Robert Strand named Executive Director of Center for Responsible Business

Robert Strand, an international expert in sustainability and corporate social responsibility, has been appointed new executive director of the Center for Responsible Business at Haas.

Strand started in his position August 18, 2014. He succeeds Jo Mackness, who was named COO of Haas in March 2014.

In his role, Strand will oversee the 12-year-old center, which has grown from an educational startup into a mature organization focused on establishing corporate social responsibility with five associated faculty, 10 classes each year, and more than 1,200 alumni.

Strand joins Haas from Denmark, where he most recently served as assistant professor of leadership & sustainability at the Copenhagen Business School (CBS) and director of the Nordic Network for Sustainability. Directing the Center for Responsible Business was an incredible opportunity that drew him back to the U.S., he said.

“The university’s legacy provides such a solid foundation from which to promote responsible business practices,” said Strand, who was a visiting scholar at Haas this year. “I personally love the Haas defining principles to “question the status quo” and “confidence without attitude.” These principles speak to me and I feel such a great fit here at Haas.”

“Robert is an energetic and committed leader who combines strong academic training and broad hands-on international experience in the fields of corporate responsibility and sustainability,” said Laura Tyson, Professor of Business Administration and Economics Director of the Institute for Business & Social Impact and the Haas Business and Public Policy Group. “He will help the Center for Responsible Business realize its mission of redefining business to build a sustainable future by incorporating social responsibility and sustainability into business strategy.” 

Strand earned a PhD from Copenhagen Business School focused on Corporate Social Responsibility, an MBA from the University of Minnesota, and a BS in industrial engineering from the University of Wisconsin. In recent years, he developed campus and study-abroad sustainability programs for undergraduates, MBAs, PhDs, professors, and executives. While a U.S. Fulbright scholar in Norway, he explored sustainability and CSR across Scandinavia.

Prior to his work in academia, Strand spent a decade in industry with IBM and Boston Scientific. Strand believes Haas is uniquely positioned to bring sustainable and responsible business into the mainstream.

“Haas has a definitive opportunity as an institution to question the status quo of business,” he said. “And I want to be part of this.”

A frequent contributor to both The Financial Times and The Journal of Business Ethics, Strand will be joined by his wife, Sarah Bly, a consumer behavior expert in sustainable consumption, and their 9-month-old old son, Mikkel Gavin Bly-Strand. 

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