Poets&Quants’ 10 Biggest Scandals Of The Decade by: Marc Ethier on August 26, 2020 | 20,492 Views August 26, 2020 Copy Link Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Email Share on LinkedIn Share on WhatsApp Share on Reddit Stanford Graduate School of Business Dean Garth Saloner announced his departure in 2015; he formally stepped down as dean in 2016. 1. Stanford Confidential: The Scandal That Took Down A Business School Dean It’s been five years since we broke the news that then-dean of the Stanford Graduate School of Business, Garth Saloner, was in an ongoing legal battle involving two faculty members, one of whom he was having an affair with and the other — her husband — who contended that the two conspired to railroad him out of a job. The story and ensuing uproar led to Saloner’s resignation after seven years as dean of what was then, and is again today, the No. 1 business school in the world. ddd “Love Triangle Brings Down Stanford Business School Dean,” screamed The Daily Beast. “Stanford Business School Dean Resigns Amid Affair Scandal,” blasted The Daily Mail. “Stanford Business School’s Dean Announces Resignation After Being Accused Of Sleeping With A Fired Professor’s Wife,” was how Business Insider put it. But it was Poets&Quants that broke the story, leading to Saloner’s resignation and a messy controversy that wouldn’t be resolved for another two years. The wrongful termination lawsuit by Professor James A. Phills accused Saloner of railroading him out of the business school while sleeping with his wife, Professor Deborah Gruenfeld. Phills and Gruenfeld had arrived at Stanford at the same time in April 2000, but Phills’ teaching position at Stanford was terminated in 2015 because, the school contended, he failed to return to his employment after the university had granted him “multiple leaves of absence for lucrative opportunities in Silicon Valley, including leaves to work at Apple Inc., beyond what is normally allowed under university policy.” Phills alleged a more sinister motive. “Saloner and Plaintiff’s wife Deborah Gruenfeld, who also happens to be Saloner’s subordinate, carried out a clandestine intimate relationship while Saloner was making decisions about Phills’ employment and home loans,” Phills’s lawyers claim in a May 2015 court filing. The dean and the university “acted maliciously, fraudulently, despicably, and oppressively.” Following exposure of the salacious details at the center of the complaint, Saloner announced his intention to step down at the end of the 2016 school year, writing in a statement to the Stanford GSB community that he didn’t want the scandal to hurt the school where he had earned his Ph.D. in 1982 and served on the faculty since 1990. “As many of you know, the university and I have been vigorously defending a baseless and protracted lawsuit related to a contentious divorce between a current and former member of our faculty,” he wrote. “I have become increasingly concerned that the ongoing litigation and growing media interest will distract all of you from the important work that you are doing and unfairly impact this stellar school’s deserved reputation.” Saloner was partly vindicated nearly two years later, in August 2017, when Superior Court Judge Theodore C. Zayner granted his and Stanford’s request for summary judgment. Zayner said that Phills had “failed to show that he was subject to discrimination, was wrongfully terminated or was subject to harassment.” Phills continues to work as a professor at Apple University in Cupertino, California, the training facility for Apple Inc. employees. Saloner is Stanford GSB’s Botha-Chan professor of economics, recently leading the school’s 2020 strategy process that provided the foundation for advances in global programs, including Stanford Ignite. Gruenfeld also remains on the GSB faculty, as the Joseph McDonald professor and professor of organizational behavior. For Poets&Quants‘ complete coverage of the scandal, see the links below: BEHIND ALL THE SORDID HEADLINES, AN FAQ THAT SHOWS THE SCANDAL IS ABOUT MORE THAN SEX GSB STAFFERS CONDEMN THE LEADERSHIP OF DEAN SALONER THE ‘ROCK STAR’ PROFESSOR AT THE CENTER OF THE STANFORD SCANDAL GSB SCANDAL: A NON-ISSUE FOR APPLICANTS DEAN GARTH SALONER ABRUPTLY RESIGNS STANFORD GSB WINS KEY LEGAL BATTLE AGAINST PROFESSOR Previous PagePage 5 of 5 1 2 3 4 5 Comments or questions about this article? Email us.