09 Feb 2015

Remembering John Whitehead (MBA 1947)

Banker, statesman, philanthropist, and distinguished alumnus dies at age 92


John C. Whitehead (MBA 1947) – business leader, community collaborator, prominent philanthropist, education visionary – died February 7 at age 92.

During a long and lauded career, Whitehead guided Goldman Sachs to the forefront of global investment banking; served his country first as a soldier and later as deputy secretary of state; guided the citizens of New York City through the protracted process of rebuilding and revitalizing following the terrorist attacks of 2001; and applied his philanthropic principles and vision at HBS in establishing the Social Enterprise Initiative.

In announcing his death to the HBS community, Dean Nitin Nohria said, “John Whitehead has been an alumnus we have held up as exemplifying the competence and character we associate with true leadership. It is with deep sadness, as a community, that we mourn his passing.

“It brings deep sadness to lose someone we loved,” Nohria noted. “At the same time, we can reflect with admiration on a life that has demonstrated, time and again, what can be done by a good and effective human being – through a career centered in business, but one that also touched so many other spheres.”

Read an HBS tribute to Whitehead. For more on his life and career, explore these articles and videos:

John C. Whitehead, Who Led Effort to Rebuild After 9/11, Dies at 92
New York Times

Social Enterprise Visionary
HBS Alumni Bulletin

Interview with John Whitehead, MBA 1947
HBS Alumni on Leadership Series - Video

A Lifetime of Quiet Leadership
Making A Difference – HBS Alumni

A Social Enterprise Visionary
Making A Difference – HBS Alumni

The Future of Social Enterprise and the Role of Individual Philanthropy
HBS Global Business Summit -- Video

Entrepreneurs: John Whitehead
Arthur Rock Center for Entrepreneurship -- Video

Where to Find Nonprofit Leaders? John Whitehead Turns to Harvard Business School
GiveSmart: The Bridgespan Group -- Video

Featured Alumni

Featured Alumni

John Whitehead
Class of MBA 1947

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