Leonard A. Schlesinger became the 12th president of Babson College on July 1, 2008--bringing to the College a blend of leadership experience in academia and industry, particularly in the retail and service sectors.
He came to Babson from Limited Brands, based in Columbus, Ohio, where he served in executive positions from 1999–2007, most recently as Vice Chairman and Chief Operating Officer. From 1985–1988, he was Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Au Bon Pain.
His academic career includes twenty years at Harvard Business School where he served as the George Fisher Baker Jr. Professor of Business Administration, leading MBA and executive education programs. Courses he taught include organizational behavior, human resource management, general management, and service management. President Schlesinger is well-known for his pioneering research and publications on the “Service Profit Chain.” He also was architect and chair of Harvard Business School’s MBA Essential Skills and Foundations programs. After his time at Harvard Business School, he served as a Professor of Sociology and Public Policy and Senior Vice President and Counselor to the President at Brown University.
President Schlesinger has lectured and consulted on service quality, customer satisfaction, and organizational change for over 200 major corporations, non-profit organizations, governments and international leadership organizations around the world. He was an active leader in the design and development of the “Work-Out!” initiative at General Electric and the “Reinventing Government” process for the U.S. Department of Labor.
His writings on organizational management have been widely published. He is the author or co-author of eleven books, including 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), and has written over 40 articles for academic audiences as well as for The New York Times, Fast Company, and Harvard Business Review. He has served on the editorial boards of four major academic journals and has published numerous case studies on management issues that have sold well over one million copies. He also has completed three video series on service management issues.
President Schlesinger currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in Massachusetts (AICUM), a member of the Board of Directors of the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), Non-Executive Chairman of the Board of Unreal Brands, Inc. and a Director of Invoice Exchange, LLC, a member of the Corporation of the Winsor School, and is a member of the President’s Council of the Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering. He also serves as an advisory council member of Goldman Sachs' 10,000 Small Businesses Initiative, and is a member of the Council on Competitiveness and the Council on Foreign Relations.
President Schlesinger holds a Doctor of Business Administration from Harvard Business School, an MBA from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Arts in American Civilization from Brown University. His wife, Phyllis, is a long time member of the Babson faculty specializing in organizational behavior with a prior faculty appointment at The Ohio State University’s Fisher School of Business. They have three daughters.