Srikant Datar appointed Dean of Harvard Business School

Professor Srikant Datar, new dean of Harvard Business School starting Jan. 1. 2021. Photo:

A professor of Indian origin has been appointed to head the prestigious Harvard Business School.

According to a Harvard Gazette report Oct. 9, 2020, Srikant Datar, the Arthur Lowes Dickinson Professor of Business Administration and the senior associate dean for University affairs at Harvard Business School (HBS), will takeover as Dean starting Jan. 1, 2021.

Datar becomes the 11th dean in the 112 year history of HBS, and replaces another Indian-American, Nitin Nohria, who has been dean over the last ten years. Nohria announced last November he would quit the deanship at the end of June 2020, but agreed to continue through this December because of the pandemic.

Datar is a graduate from the University of Bombay.

“Srikant Datar is an innovative educator, a distinguished scholar, and a deeply experienced academic leader,” Harvard President Larry Bacow is quoted saying when announcing the appointment.

Describing Datar as “a leading thinker about the future of business education,” Bacow said the Indian-American professor played an essential role in HBS’s creative response to the challenges posed by the COVID-19, pandemic.

Datar has been at Harvard for nearly 25 years.

Apart from his vast experience, Bacow said, “He is also a warm, generous, and thoughtful colleague and mentor.”

Some key positions Datar has held since joining the HBS faculty in 1996, include as the School’s senior associate dean responsible for faculty recruiting, for faculty development, for executive education, for research, and currently for University affairs. Since 2015 h has been the faculty chair of the Harvard Innovation Labs, or i-lab, writing and speaking extensively on the future of business education.

He is in the process of “envisioning and implementing the innovative hybrid teaching and learning model” that HBS has adopted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Datar noted HBS’ “remarkable” legacy, but noted, “Yet the events of the past year have hastened our passage to an unforeseen future.”

“I look forward to working with colleagues and friends of the School — including throughout Harvard, in our Boston community, and around the world — to realize our mission in what undoubtedly will be an exciting new era,” Datar is quoted saying.

After graduating from the University of Bombay in 1973, Datar went on to receive a postgraduate diploma in business management from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad. He then procured master’s degrees in statistics (1983) and economics (1984) and a Ph.D. in business (1985), all from Stanford University.

An assistant professor and then associate professor at the Carnegie Mellon Graduate School of Industrial Administration from 1984 to 1989, Datar went on to serve from 1989 to 1996, at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, where he rose to become the Littlefield Professor of Accounting and Management and was recognized with the school’s Distinguished Teaching Award.

Datar is considered “a prominent thinker and innovator” on the future of business education and has numerous articles in scholarly journals on different aspects of management, and traveled globally to present his research.




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