New Sloan Dean Selected From Wharton School Administration

MIT officials have tapped an outsider, David C. Schmittlein, deputy dean of the elite Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, to lead MIT’s Sloan School of Management.

Schmittlein, 52, a native of Northampton who’s taught marketing at Wharton for nearly three decades, will start Oct. 15 as the eighth dean of the 55-year-old Sloan School and the first since 1966 to be recruited from outside MIT.

The school is scheduled to publicly disclose the hire Tuesday. It notified Sloan faculty members and students late Monday.

The new dean replaces Richard Schmalensee, who stepped down in June to return to teaching after nine years at the helm of Sloan. The appointment comes three months after the school broke ground on a 210,000-square-foot headquarters building facing the Charles River in Cambridge amid plans to expand its size and raise its profile.

“I do think there are great opportunities to make Sloan more visible and more deeply engaged with business leaders,” Schmittlein said. “And doing that will help to elevate Sloan.”

Sloan has long been known for its strong master’s of business administration program - especially in the management of technology companies. But it has sometimes been overshadowed by larger institutions like Harvard Business School and Wharton, which are considered magnets for Wall Street recruiters.

Sloan, with 101 faculty members and 750 full-time MBA students, is about half the size of Wharton, which has 212 faculty members and 1,500 full-time MBA students. Schmittlein said he would like to increase Sloan’s faculty by at least 10 percent, and the student body by more than 10 percent, as the campus expands. The building under construction, to be named for 1967 graduate William A. Porter, who with his wife gave $25 million, is scheduled to open in 2010.

“This is a time of enormous opportunity for MIT and MIT Sloan — a new building, an increase in institute-wide initiatives, and an expanded global reach,” Susan Hockfield, the president of MIT, said in an e-mail. “The search process included both internal and external candidates, and it is our good fortune that David Schmittlein shared our excitement for the opportunities in front of us.”

Provost L. Rafael Reif, who supervises MIT’s deans, said Schmittlein was on “a very short list” of candidates submitted to him and Hockfield by a search committee of business leaders and Sloan faculty cochaired by Lawrence K. Fish, chairman of Citizens Financial Group Inc., and Gabriel R. Bitran, a Sloan management professor. The past five deans of the Sloan School all have been promoted from within the institute.

“Bringing in someone from outside is tricky because that person really has to fit it,” Reif said. “David brings administrative experience at one of the top business schools in the world, and he’s done a lot of thinking about the future of management education. It’s very important to take a fresh look at where the Sloan School is today and where it’s going. Someone like David can push it to the next level.”

At the Wharton School in Philadelphia, where he was deputy dean from 2000 to 2007, Schmittlein had oversight for a range of academic programs and collaborations with businesses and other business schools, including schools in India and China. He served briefly as Wharton’s interim dean last month before Thomas S. Robertson took over. Schmittlein, who had been the number two administrator, said he interviewed for the Wharton dean’s job but ultimately removed his name from consideration.

Schmittlein said his goals at Sloan are to expand innovation in its educational programs, strengthening the focus on finance and other areas; boost collaboration between students, faculty, business leaders, staffers, and the broader MIT community; and raise the visibility of the management school’s research and academic programs among business leaders globally.