Former Harvard professor, IBM executive to lead the UI
Thursday, September 3, 2015

Bruce Harreld, a former Harvard Business School faculty member and corporate executive who helped save a foundering IBM in the 1990s, will become the 21st president of the University of Iowa.

The Board of Regents, State of Iowa, announced Harreld, 64, as its unanimous selection Sept. 3 to replace Sally Mason, who retired Aug. 1 after serving eight years as president. Harreld will take office Nov. 2. His salary was set at $590,000, with a five-year deferred compensation plan with an annual contribution of $200,000.

Media: Find photos, video, and audio from the announcement and news conference here.

"I am truly happy to be here," Harreld says. "It's an honor. It is a watershed moment for a great institution. I am going to listen, and I am going to learn."

The announcement concludes a search that began in February, only weeks after Mason announced her retirement. The Board of Regents appointed a 21-member search and screen committee to work in conjunction with professional search consultant Parker Executive Search. 

Board of Regents President Bruce Rastetter says "we really believe we have a great university but we want to see that opportunity to be larger and greater, and Harreld is someone who has provided that type of leadership to organizations.”

Harreld held a variety of corporate executive positions with Kraft Foods, IBM, and Boston Market restaurants before coming to the Harvard Business School in 2008. There, he held dual appointments in the entrepreneurial and strategy units and focused on teaching strategy. His research focus was encouraging innovation, changing corporate cultures, and managing people.

Jean Robillard, UI’s vice president for medical affairs, has been serving as interim president and led the 21-member search committee charged with recruiting and vetting applicants for the position. Robillard will continue to serve as interim president until Harreld takes office.

"I think (Bruce Harreld) brings tremendous value to the university," Robillard says. "I think this is great for the university, it's great for the state, and, honestly, I think it's great for the country."

With just over 31,000 students, the University of Iowa is one of the nation's top public research universities, known around the world for its balanced commitment to the arts, sciences, and humanities. UI is home to one of the nation's largest academic medical centers and the world-renowned Iowa Writers' Workshop. The university is a member of the Big Ten Conference and the Association of American Universities. 


Faculty member, Harvard Business School (2008–2014); vice president, strategy, IBM (1995–2008); president, Boston Market Co. (1993–1995); adjunct professor, Northwestern University (1993–1994); senior vice president and division president, Kraft General Foods (1983–1993); consultant, manager, vice president, Boston Consulting Group (1975–1983)

EDUCATION: Bachelor of Engineering, Purdue University, 1972; Master of Business Administration, Harvard University, 1975

PERSONAL: Wife, Mary Gillilan Harreld, attorney; four adult children, six grandchildren