01 Jun 2006

HBS Professors Pearson, Thurston Remembered


Two revered HBS professors, who brought extensive business experience to the classroom and memorably imparted their wisdom to their students, recently passed away.

HBS professor Andrall E. Pearson ( MBA 6/’47), the MBA Class of 1958 Professor of Business Administration, Emeritus, died March 11 at his home in Palm Beach, Florida. He was 80. While a partner at McKinsey, Pearson was recruited by PepsiCo to be its COO, and soon became its president as well, serving the company for fifteen years. During his tenure, PepsiCo’s revenues grew from $1 billion to $8 billion during a period of “cola wars” and aggressive global expansion. Pearson left PepsiCo to join the HBS faculty in 1985. He taught the first-year course Competition and Strategy and the elective Management Policy and Practice. “Andy brought an extraordinary amount of experience to the classroom,” said HBS Dean Jay Light. “He had an enormous and long-lasting impact on students and faculty alike.” After retiring from the faculty in 1993, Pearson served as an operating partner at Clayton, Dubilier & Rice until 1997 and as chairman and CEO of YUM Brands, PepsiCo’s restaurant division spin-off, until 2000.

Richard P. Chapman Professor of Business Administration, Emeritus, Philip H. Thurston (DBA ’59) died March 24 at his home in Weston, Massachusetts. He was 87. Thurston joined the faculty in 1958 and taught thousands of MBA, Doctoral, and Executive Education students until his retirement in 1989. Thurston, who liked to say he was “a businessman who became a teacher,” spent nine years at General Electric and also worked at Corning Glass and Sperry Gyroscope before coming to HBS. An authority on manufacturing and planning, he served as unit head of Production and Operations Management from 1978 to 1981. But he was best known and will be most remembered by legions of Executive Education participants for his involvement in course offerings such as the Program for Management Development and the Smaller Company Management Program (now known as the Owner/President Management Program, or OPM). Teaching Executive Education participants — using an academic setting to direct their “high quotient of street smarts” to new ways of looking at their businesses — was Thurston’s true calling.


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