Jeffrey Sonnenfeld

Senior Associate Dean for Leadership Studies & Lester Crown Professor in the Practice of Management at Yale School of Management


Yale School of Management

Jeffrey Sonnenfeld served as full tenured professor at Emory's Goizueta Business School for a decade and a professor at the Harvard Business School for a decade, and is currently the senior associate dean of leadership programs as well as the Lester Crown Professor in the Practice of Management for the Yale School of Management, as well as founder and president of the Chief Executive Leadership Institute, a nonprofit educational and research institute focused on CEO leadership and corporate governance.

Professor Sonnenfeld's related research has been published in 100 scholarly articles which appeared in the leading academic journals in management such as Administrative Sciences Quarterly, the Academy of Management Journal, the Academy of Management Review, the Journal of Organizational Behavior, Social Forces, Human Relations, and Human Resource Management. He has also authored eight books, including The Hero's Farewell, an award-winning study of CEO succession, and another best seller, Firing Back, a study on leadership resilience in the face of adversity.

Professor Sonnenfeld earned the 2018 Ellis Island award from the US Ellis Island Foundation. He was Harvard’s first John Whitehead Faculty Fellow and won outstanding educator awards at Yale, Emory and the American Society for Training and Development. His work is regularly cited by the general media in such outlets as: BusinessWeek, Fortune, Forbes, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Newsweek, Time, the Economist, the Financial Times, the Washington Post, CBS (60 Minutes), NBC (The Today Show), ABC (Nightline, Good Morning America), CNN, and Fox News, as well as PBS, where he is a regular commentator for FORTUNE and CNBC. BusinessWeek listed Sonnenfeld as one of the world’s 10 most influential business school professors and Directorship magazine has listed him among the 100 most influential figures in corporate governance. He is the first academician to have rung the opening bells of both the New York Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq Stock Exchange.


  • DBA, Harvard University
  • MBA, Harvard University
  • AB, Harvard University


  • Business Week’s Ten Most Influential Business School Professors
  • Rang Opening Bell of the Nasdaq Stock Exchange, , 2006, 2008
  • Rang Opening Bell of the New York Stock Exchange Directorship Magazine’s 100 most Influential Figures in Corporate Governance , 2007, 2008
  • Academy of Management Award for the Best Article of 2005 Stand Out New Management Book of the Year , Business Week
  • Outstanding Contributions to Executive Education , The American Society of Training and Development
  • Outstanding Educator Award , Emory University
  • Distinguished Innovation in US Management Education , Sacred Heart University and Connecticut Governor John Rowland
  • Outstanding Research in Social Issues , Academy of Management
  • AT&T Prize for Research in Social Issues
  • Dissertation of the Year in Social Issues , Academy of Management
  • The Governor''s Personnel Oversight Commission , State of Georgia


  • Firing back: how great leaders rebound after career disasters J. A. Sonnenfeld and A. Ward Harvard Business Press 2007
  • Leadership and governance from the inside out R. Gandossy and J. Sonnenfeld Wiley 2004
  • The Hero's Farewell: The Retirement and Renewal of Chief Executives J. A. Sonnenfeld Oxford University Press 1988
  • The hero's farewell: What happens when CEOs retire J. Sonnenfeld Oxford University Press, USA 1988
  • The hero's farewell: What happens when chief executives retire J. Sonnenfeld New York: Oxford University Press 1988


  • Value congruence and charismatic leadership in CEO top manager relationships: An empirical investigation S. Hayibor, B. R. Agle, G. J. Sears, J. A. Sonnenfeld and A. Ward Journal of business ethics 2011
  • Relational ties that bind: Leader-follower relationship dimensions and charismatic attribution S. M. Campbell, A. J. Ward, J. A. Sonnenfeld and B. R. Agle The Leadership Quarterly 2008
  • Firing Back: How Great Leaders Rebound After Career Disasters J. Sonnenfeld and A. Ward Organizational Dynamics 2008
  • Examining the impact of organizational value dissimilarity in top management teams M. J. Lankau, A. Ward, A. Amason, T. Ng, J. A. Sonnenfeld and B. R. Agle Journal of Managerial issues 2007
  • Does CEO charisma matter? An empirical analysis of the relationships among organizational performance, environmental uncertainty, and top management team perceptions of CEO charisma B. R. Agle, N. J. Nagarajan, J. A. Sonnenfeld and D. Srinivasan Academy of Management Journal 2006


Courses Taught

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