Top Leadership Expert to Join Yale SOM Faculty and Run Leadership Development Program

The Yale School of Management has appointed Brigadier General (Retired) Thomas A. Kolditz as professor in the practice of leadership and director of the school's Leadership Development Program, effective July 1, 2012. Kolditz had a distinguished career in the U.S. Army, serving most recently as professor and head of the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, where he oversaw leader training and was founding director of the West Point Leadership Center. He is a widely recognized expert in leadership, particularly crisis leadership, having earned his PhD in 1985 and published dozens of articles on the subject. He has also led global teams and consulted with organizations such as General Electric and AARP.

Kolditz will spearhead the reintroduction of the Yale School of Management's Leadership Development Program, based on a set of priorities and directions developed by a faculty committee that has been evaluating leadership training at the school over the last year. The purpose of the new LDP will be to prepare Yale SOM graduates to think expansively, rigorously, and responsibly about their footprint in the world. The program will emphasize understanding core values and commitments; understanding the impact of decisions on a wide range of global constituencies; integration with all facets of the Yale SOM student experience and the broader Yale community; and peer responsibility and feedback. This effort to build a comprehensive new leadership program is being supported by a generous gift made by Forrest E. Mars, Jr. and John F. Mars to the Forrest E. Mars Sr. Fund for Values & Ethics in Management.

Yale SOM Dean Edward A. Snyder commented: "With the appointment of General Tom Kolditz and the introduction of the Leadership Development Program into our integrated MBA curriculum, Yale SOM is building an exceptional capability to develop elevated leaders. We are extremely grateful to John and Forrest Mars for their generous and timely support, which will allow us to implement the LDP for all full-time Yale MBAs and thereby contribute to the development of ethical leaders for business and society."

Kolditz is currently a senior lecturer at the school and has begun developing plans for the LDP. He envisions a highly integrated program that will span, draw on, and contribute to the entire two-year MBA experience, thus elevating the experience of students across a range of activities, including classroom discussion, group and team work, club leadership, and international coursework and travel. He also points to the fundamental importance of thinking about responsible leadership at every level, which is consistent with both his background at West Point and Yale SOM's mission of educating leaders for business and society.

Kolditz said: "I am thrilled to be at Yale SOM. What has really stood out for me in my initial interactions with people here is the uniformly high level of enthusiasm and excitement among students, faculty, and staff. That will be an essential element in the success of the LDP. My ambitions for the program are significant. It should be more than a class. It should be a process of individual change in which each student owns his or her development as a leader and learns to apply rigorous, ethical thinking about leadership to a wide range of endeavors."

Andrew Metrick, the deputy dean for faculty development and Michael H. Jordan Professor of Finance and Management, commended the work done by the faculty committee chaired by Professor James Baron to set an agenda for the LDP and added that Kolditz is the ideal person to run the program from here. Metrick said: "We hit the jackpot. When we looked around for the best model of leadership training and development, it was the program at West Point that Tom Kolditz built and ran. That program, with its emphasis on values and global awareness, was also deeply aligned with the Yale SOM approach to leadership. Tom has taught at Yale SOM before, so we know first-hand how much energy, experience, and intelligence he will bring to this role."

This year's incoming first-year students will be the first to participate fully in the revamped LDP, but rising second-year students will also benefit from a number of the activities associated with the new program.