Baker Foundation Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School, Harvard University

Leonard A. Schlesinger is Baker Foundation Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School (HBS). As an educator and business leader, he has lectured and consulted on strategy, service quality, customer satisfaction, entrepreneurship, human resources and organizational change for over 200 major corporations, non-profit organizations, governments, and international leadership organizations around the world. He was a leader in the design and development of the “Work-Out!” initiative at General Electric and the “Reinventing Government” process for the US Department of Labor.

Throughout his career, Dr. Schlesinger has transitioned between educational and business settings. He was Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Au Bon Pain from 1985-1988, and held key positions including Vice Chairman and Chief Operating Officer at Limited Brands, now L Brands, from 1999-2007. He was President of Babson College from 2008-2013 and was Professor of Sociology and Public Policy and Senior Vice President and Counselor to the President at Brown University from 1998-1999. Schlesinger was a faculty member at HBS from 1978-1985, 1988-1998 and returned in 2013 to teach in the MBA and executive education programs. He also served as head of the Service Management Interest Group, Senior Associate Dean for External Relations, and Chair of the School’s 1993-94 Leadership and Learning curriculum review and redesign process.

He has published widely on entrepreneurship, service management and organizational management. His recent book, What Great Service Leaders Know and Do: Creating Breakthroughs in Service Firms, was written with HBS colleagues Jim Heskett and Earl Sasser (Berrett-Koehler, 2015). He is author or co-author of 12 books, including Own Your Future (AMACOM, 2014), Just Start: Take action, Embrace uncertainty, Create the future (Harvard Business School Press, 2012), Action Trumps Everything (Black Ink Press, 2010), The Value Profit Chain (Free Press, 2003), The Service Profit Chain (Free Press, 1997) and The Real Heroes of Business … and Not a CEO among Them (Doubleday Currency, 1994). He has written numerous articles for academic audiences as well as for The New York Times, Fast Company, and Harvard Business Review, and served on the editorial boards of five major academic journals. He has published numerous management case studies that have sold well over one million copies, and completed a three video series on service management.

Schlesinger currently serves as Lead Independent Director of Demandware, Inc., Director of Viewpost LLC and Restoration Hardware, Inc. (Chair of Compensation Committee), Trustee of Wheaton College (MA), member of the Corporation of the Winsor School, and member of the President’s Council of the Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering. He serves on the advisory boards of Startup Institute, The College for Social Innovation, Datapoint Capital, Clip-File, and the Emory-Georgia Healthcare Innovation Program. He is also an advisory council member of Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Small Businesses Initiative, and a member of both the Council on Competitiveness and the Council on Foreign Relations.

Schlesinger holds a Doctor of Business Administration from Harvard Business School, an MBA from Columbia University, a Bachelor of Arts in American Civilization from Brown University and an Honorary Doctor of Laws from Babson College.


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