Skip to main content
Jeffrey A. Sonnenfeld

Jeffrey A. Sonnenfeld

Senior Associate Dean for Leadership Studies & Lester Crown Professor in the Practice of Management

Jeffrey Sonnenfeld is currently the Senior Associate Dean for Leadership Studies and Lester Crown Professor in Management Practice at the Yale School of Management, as well as founder and president of the Chief Executive Leadership Institute, a nonprofit educational and research institute focused on CEO leadership and corporate governance. He previously served as full tenured professor at Emory's Goizueta Business School for a decade and a professor at the Harvard Business School for a decade.

Professor Sonnenfeld's related research has been published in 100 scholarly articles which appeared in the leading academic journals in management such as Administrative Sciences Quarterly, the Academy of Management Journal, the Academy of Management Review, the Journal of Organizational Behavior, Social Forces, Human Relations, and Human Resource Management. He has also authored eight books, including The Hero's Farewell, an award-winning study of CEO succession, and another best seller, Firing Back, a study on leadership resilience in the face of adversity.

Professor Sonnenfeld’s work is regularly cited by the general media in such outlets as: BusinessWeek, Forbes, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Newsweek, Time, the Economist, the Financial Times, the Washington Post, CBS, MSNBC, CNN, FOX, NBC, ABC as well as PBS, and he is a staff contributor for CNBC and a staff columnist for FORTUNE, TIME, Chief Executive, and Corporate Board Member.

Sonnenfeld was recognized by Poets & Quants Magazine as the 2022 Professor of the Year in recognition of his high-profile efforts to catalyze the historic exits from Russia of over 1,000+ global businesses after the invasion of Ukraine, and was named to Worth Magazine’s “Worthy 100 Leaders”, an annual global listing of the most influential leaders across society. Sonnenfeld received the 2023 Greatest Impact on Corporate Boards award by Corporate Board Member magazine, and received the Academy of Management's 2023 Distinguished Scholar Practitioner Award. 

Sonnenfeld has advised the White House, U.S. State Department, U.S. Treasury Department, and Council of Economic Advisers on Russian economic sanctions and business retreats and has testified to the U.S. Congress; in addition, he has been profiled by various media outlets including TIME, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Washington Post, and Business Insider. BusinessWeek listed Sonnenfeld as one of the world’s 10 most influential business school professors and Directorship magazine has listed him among the 100 most influential figures in corporate governance.

He is the first academician to have rung the opening bells of both the New York Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq Stock Exchange having done so ten times. Professor Sonnenfeld earned the 2018 Ellis Island award from the US Ellis Island Foundation. He was Harvard’s first John Whitehead Faculty Fellow and won outstanding educator awards at Yale, Emory and the American Society for Training and Development.

He is now a member of the board of Lennar, the leading American homebuilder, as well as IEX, Atlas Merchant Capital, and the Ellis Island Honor Society. Professor Sonnenfeld was appointed by Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont to serve as co-chair of Advance CT, where he helped lead the state’s economic development, including attracting and retaining leading global businesses and developing the state’s workforce. Sonnenfeld also serves on the Board of Directors of Connecticut Innovations, which is focused on building the innovation and business ecosystem within the state of Connecticut.


  • DBA, Harvard University
  • MBA, Harvard University
  • AB, Harvard University


The hero's farewell: What happens when chief executives retire

J. Sonnenfeld
New York: Oxford University Press


  • Co-chair, Advance CT
  • Trustee, Committee for Economic Development
  • 2018 Ellis Island award from the US Ellis Island Foundation
  • Business Week’s Ten Most Influential Business School Professors
  • Rang Opening Bell of the Nasdaq Stock Exchange, 2006, 2008
  • Rang Opening Bell of the New York Stock Exchange Directorship Magazine’s 100 most Influential Figures in Corporate Governance, 2007, 2008
  • Academy of Management Award for the Best Article of 2005 Stand Out New Management Book of the Year, Business Week
  • Outstanding Contributions to Executive Education, The American Society of Training and Development,
  • Outstanding Educator Award, Emory University
  • Distinguished Innovation in US Management Education, Sacred Heart University and Connecticut Governor John Rowland
  • Outstanding Research in Social Issues, Academy of Management,
  • AT&T Prize for Research in Social Issues
  • Dissertation of the Year in Social Issues, Academy of Management,
  • The Governor's Personnel Oversight Commission, State of Georgia