Thomas Robertson will lead the Wharton School as its new dean, Penn President Amy Gutmann and Provost Ron Daniels announced Thursday. As Wharton's 13th dean, Robertson is charged with increasing the school's global presence, diversity and interdisciplinary efforts.
Robertson will come to Penn from Emory University, where he currently is the executive faculty director of the Institute for Developing Nations, and has previously served as dean of the Goizueta Business School.
Robertson, whose appointment is effective Aug. 1, will replace former Dean Patrick Harker, who is leaving Penn for the presidency of the University of Delaware. The announcement of Robertson's appointment caps off a large-scale six-month search for Harker's replacement.
"He has everything we've been looking for," Gutmann said of Robertson. "I give great credit to the search committee. They moved quickly and that enabled the provost and me to move quickly."
Gutmann said that Robertson's achievements in increasing the faculty and upping the endowment at Emory were particularly impressive to the search committee, which was chaired by Eduardo Glandt, dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science.
Though Robertson, 64, has spent the last decade in faculty and administrative positions at Emory and the London Business School, his new position will represent a homecoming of sorts, bringing him back to the campus where he served as a Marketing professor for over 20 years, from 1971 to 1994.
"Having knowledge of Wharton is a big plus," Gutmann said of Robertson's background.
Outlining his goals for his deanship, Robertson said that maintaining and improving the quality of Wharton's faculty, students and staff was his first priority.
Next on his list is increasing Wharton's international presence, Robertson said.
"You don't just compete with American business schools anymore," he said, adding that Wharton may look into building campuses in other countries, as business schools at Columbia University and the University of Chicago have done.
He added that Wharton should "think beyond developed countries."
Within Wharton, Robertson said he would like to increase diversity, starting by getting more women enrolled in the M.B.A. program. He said he also hopes to strengthen Wharton's interdisciplinary ties to other schools at Penn.
As dean, much of Robertson's time will be spent fundraising, and he said he hopes to provide donors with "visionary opportunities" to sponsor students, faculty and programs.
Robertson said that he is thrilled to be returning to Penn after more than a decade away - although he says the Penn he knew is very different from the Penn which exists today.
"Penn is a lot better, and Wharton is a lot better," he said, praising the tenure of Gutmann and that of her predecessor, Judith Rodin. "The University is more international than it was . it feels more diverse than it used to."
Robertson earned his bachelor's of arts at Wayne State University, and his M.A. and Ph.D. at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management. He has also taught at the Harvard Business School and the University of California, Los Angeles.Comments powered by Disqus
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