Class of 1951 Leadership Chair
Class of 1951 Chair for the Study of Leadership Chair
(2013 - 2016)
Tom Tierney is a recognized leader in serving the nonprofit sector. In 1999, he co-founded The Bridgespan Group, an independent, nonprofit organization that collaborates with mission-driven leaders and organizations to help accelerate social impact. During 2000, he stepped down as Bain & Company's chief executive to concentrate on Bridgespan-related activities.
Tom frequently speaks and writes on a variety of topics related to leadership and philanthropy. He lectures at Harvard Business School and the Stanford University Graduate School of Business and chairs the Harvard Business School Initiative on Social Enterprise.
He has contributed to numerous case studies and publications, including The Harvard Business Review and the Stanford Social Innovation Review. He also contributed chapters to the Leader to Leader Institute's Leader of the Future and Indiana University Press's Taking Philanthropy Seriously and has been featured in articles on philanthropy in the New York Times and the Financial Times. He has been profiled in various publications, including Learning from the CEO and Finishing Well.
He also co-authored a popular book about organization and leadership titled, Aligning the Stars, which was published in April 2002 by Harvard Business School Press. In 2009, Tom was named as one of the Nonprofit Times Power and Influence Top 50. He recently co-authored with Joel L. Fleishman Give Smart: Philanthropy That Gets Results, which was published in March 2011 by Public Affairs. In 2102 Tom led the production of Conversations with Remarkable Givers, a groundbreaking, free video series, housed on GiveSmart.org, of candid conversations with a range of extraordinary philanthropic leaders.
Tom joined Bain & Company in 1980 following graduation from Harvard Business School, where he received his MBA with distinction. He was promoted to partner after three years and from 1987 to 1992 served as the managing director of Bain's San Francisco office. In 1992, he became Bain's chief executive. During the 1990s, under his leadership, Bain & Company grew its revenues six-fold, while significantly expanding its global operations.
A native of California, he received his BA in Economics with highest distinction from the University of California at Davis, where he was honored as that year's most outstanding graduate. He served as a field engineer for Bechtel International in North Africa before entering business school.
Tom is a director of eBay, Incorporated and also serves on a number of nonprofit boards and advisory groups, including National Board of The Nature Conservancy, The Hoover Institution, and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. He is a past director of many other nonprofit organizations, including The National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, United Way of the Bay Area, United Way of Massachusetts Bay, the Committee for Economic Development, Catholic Charities, WGBH, and The National Academies.