Jeffrey A. Sonnenfeld Speaker & Booking Information

Associate Dean for Executive Programs at Yale University's School of Management
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Jeffrey Sonnenfeld is the Senior Associate Dean for Executive Programs at Yale University's School of Management and the Lester Crown Professor of Management Practice as well as the Founder, President & CEO of the Chief Executive Leadership Institute of the Yale School of Management. He spent ten years as a professor at the Harvard Business School.

Jeffrey Sonnenfeld is the first management scholar to be invited to ring the Opening Bell of both the New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ exchange. Named by, Business Week magazine one of the world's "ten most influential business school professors" and by directorship named him as one of the "100 leading figures in corporate governance," he won the 2005 Best Paper Award from the Academy of Management and the Academy of Management's Award for Best Research in social business. He was awarded the "Outstanding Educator Award" in 1996 from the American Society for Training and Development, the nation's professional association for corporate educators. Jeffrey Sonnenfeld has published seven books and many articles appearing in such journals as the Harvard Business Review and Sloan Management Review as well as Administrative Sciences Quarterly, the Academy of Management Journal, Social Forces, Human Relations, and The American Psychologist covering such areas as: chief executive leadership; corporate governance; CEO succession; executive careers; and the management of corporate social performance.

Dr. Jeffrey Sonnenfeld received his AB, MBA, and DBA from Harvard University.  He has been the recipient of:  the Irwin Award for Social Research in Industry; AT&T's Hawthorne Fellowship for Social Research in Industry; the John P. Whitehead Faculty Fellowship; and, on two occasions, Emory's "Outstanding Educator Award."  He was awarded the "Outstanding Educator Award" in 1996 from the American Society for Training and Development, the nation's professional association for corporate educators. 

Sonnenfeld has published five books and numerous articles in the areas of career management, executive training and development, and the management of corporate social performance.  His articles have appeared in the Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Review, American Psychologist, Social Forces, Organizational Dynamics, Human Resource Management, The Journal of Organizational Behavior, Harvard Business Review, and Human Relations.  He has served on the editorial boards of the Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Review, Journal of Organizational Behavior, and Organizational Dynamics.  He has served as a member of the board of governors of the Academy of Management, and recently chaired The Blue Ribbon Commission on CEO Succession for the National Association of Corporate Directors. 

Sonnenfeld has served on the board of directors of:  The Academy of Management; the AARP; Norwegian Cruise Lines; US Franchising; Moseley Securities Corporation; National Council on the Aging; Transmedica-CBS Inc.; Magellan; U.S.  Franchising; and the Hyatt Executive Travel Council.  Currently, he serves as a director on the boards of The; CMD Services; and the President's Advisory Council of the American Cancer Society.

A frequent speaker before executive audiences, his consulting work and research activities reflect a continued interest in chief executive succession and board governance along with corporate culture and strategic change. A regular commentator on PBS's "Nightly Business Report," and NPR's "Marketplace," he is a frequently cited leadership expert appearing on CNBC, CNN, FoxNews, ABC. NBC, and CBS as well as in such publications as: The New York Times; The Wall Street Journal; Business Week; Fortune; US News & World Report; Newsweek; The Financial Times; and The Economist.

Sonnenfeld's book, The Hero's Farewell: What Happens When CEOs Retire (Oxford University Press) was designated as "the standout new management book of the year" in 1988 by Business Week and it earned the executive search community's "Golden Baton Award."


What Makes Great Boards Great: Governance Reforms Beyond The Cliches

This talk builds on my prominent Harvard Business Review article which explores the conventional wisdom regarding board reform to critique many of the prevailing fixes being sold by governance peddlers and instead, presents a research grounded set of true ways of improving board diligence. In short, the talk blends current business events, regulatory issues, academic research, and best practice of major well-governed firms to reveal the key qualities of the social dynamics of a well functioning board.

Charisma Still Counts: The Essence Of Successful Top Leadership

While it has become popular to bash the boss with critiques of pampered celebrity CEOs, we are in danger of too hastily dismissing the transcendent qualities of great leaders. There are four key elements that characterize genuine charismatic leadership and disingenuous backslapping salesmanship is not one of the.  This talk discusses the research behind and actual profiles of great leaders which show that the ways meaning is made and hope is offered by leaders goes beyond the technical elements of industry expertise alone.  Video clips and vignettes are used to describe the impact of inspirational leaders in providing a sense of collective purpose and common identity to an enterprise.

Triamphant Tragedies: Tips On Overcoming Adversity

This talk examines the sources of failure and the silver lining revealed through successful career resilience.  Throughout business history, not to mention the real careers of political figures and the legendary trajectories of folk heroes, failure has been a critical stage in the development of the heroic persona.  This talk reveals the key sources of failure and the five paths CEOs have taken to successfully  reestablish their careers and reputations after profound setbacks.

The Hero's Farewell: The Neglected Secret of the Succession Equation

This work, based on my best-selling book which studied the dangerous impact of the exit of the reigning incumbent. The lessons which are drawn CEO succession can apply to pathologies which can undermine succession at any level. The sources of the heroic mindset are revealed: heroic stature and heroic mission along with five widely discussed departure styles and their impact: monarchs; ambassadors; governors; and generals.

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