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Thurow Steps Down at Sloan

By Brian Rosenberg
Contributing Editor

Lester C. Thurow, dean of the Sloan School of Management since 1987, announced Monday that he will resign effective July 1.

Provost Mark S. Wrighton said Thurow informed him and President Charles M. Vest of his decision to resign at the end of last week. Wrighton said Thurow's decision did not surprise him. "When I became provost, he indicated that he had promised only five years of his life to the post [of dean], and this summer would have begun his sixth year."

"Certainly I would have liked for him to stay longer, but I understand that only so much of one's career can be dedicated to administration," Wrighton added.

Wrighton said he is beginning to review names of possible members of the committee that will choose Thurow's successor. He said that while the committee will be largely made up of faculty members, he hopes to "have some student input as well."

Vest, Wrighton Praise Work

Both Vest and Wrighton lavished praise on Thurow's work as dean. "Under his leadership the school has developed extensive international activities consistent with the globalization of business."

"Through the Leaders for Manufacturing Program, he has led the school to reconceptualize much of management education for the decades ahead... He has been extraordinarily effective in his communications to business and policy leaders and the broader public," Wrighton continued.

Wrighton said Thurow was "exemplary in bringing diversity to the Sloan faculty, attracting many fine women and men to join its ranks. Under Dean Thurow's leadership, the Sloan School has launched initiatives in internationalization in Singapore, Taiwan, and Europe."

"Most recently, Dean Thurow has been a key contributor in developing new plans for expansion of facilities. He has been a wonderful contributor, and incredibly energetic in Academic Council. I credit him with a lot of good," Wrighton said.

Thurow was out of town earlier this week and could not be reached for comment. Tech Talk reported that he plans to take a sabbatical year to "climb one more mountain," after which he will return to the Sloan faculty.

Thurow has written several books, including Head to Head: Coming Economic Battles Among Japan, Europe, and America (1992), The Zero-Sum Solution: Building a World-Class American Economy (1985), Dangerous Currents: The State of Economics (1983), and The Zero-Sum Society (1980).

Sloan students expressed a variety of opinions on Thurow's departure. Jee Y. Ahn '93 said she was "kind of bummed when she heard the news. He's a really good dean as far as raising money, and he's brought a lot of good publicity to the school, but I think the general consensus is that he's not that interactive with students -- most undergraduates don't see him much."

Olivier R. Ledoit G said he was surprised and puzzled by the announcement. "I'd like to know exactly why he resigned," he said. "I don't think they'll be able to find anyone with his stature to fill the position. It will be very hard to replace him with someone as well known and respected. I'm disappointed now, but when they announce that they've replaced him with someone I've never heard of, I'll be even more disappointed," he said.

Mary E. Herndon G, a biology student who protested the November decision clearing Professor of Management Gabriel R. Bitran of sexual harassment, said "harassment victims will not be missing him." She didn't believe that the case had anything to do with Thurow's departure, saying, "I don't think he has the sensitivity for that to matter to him."