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Dean of Wharton School: Thomas Robertson
July 17, 2007, Volume 54, No. 1


T. Robertson

Thomas S. Robertson, executive faculty director of the Institute for Developing Nations at Emory University and former dean of Emory’s Goizueta Business School, has been named dean of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.

The appointment, effective August 1, was announced by President Amy Gutmann and Provost Ron Daniels.

Dr. Robertson, the Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Marketing at Emory, is an expert in marketing strategy and innovation with extensive international experience in higher education and the business community. He was dean of Goizueta from 1998 to 2004 and is widely credited with building it into one of the strongest schools at Emory, positioning it as a leading international business school.

From 1971 to 1994, Dr. Robertson was a faculty member at Wharton, where he was the Pomerantz Professor of Marketing and chair of the marketing department. He also served as associate dean for executive education and led the effort that built a major conference center on campus, designed an innovative set of new senior-management programs and substantially increased financial contributions.

“Tom is an accomplished academic leader, a seasoned administrator and a highly successful fundraiser who brings a timely vision of international business education and an enthusiastic commitment to academic excellence and diversity,” President Gutmann said. “His deep knowledge of Wharton and extensive experience with business-school leadership make him the ideal candidate to guide the Wharton School toward its goal of becoming the leading creator and provider of management knowledge and education in the world.”

“On behalf of the School’s Board of Overseers and the entire Wharton community around the world, and with the greatest enthusiasm, I welcome Tom Robertson ‘home, again’ to the Wharton School,” Jon M. Huntsman, chair of the Wharton Board of Overseers, said. “Tom played a major role in the dramatic transformation of the Wharton School during the 1980s and led the development of its executive education program. His distinctive international and interdisciplinary vision of business education in the 21st century is a perfect fit for the Wharton School at this point in its history. Already at the top of business education, the Wharton School will grow in eminence and global impact under Tom’s leadership in the years ahead.”

Mr. Huntsman, vice chair of the University’s Board of Trustees, served of counsel to the president during the dean search.

As chair of international strategy for Emory’s president, Dr. Robertson developed and implemented a university-wide plan for internationalization. While dean of Goizueta, he increased the size of the faculty 73 percent, doubled revenues, nearly doubled the school’s endowment, developed new international alliances, spurred major growth in executive-education programs, added a major new building and launched a new Ph.D. program.

“It is such a great privilege to be returning to Wharton,” Dr. Robertson said. “I relish the challenge to help build Penn’s global footprint and to champion Wharton as a force for good in the world. We have outstanding faculty and students and a dedicated staff and are well positioned to create global economic and social value.”

“Emory has benefited greatly from Tom Robertson’s considerable talents in his several roles as dean, faculty member, special presidential assistant for international initiatives and, most recently, executive faculty director of Emory’s new Institute for Developing Nations. Owing to his intellect and experience, we are confident in his ability to contribute powerfully to the mission of our colleagues at Penn’s Wharton School,” Emory President James W. Wagner said.

From 1994 to 1998, Dr. Robertson was Sainsbury Professor and chair of marketing and from 1995 to 1998, deputy dean of the London Business School. Earlier in his career, he was an assistant professor at the Anderson School at the University of California, Los Angeles, and at Harvard Business School.

An expert on marketing strategy and competitive behavior, the diffusion of innovation and consumer behavior—particularly the impact of advertising on children, Dr. Robertson is author, co-author or editor of a dozen books and almost 100 scholarly articles and book chapters.

Dr. Robertson earned his M.A. and Ph.D. in marketing from Northwestern University in 1966 after completing his B.A. at Wayne State University in 1963.

Almanac - July 17, 2007, Volume 54, No. 1