Stanford President Hennessy Resigns, as Biz School Rated #1

John Hennessy (Steve Jennings / Getty)
Steve Jennings / Getty
Newport Beach, CA

Stanford University President John Hennessy just announced that he will resign next year after a 15 year run, shortly after the Stanford Business School was rated number one on the planet. By conversations on the web, Stanford is by far the most mentioned university, because most of the captains of Internet industry are its graduates.

The university didn’t create Silicon Valley, but in the last 15 years under Hennessy, it has fostered most of the dominant tech corporations, including Google, Yahoo, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat, Paypal, WhatsApp, You Tube and Netflix. Mark Zuckerberg got the idea to start Facebook at Harvard, but he had to move next to Stanford to engage with the brainpower he needed to grow the company.

Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business broke last year’s three-way tie as the nation’s best MBA program to become the undisputed winner in U.S. News & World Report‘s latest business school ranking. After being in a tie for the premier spot in 2012, 2013, and 2014, Harvard Business School was pushed into number two this year, and the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School Business slid to third place.

Stanford Business School has by far the highest peer assessment and corporate recruiter survey scores according to deans, MBA directors and employers that recruit on campus. Stanford has the most competitive acceptance rate in the nation, at 7.1 percent. Harvard’s acceptance rate is a distant 11 percent–and Stanford also has an edge on Harvard by reporting higher average GPA and GMAT scores of 3.74 and 732.

Stanford’s percentage of employed MBAs three months after commencement is 92.1 percent, versus Harvard Business School’s 89.4 percent. The average starting salary and bonus for a new Stanford Graduate School of Management grad is $142,834.

Stanford’s undergraduate acceptance rate is also fiercely competitive, at 5.7 percent. In the last 15 years, Stanford has moved up to number four behind Princeton, Harvard and Yale for the highest-ranked undergraduate school in the nation.

President Hennessy told the school’s trustees and the faculty senate, “The time has come to return to what brought me to Stanford–teaching and research.”

Hennessy, age 62, was Chair of Stanford’s Computer Science Department from 1994 to 1996 and then Dean of the School of Engineering. In 1999, he became Provost, the university’s chief academic and financial officer, and became President of the university In October 2000.

Hennessy joined the faculty in 1977 as an Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering and was the inaugural Willard R. and Inez Kerr Bell Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from 1987 to 2004. From 1983 to 1993, he was Director of the Computer Systems Laboratory.

He led the team that developed the computer architecture known as Reduced Instruction Set Computing (RISC) that increased performance while reducing costs. The spectacular success of RISC allowed him to co-found MIPS Computer Systems in 1984, which designed microprocessors and developed parallel processing.

President Hennessy is a Director on the boards of Google, Cisco Systems and Atheros, and led investments in venture capital funds including Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Sequoia Capital and Foundation Capital.

A search committee will be formed by the board of trustees this summer to find a replacement for Hennessy, led by former Chairman Isaac Stein.

Chriss Street graduated from Stanford Graduate School of Business Executive Program in 1991. Go trees!