CEOs, Faculty Join in Search For MIT Sloan Dean

MIT’s Sloan School of Management is opening a search for a new dean to succeed Richard L. Schmalensee ’65, who is scheduled to step down in June after nine years at the helm of the business school.

A search committee of outside business leaders and Sloan faculty members has retained two professional search firms: Heidrick & Struggles, which recruits top executives for corporations, and Isaacson, Miller, which specializes in recruiting for nonprofit organizations.

Committee members completed a job description for the Sloan dean last week and circulated it within the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It calls for a dean who, among other things, will “lead the faculty and other key stakeholders in the development of a strategy for 21st century management education and research at MIT Sloan.”

They will begin sharing the job description more widely this week, targeting potential outside candidates, search committee cochairmen Lawrence K. Fish and Gabriel R. Bitran PhD ’75 said in an interview.

Members of the search panel, which has been meeting weekly since December, have already compiled a list of about 100 candidates from within Sloan and MIT and from outside the Institute, said Fish, chairman and chief executive of Citizens Financial Group Inc. Other high-powered business leaders on the panel include John S. Reed, former Citicorp chairman, and Cara Carleton “Carly” Fiorina, former president and chief executive of Hewlett-Packard Co.

“We haven’t limited our thinking to an academic or nonacademic, a domestic or a nondomestic candidate,” Fish said.

Schmalensee, who disclosed his plans last fall to return to teaching, led Sloan through the past decade’s technology boom and bust and sharpened the school’s focus on global business and the management of high-technology and life-sciences companies.

Schmalensee has raised $220 million and launched a $142 million building initiative for the Sloan campus. Sloan is breaking ground this spring on construction of a new 209,000-square-foot main classroom and administration building on Memorial Drive in Cambridge.

Along with the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, Sloan is one of the few elite business schools in the United States offering an undergraduate program, as well as a two-year master’s of business administration degree and executive education programs. The school has 96 full-time faculty members and 1,000 students.

MIT president Susan Hockfield named a search committee of business leaders led by Fish and a search committee of faculty members led by Bitran, a Sloan professor of management. At their first meeting in November, Fish and Bitran decided to merge the panels into one committee that would conduct the search jointly.

With construction soon to begin on the new campus and the school moving forward with Schmalensee’s initiatives, Sloan is well positioned for the new dean, Bitran said. Among the goals for the next dean will be strengthening Sloan’s ties with the rest of MIT, perhaps expanding its joint degree programs with other MIT schools, and directing its education and research toward new sectors, like alternative energy, a field Hockfield has identified as a focus for all of MIT.

“We are becoming more and more focused on actions that can have a strong impact on society,” Bitran said. “For example, the energy effort at MIT is one that is tackling a very important issue. You will see a lot more integration with the institute, with Sloan working more closely with the engineering and sciences departments in the institute.”

Fish said the search committee is looking for candidates who can represent Sloan externally, through fund-raising and speaking out on management education, and can, as well, build bridges within MIT.

“We need the whole package: someone who can work in an academic environment and who can relate to the people who practice what we teach,” he said.

“This is a major, powerful business school in the heart of one of the elite universities in the world,” Fish concluded. “We’ll have no shortage of strong candidates.”