Source – Bloomberg.co
In a significant move, Harvard University has announced that Kenneth C. Frazier and Joseph Y. Bae will be joining the prestigious Harvard Corporation, the university’s highest governing body. The appointments come ahead of the anticipated presidential search, addressing a leadership crisis that has drawn scrutiny in recent months.
Kenneth Frazier, the former CEO and chairman of pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co. is set to join the Corporation on Feb. 7, filling the vacancy left by David M. Rubenstein’s departure in June 2023. Frazier, a Harvard Law School graduate, brings a wealth of experience, having served on the boards of Weill Cornell Medicine, Exxon Mobil Corporation, and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America. His notable resignation from the American Manufacturing Council in 2017, in response to controversial comments by then-President Donald Trump, underscores his commitment to principled leadership.
Billionaire Joseph Y. Bae Appointed to Harvard University Board
Joseph Y. Bae, a private equity billionaire and co-CEO of global investment firm KKR, will take his place on the board on July 1. His appointment coincides with the conclusion of Paul J. Finnegan’s 12-year tenure as the longtime former treasurer. Bae, a Harvard alumnus from the class of ’94, has demonstrated his dedication to the university by serving on the Corporation Committee on Finance and contributing to the expansion of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences’ Asian American studies program with a significant gift in 2021.
The appointments of Frazier and Bae were confirmed by the Board of Overseers, Harvard’s second-highest governing body, following deliberations over the weekend. These additions help pave the way for the Corporation to establish a presidential search committee to identify a permanent successor to former President Claudine Gay.
Harvard’s governing boards, particularly the Corporation, have faced intense scrutiny regarding their handling of the university’s leadership crisis. Calls for the resignation of Corporation Senior Fellow Penny S. Pritzker ’81 were resisted in January, and the appointments of Frazier and Bae are seen as steps toward stabilizing the university’s governance.
Frazier and Bae: Committed to Harvard’s Values, Leadership Excellence Ensured
Frazier and Bae expressed their commitment to Harvard’s core values. Frazier emphasized the importance of academic excellence, academic freedom, and fostering an environment for open and respectful discourse on challenging issues. Bae echoed these sentiments, stating his anticipation of working with the Corporation to address the current challenges, strengthen the university community, and extend Harvard University’s leadership in higher education and research.
In a university-wide email, Harvard’s President Lawrence S. Bacow, and Corporation Senior Fellow Penny S. Pritzker wrote, “We very much look forward to welcoming both Ken Frazier and Joe Bae to the Corporation. Our work is sure to benefit from their leadership qualities, their wide-ranging expertise and experience, and their devotion to higher education and Harvard.”
Both Frazier and Bae are set to serve a six-year term on the Harvard Corporation, with the possibility of extending their tenure for a second term. The appointments signal a commitment to bolstering Harvard’s governance and leadership as the institution navigates the complexities of a presidential transition.
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