Dean David Schmittlein to step down

January 30, 2024
Cynthia Barnhart, Provost |

Dear members of the MIT Sloan community,

I write to share the news that David Schmittlein, John C Head III Dean, has decided to step down from his role to attend to a personal health concern. Effective Monday, February 5, Associate Dean and Professor Georgia Perakis will become interim dean of the MIT Sloan School of Management.

I imagine this news may come as a surprise to many members of this tight-knit community. For nearly 17 years, we have relied on and benefited from Dave’s inspiring vision, skillful leadership, and collaborative nature. In countless ways, he has advanced MIT Sloan’s mission of developing principled, innovative leaders who improve the world and generate ideas that advance management practice.

Dave’s accomplishments as dean are inextricably linked to MIT Sloan’s far-reaching impact, and his contributions are too numerous to list here. Additionally, anyone who knows Dave appreciates the depth of his humility.

So, while Dave does not want me to go on and on, I must take this chance to thank him for the ways in which he has propelled MIT Sloan forward. Dave has enhanced the school’s global visibility and impact through partnerships with individuals, organizations, and universities. He has prioritized creating high-quality management programs such as the Executive MBA, and expanding concept-based learning opportunities through MIT Sloan’s storied Action Learning Labs. And he has forged stronger academic, research, and personal ties between MIT Sloan and the rest of campus.

Dave’s fellow deans and I can always count on him for wise, pragmatic counsel, good humor, and, above all, kindness. Dave has served on Academic Council since being named dean in 2007, a position that enabled him to shape and implement countless Institute-wide strategic priorities over the years. And, of course, an achievement of which Dave is quite proud is the exceptionally talented and mission-driven leadership team that will now be responsible for steering MIT Sloan through this period of transition.

Professor Georgia Perakis is central to this team. Dave and I are confident she will bring her keen understanding of MIT Sloan’s culture and community, and her deep knowledge of MIT, to the interim dean position. I am grateful for her willingness to take on this critical post, and I am committed to working closely with the entire MIT Sloan community in the weeks and months ahead.

I will be in touch as plans come together to launch a search for Dave’s successor. Until then, I once again offer my heartfelt thanks to Dave Schmittlein for his inspiring dedication and service to MIT as dean.


Cynthia Barnhart