September 25, 2008

Robert Joss to Step Down As Stanford Business School Dean

Robert L. Joss announced today that he will step down as dean of the Stanford Graduate School of Business at the end of the current academic year. Joss will have served 10 years as dean.

During Joss' tenure, the School has developed a new MBA curriculum and launched construction of a new business school campus aimed at supporting a program that will serve students for the 21st century. When completed, the new campus of 8 buildings around 3 quadrangles is expected to achieve the highest level LEED Platinum certification for environmental sustainability from the U.S. Green Building Council.

"Back in 1999, I never could have imagined how much we would have accomplished through the creativity of our faculty, staff and alumni," said Joss. "I believe we are at a defining moment in the School's history. When future generations look back on this first decade of the century, I hope they will see that we laid the foundation for teaching and learning for the increasingly fast-paced and integrated global economy and for the team-based, cross-cultural nature of management that will characterize the years ahead.

"Our faculty has initiated an MBA curriculum that is more personalized, with more global content, and more about leadership development. It is designed to help students learn and be inspired to become innovative, ethical and insightful leaders. Having just broken ground on what will be a magnificent campus with flexible spaces for increased numbers of seminars, small classes, and leadership exercises, I am confident the team here will improve upon the plans now in place."

"Bob Joss has led the Stanford Graduate School of Business in its evolution to become a 21st century business school," said Stanford University President John L. Hennessy. "The innovative vision for the Business School ranges from new curricula, to greater global impact, to cross-disciplinary collaboration with Stanford's other six schools. Under Bob's leadership the impact of the business school has been greatly magnified, and many generations of students from across the university will benefit. Bob has Stanford's deep gratitude for the contributions he has made."

During Joss' tenure the School:

-- Developed the new MBA curriculum introduced in fall 2007

-- Planned and in August began construction on the new 360,000-square-foot, environmentally sustainable business school campus that is expected to be completed in 2011.

-- Forged important bonds with other schools within Stanford University to encourage greater collaboration among students and faculty. Two new joint degrees, the MBA-MS Environment and Resources and MBA-MA Public Policy, were added to the School's JD-MBA and MBA-MA Education. Faculty developed a new 4-week Summer Institute for Entrepreneurship for non-business graduate students designed to help those in other Stanford schools understand business and startup needs. The program was funded mainly by the Stanford University President's Office to encourage cross-disciplinary learning and real-world problem-solving. New cross-disciplinary MBA courses also were introduced.

-- Energized the alumni and raised significant funds despite the boom and bust of the dot-com era, growing the Business School endowment from $387 million in 1999 to more than $1 billion in 2008.

-- Accepted what is believed to be the largest gift ever to a business school - $105 million from Nike founder and chairman Philip H. Knight, MBA '62, as the naming gift for the new business school campus--The Knight Management Center.

-- Renewed and expanded efforts to recruit world-class research and teaching faculty to the business school, including the addition of an Associate Dean for Faculty Recruiting and Retention.

-- Introduced a new four-week summer business program for undergraduate students and early career participants, the Summer Institute for General Management.

-- Greatly expanded non-degree short-course Executive Education programs for working executives, celebrated the acclaimed Sloan Masters program's 50th anniversary with a record-setting reunion, and began offering custom programs for companies and other organizations.

-- Strengthened support for its leading PhD program which continues its outstanding record of preparing the next generation of leaders in management education.

-- Launched three new academic centers--the Center for Leadership Development and Research, the Center for Social Innovation, and the Center for Global Business and the Economy--that, like the School's Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, created a critical mass of cases, courses and activities in each area.

"The end of this coming academic year will mark the end of my second five-year term appointment," Joss, 67, wrote in an email letter to faculty, staff, students and alumni today. "I remember so well when our third dean, Ernie Arbuckle, finished his term in 1968, saying it was good for the individual and the institution to "re-pot" every 10 years - allowing new leadership, energy, and innovation to emerge. I could not say it any better than Ernie. I will step down as dean next September with the expectation of great new leadership emerging for the School as the University works through the search process."

Stanford Provost John Etchemendy will chair a search committee for the new dean that will commence work later this fall.

"I will be very actively engaged as Dean during this last year, particularly with faculty recruiting, curriculum innovation, alumni engagement, the Stanford Challenge, and the School's campaign priorities," said Joss, who plans to remain as chair of the School's campaign steering committee after becoming dean emeritus.

One undertaking that also will have a high priority during the dean's remaining tenure is construction of the School's new campus, to be built on Serra Street across from the Schwab Residential Center that houses MBA students and Executive Education participants.

Joss was no stranger to the Business School when he took the deanship in 1999. He was a part of what is now the Sloan Master's Program, and earned his MBA in 1967 before receiving his PhD in 1970. He went on from Stanford to work in Washington D.C. as a White House Fellow and deputy to the assistant secretary for economic policy at the U.S. Treasury department before joining Wells Fargo Bank in 1971. He held a variety of posts at the financial institution, rising to vice chairman in 1985. He left Wells Fargo to become CEO and managing director of Australia's Westpac Banking Corporation in 1993, where he was credited with overseeing a major turnaround at Australia's oldest company and one of its most important institutions. At Westpac, Joss refocused the bank strategically, directed its return to financial health and strong performance, and restructured the organization's culture to emphasize teamwork, customer focus, open communication, and community support.

After Westpac, the deanship was a compelling opportunity for Joss, who had once considered a career in academia. Calling on his experience as a manager and business leader, Joss has often referred to management as "a noble calling, as important as medicine or the law." Most people around the world either work in or have their lives impacted by managed organizations. Individual livelihoods, community quality of life, stock prices, and city tax revenues depend on how well those organizations are managed, he said, emphasizing the shortage of good management in both developed countries and in burgeoning economies like India and China. Joss said his managerial experience gave him a greater appreciation for the Business School's relevance and importance to modern society.