Erika H. James Named Wharton Dean

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Erika H. James. Photo courtesy University Communications.

In February Penn President Amy Gutmann and Provost Wendell Pritchett Gr’97 announced that Erika H. James would be the next dean of the Wharton School. James will be the first woman and the first person of color to serve in that position. She’ll begin her new role on July 1, succeeding Geoffrey Garrett, who announced last year that he would be moving on to become dean of USC’s Marshall School of Business [“Gazetteer,” Sep|Oct 2019].

Gutmann called James “exceptionally well prepared to lead Wharton into the next exciting chapter of its storied history,” praising her as an “award-winning scholar and teacher and a strong, proven leader” who has been a “passionate and visible champion of the power of business and business education to positively transform communities locally, nationally, and globally.”

James was previously dean of Emory University’s Goizueta Business School, where she was credited with increasing the faculty by 25 percent and redesigning the undergraduate business curriculum, among other advances. Earlier she was senior associate dean for executive education at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business. She serves on the SurveyMonkey board and the Graduate Management Admissions Council and has been included in Black Enterprise magazine’s list of Top 10 Women of Power in Education and Ebony’s Power 100.

“Erika has consistently and constructively drawn upon her own scholarship in the areas of leadership development, organizational behavior, gender and racial diversity, and crisis leadership, applying her own insights into human behavior to foster a work culture that allows people to thrive personally and professionally,” Pritchett said in the announcement.

“This is an exciting time to be in business education,” James said. “The scope and platform of the Wharton School provides an opportunity to create far reaching impact for students, scholars, and the business community.”

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