google, driverless cars, and most of fintech was not there when I started as dean.  Great businesses take about a decade to build—I can only imagine the success you will have in that world a decade hence.  I hope to run into you at your 10th reunion—and before—to ask!”


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