|From the President and Provost
April 23, 2013,
Volume 59, No. 30
Transition at the Wharton School
We are writing to let you know that Tom Robertson has announced his intention not to seek reappointment as Dean of the Wharton School at the end of his term on June 30, 2014. Later in the spring, we will name a consultative committee to advise us on the selection of his successor.
Since being named Dean in 2007, Tom has been a visionary leader of Wharton, articulating and implementing his strong belief that “business can and must be a force for good in the world,” advancing society by creating new wealth and economic opportunity for all people, in developing regions as well as in the developed economies. To this end, he has institutionalized three strategic foundations—Globalization, Innovation, and Social Impact—to ensure that Wharton remains at the forefront of internationalization, new educational technologies and the enhancement of economic and social welfare through the creation of new knowledge.
Under Tom’s leadership, the Wharton School exceeded its Making History campaign goal of $550 million by $55 million; added 18 new standing faculty members; and developed and implemented an Action Plan for Faculty Excellence Through Diversity. He oversaw a comprehensive, faculty-led rethinking of the MBA curriculum, which will sustain Wharton’s leadership in this essential area for years to come. He established a “Semester in San Francisco” within the MBA Program, providing 50 MBA students with the opportunity to study for one semester in San Francisco—where he also relocated the Wharton School’s San Francisco campus to new space in 2012. Tom enhanced the undergraduate business curriculum by providing a capstone opportunity and expanding the Wharton International Program for short-term abroad experiences. Under Tom’s leadership, Wharton completed renovations on Vance Hall and Steinberg Hall-Dietrich Hall, and Wharton will open a new academic tower in Steinberg Hall-Dietrich Hall later this spring.
The Wharton School has also undertaken major initiatives in lifelong education, responding to the need of its alumni to access educational interventions as their careers progress; public policy, bridging the gap between business and government; and global engagement, reflecting the internationalization of business and finance. Tom led efforts to design and implement Global Modular Courses, offered in eleven countries throughout the world; returned the Wharton Executive Education Programs to pre-recession enrollment levels; established the Wharton Public Policy Initiative; led efforts to establish the Penn-Wharton China Center and increased Wharton’s and Penn’s presence in China; and established a post-doctoral program under the aegis of the Wharton Doctoral Programs.
Over the next 15 months, Tom will continue to advance his initiatives, while helping us to plan for a smooth transition in the School’s leadership. During this period, we will have ample opportunities to thank him for his extraordinary contributions to Wharton and Penn.
Before leaving Wharton in 1994 for senior administrative posts elsewhere, including six years as Dean of Emory University’s Goizueta School of Business, Tom was Pomerantz Professor of Marketing and chair of the marketing department. During his earlier tenure as associate dean for Executive Education, he led the effort to build the Steinberg Conference Center; designed an innovative set of new senior management programs; and substantially increased financial contributions. An expert in marketing strategy and competitive behavior, the diffusion of innovation, and consumer behavior, Tom is author, co-author or editor of a dozen books and almost 100 scholarly articles and book chapters. He has won numerous awards for his scholarship and lectured widely in North and Central America, Europe, Asia and Australia. He has also served as a marketing strategy consultant to a number of international companies, including Procter & Gamble, IBM, Roche Laboratories, T. Rowe Price, Nestle, ScottishPower, Standard Life, Merck, British Airways and Verizon.
In short, Tom has an extraordinary record of faculty and leadership experience, and we applaud his work as Dean and greatly respect his desire to return to teaching and research after almost 20 years of business school leadership. We look forward to celebrating his Deanship and welcoming him back as a full-time member of the Wharton School’s faculty.
—Amy Gutmann, President
—Vincent Price, Provost