Jeff Sonnenfeld

Jeff Sonnenfeld

Formal First Name
Jeffrey (Jeff)
4/1/1954 - present

Jeffrey Sonnenfeld is the Senior Associate Dean for Leadership Studies at the Yale School of Management, where he has taught since 1999. Under his leadership, Yale executive programs have grown from 100 executives a year to 2,000. A frequent speaker before executive audiences, his research, publications, and consulting activities reflect a continued interest in chief executive succession, board governance, corporate culture, and strategic change. Sonnenfeld is the first scholar to ring the Opening Bell of both the New York Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq Stock Exchange, having done so at least 10 times.

Professional Experience

Academic History


  • Sonnenfeld has won numerous national awards for scholarly research and teaching. 
  • Named by Businessweek as one of the world’s “ten most influential Businessweek as school professors.”
  • Earned the 2018 Ellis Island Medal of Honor from the Ellis Island Foundation. 
  • Outstanding Educator Awards at Yale, Emory, and the American Society for Training and Development. 
  • Recipient of the Irwin Award for Social Research in Industry
  • Recipient of the AT&T′s Hawthorne Fellowship for Social Research in Industry
  • Recipient of the John P. Whitehead Faculty Fellowship



  • Sonnenfeld has published at least 8 books and over 200 scholarly articles in the areas of:
    • chief executive leadership;
    • corporate governance;
    • CEO succession;
    • executive careers; and
    • the management of corporate social performance.
  • A frequent speaker before executive audiences, he has appeared often on all the major U.S. TV networks, including:
    • CBS (60 Minutes)
    • NBC (Today)
    • ABC (Nightline and Good Morning America)
  • He is a frequently cited management expert in the global media.
  • He is a regular commentator on Fortune, CNBC, NPR’s Marketplace, and PBS’s Nightly Business Report.
  • He is a columnist for Fortune Magazine and Chief Executive Magazine.
  • He has been featured in the leading academic journals in management and in publications as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times, and The Economist.


  • Sonnenfeld has served on ten scholarly journal editorial boards. 
  • He was the founding faculty sponsor of the Harvard Radcliffe Women’s Leadership Forum.
  • He was a co-developer of the Harvard College Core Curriculum and chaired committees on admissions, placement, and faculty recruiting. 
  • He served as a full tenured professor at Emory's Goizueta Business School for a decade and a professor at the Harvard Business or a decade.