A man internationally known for his ability to solve complex managerial problems and foresee future business trends will be taking his expertise to the Pacific as the new president of Brigham Young University-Hawaii.
Gordon B. Hinckley, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and chairman of the Board of Trustees of BYU-Hawaii, today announced the appointment of Steven C. Wheelwright, the Edsel Bryant Ford Professor of Business Administration, Emeritus at Harvard Business School, as president of Brigham Young University-Hawaii.
President Hinckley made the announcement from the Conference Center in Salt Lake City in a broadcast to faculty, staff and students at BYU-Hawaii. Wheelwright will travel to Laie, Hawaii, tomorrow to be formally introduced to faculty and will then speak to students at a devotional assembly on Thursday morning.
In making the announcement, President Hinckley expressed his confidence in Wheelwright’s leadership: “I know President Wheelwright will take BYU-Hawaii to new heights. Through his expertise and many associations I’m confident he will expand the influence of BYU-Hawaii and bless the lives of all who come to this illustrious school.”
Wheelwright said it is a great honor to receive such an appointment from President Hinckley. “I believe in BYU-Hawaii and its mission because it combines spiritual with secular learning and focuses on the development of character and understanding in these wonderful young people.”
Echoing her husband’s enthusiasm, Margaret Wheelwright said: “We’ve always been in an academic environment and have loved having young people in our home. The students in Hawaii will replace in my heart the children and grandchildren I’ll be missing.”
Before starting his career in higher education, Wheelwright was a doctoral student working under the direction of Henry B. Eyring, then a professor at Stanford's Graduate School of Business, and now of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Even then, Elder Eyring said, Wheelwright’s wisdom and judgment set him apart. “He is remarkably able to understand change, to see it coming and to know how to take full advantage of it to benefit other people.”
Elder Eyring said this will be an invaluable gift when Wheelwright takes the reins at BYU-Hawaii, with so many changes taking place in the Pacific Basin and Asia, where most of the university’s students hail from. The university educates 2,400 students each year from 70 countries.
Wheelwright also has experience working with students from many different cultures including Asia. As the former senior associate dean of Harvard Business School’s MBA program, he worked with students from all over the world and helped place them in business positions. Elder Eying said this network will benefit BYU-Hawaii students as they return to their native countries after graduation. “Steve Wheelwright is as energetic and productive a person as you’ll ever meet, and he has a remarkable personal reservoir of contacts.”
After graduating from Stanford with an MBA and PhD, Wheelwright spent a year on the faculty at INSEAD, a business school in Fontainebleau, France, and then spent the remainder of his academic career working between two institutions, Harvard and Stanford. It was at Harvard that he crossed paths nearly 30 years ago with former dean of the Harvard Business School and current president of BYU-Idaho, Kim Clark. Clark said Wheelwright has a great optimistic spirit about him. “He is a man who loves the Lord, who knows Him and is steadfast and immoveable in his commitment. He knows heaven and will inspire tremendous trust because of faith.”
It’s that commitment, Clark said, which makes Wheelwright a master teacher. “He is one of the most outstanding teachers I know. I’ve lived around an institution that values teaching. That set of skills spills over into everything he does.”
Prior to his retirement from Harvard in the fall of 2006, Wheelwright was a Baker Foundation professor and senior associate dean and director of Harvard Business School’s publication activities. In that role, he served as the chairman of the HBS Publishing Company. He also oversaw major on-campus construction projects. In his years away from Harvard, he was the Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield and Byers Professor of Management at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business. Wheelwright has also written several books with colleagues including Kim B. Clark and Clayton M. Christensen. His books include Strategic Management of Technology and Innovation, 4th ed.; Operations, Strategy and Technology — Pursuing the Competitive Edge; and Dynamic Manufacturing: Creating the Learning Organization.
As a young man, Wheelwright served the Church as a missionary in Scotland. He later served as a mission president in London from 2000 to 2003. He has been a counselor in a stake presidency, a high councilor and a bishop. Since leaving Harvard, he and his wife have been service missionaries at BYU-Idaho.
Wheelwright grew up in Salt Lake City and is a cowboy at heart. He owned a cattle ranch in Star Valley, Wyoming, and currently keeps horses and cattle at his home in Oakley, Utah. He and his wife are the parents of 5 children and have 15 grandchildren.
Wheelwright succeeds Eric B. Shumway, who is retiring from BYU-Hawaii after having served in several capacities since 1966 and as president since 1994.