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Wharton dean Geoffrey Garrett will leave Penn to serve as dean of the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business.

Garrett will assume the role on July 1, 2020 and succeed former dean Jim Ellis, who held the position for over a decade. The Los Angeles Times reported in December that USC removed Ellis due to his handling of sexual harassment and discrimination complaints. 

“I wasn’t involved in any of that, and I don’t have insight into it,” Garrett told the LA Times. “I respect Jim Ellis immensely, and it’s clear from a distance that he did some wonderful things in his time as dean.”

Garrett told the LA Times that his decision to leave was made partly because of family reasons, as his wife is from Northern California, and because of the “diversity and dynamism of the LA economy and its place on the Pacific Rim.” 

“Professionally, the obvious thing to say about Marshall is they’ve been on an incredible upward ascent for a couple of decades, and I want to be a part of that," Garrett told the LA Times.

As dean, Garrett oversaw the launch of the Penn Wharton China Center in Beijing and saw record enrollments in the MBA Program for Executives in San Francisco, according to Penn Today. 

“Geoff has done an absolutely superb job in leading Wharton for the past five years and in helping firmly establish Wharton as the world’s leading business school,” Gutmann told Penn Today. 

"He has expanded the Wharton standing faculty to more than 240 members and increased its breadth, depth, diversity, and eminence," Gutmann said. 

Before starting his term in 2014, Garrett served as a Wharton faculty member and a dean of the UCLA International Institute, the University of Sydney, and the University of New South Wales, according to Penn Today.

“We are adopted Angelenos — and in a personal sense, it’s a homecoming for me,” Garrett told the LA Times. 

Marshall professor Gareth James will serve as interim dean beginning July 1, according to Poets and Quants, until Garrett assumes the position in 2020.

The University will form a committee of faculty, students, and alumni to advise the selection of the next dean of Wharton, according to Penn Today. Executive Vice President of Penn Health System and Perelman School of Medicine Dean J. Larry Jameson will chair the committee.