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The School was among the first business schools to offer a robust executives in residence program. Robert W. Lear, former chairman and CEO of F. & M. Schaefer Corporation and former president and COO of Indian Head, volunteered to serve as a mentor at the School in 1977, and was named its first executive in residence later that year.

During the next 22 years, Lear led the effort to develop a formal program and an established cohort of executives at the School. He also created an advisory board of executives in such functional areas as accounting and marketing to advise faculty members on the School’s teaching and research programs. 

The contributor of more than 160 columns to Chief Executive magazine, Lear and Columbia’s Executive in Residence Program were highlighted in the New York Times in 1980. “My major effort is to get more business executives more interested and concerned as to what is being taught and researched at the School, and to get the School and its students more intimately involved in real-world situations both in and out of the classroom,” Lear told reporter Leonard Sloane. “Even in school I am still in business, still a part of the corporate scene.”

Donald C. Waite III ’66, a former member of McKinsey’s three-person Office of the Managing Director and a member of the School’s Board of Overseers since 1992, has served as director of the program since 2002. Under Waite’s leadership, the scope of industries and careers represented in the program has doubled: a total of 15 executives will participate beginning in the Fall of 2014.

Former executives in residence at the School include

  • Susan Balloch, former managing director at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette and Credit Suisse First Boston
  • Wolfgang Bernhard ’88, former CEO of Volkswagen, AG
  • Philip Condit, former CEO of The Boeing Company
  • Robert Lear, former CEO of F. & M. Schaefer Corporation
  • Leo Hindery, Jr., former CEO of AT&T Broadband and former president of Tele-Communications, Inc.
  • Oliver Sockwell, former CEO of Construction Loan Insurance Corporation
  • Paul Tierney, Jr., venture capitalist
  • Stephen Trevor, former managing director in the principal investment area of Goldman Sachs


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