Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, Yale SOM’s senior associate dean for leadership studies and the Lester Crown Professor in the Practice of Management, is the new co-chair of AdvanceCT, a private business development organization that collaborates with the State of Connecticut to improve the state’s economic competitiveness and attract businesses to the state.
Sonnenfeld, who has been a member of the board since 2019, will serve alongside co-chair Margaret Keane, executive chair and former CEO of Synchrony Financial. They succeed Indra Nooyi ’80, former chair and CEO of Pepsico, and James Smith, chairman emeritus of Webster Bank, both of whom will remain on the AdvanceCT board.
“It is a tremendous honor to join with Synchrony’s Margaret Keane in advancing Connecticut’s economic development mission, working with businesses large and small across communities, attracting new enterprises to the state, and helping to fortify existing Connecticut business,” Sonnenfeld said. “Margaret already has a terrific track record in this mission.”
He added, “Of course, it is daunting to be in the shadows of Indra Nooyi and Jim Smith, who worked so effectively partnering with Governor Lamont and DECD Commissioner David Lehman on the Economic Action Plan that guided Connecticut’s resilience through the COVID-19 pandemic’s darkest days to some of the nation’s best public health, workplace safety, and economic performance.”
Sonnenfeld, a member of the Yale SOM faculty since 2001, is the founder and CEO of the Chief Executive Leadership Institute. A widely recognized expert on leadership and corporate governance, he frequently talks with business and political leaders at the off-the-record CEO Summit and CEO Caucus, as well as commenting on business and politics in television appearances and opinion columns for major publications.
In addition to AdvanceCT, Sonnenfeld serves on the boards of the Ellis Island Honor Society and Connecticut Innovations. He has been honored for his service and scholarship with many awards, including the 2018 Ellis Island Award from the US Ellis Island Foundation. He is the author of eight books, including the bestselling The Hero’s Farewell, a study of CEO succession, and Firing Back, which examines leadership resilience in the face of adversity.