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Ivey Turns To Former IBMer & Wharton MBA For Dean

Former IBM executive Sharon Hodgson will become dean of the Ivey Business School

Western University’s Ivey Business School has turned to a former corporate leader from IBM for its new dean. A Wharton MBA who racked up 15 years with IBM, Sharon Hodgson will assume her new job at one of Canada’s leading business schools on May 6.

For Western, whose full-time MBA program was recently ranked best in Canada by Poets&Quants, it’s an unusual choice. The original specs for the job noted that the “ideal candidate” would be “an exemplary scholar with a graduate degree at the Ph.D. level.”

Although Hodgson has no academic experience on her resume, she brings to the school an impressive corporate background. Hodgson launched her professional career in 1987 as a consultant with Anderson Consulting, the predecessor to Accenture. After a three-year stint at Anderson, Hodgson moved on to PwC as a partner for 11 years until 2001. It was while she worked at PwC that she earned an Executive MBA from Wharton in 1997.


She began her IBM career as a global relationship partner wich such big corporate IBM clients as Nestle and Merck, working her way up to general manager of IBM’s global business services unit in Canada by 2014 and ultimately global leader for cognitive, Watson and advanced analytics for IBM global business services. Hodgson left IBM in December of 2017 when she became a self-employed advisor to companies on digital transformation.

She succeeds former Ivey Dean Bob Kennedy, who became dean of the business school at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore in July of 2017. Ivey marketing professor Mark Vandenbosch has served as Ivey’s acting dean since Kennedy’s departure. The executive search firm Perrett Laver assisted the university on its search.

“Sharon’s global network, her experience in leading complex organizations in disruptive environments, and her expertise in areas including business leadership, client relationship building, strategy development, change management, and performance measurement, make her the right leader for the times at Ivey,” said Western University Provost Andrew Hrymak in a statement. “With her proven strengths as a collaborative leader of large and diverse project teams, Sharon will be a tremendous asset to Ivey and Western in helping us respond to the increasingly disruptive forces in academia and business, and in helping us expand our institutional partnerships and reputation on the world stage.”


Hodgson, in a statement, said she sees her new role a similar challenge to what she experienced at IBM. “I love dynamic environments and being around smart people,” said Hodgson, who also earned a bachelor of commerce from the University of Manitoba in 1987.  “At IBM, I had the privilege of working with some of the smartest, most talented people and machines in the world. We helped people navigate through transformational changes in their business and take advantage of the opportunities presented by disruptive forces. At Ivey, I see a similar challenge – lead a successful institution through change as we take advantage of the opportunities presented by technical, governmental and competitive forces in academia.”

Hodgson’s prior roles at IBM included leading the Canadian consulting business in Toronto, consulting leader for the Growth Markets Unit in Shanghai, and leader for North America’s Business Analytics and Optimization unit in Philadelphia. In addition to her roles running IBM businesses, Hodgson has also been the lead consulting partner for several large-scale business transformations at global companies including Nestle, Merck, Mead Johnson and FMC Corporation. Hodgson is also a corporate director with IGM Financial Inc.

According to the specs for the job, the minimum salary for the deanship is $375,000 a year, plus a “comprehensive benefits package,” subject to annual increases based on performance.


About The Author

John A. Byrne is the founder and editor-in-chief of C-Change Media, publishers of Poets&Quants and four other higher education websites. He has authored or co-authored more than ten books, including two New York Times bestsellers. John is the former executive editor of Businessweek, editor-in-chief of Businessweek. com, editor-in-chief of Fast Company, and the creator of the first regularly published rankings of business schools. As the co-founder of CentreCourt MBA Festivals, he hopes to meet you at the next MBA event in-person or online.