I just got an email from Tom Stewart saying he is leaving Harvard Business Review – this was announced today with the press release below. He has been editor-in-chief for six years, during which time he maintained a strong consistency in HBR’s established editorial approach, but also injected his own highly innovative perspectives. I find HBR an essential read, not least through the pronounced focus on forward-thinking perspectives. I sincerely hope HBR doesn’t move away from this style with Tom’s departure.
I first met Tom in 1998, when I was organizing an Intellectual Capital seminar in Sydney, primarily intended for the funds management community. Tom had published his landmark book Intellectual Capital in 1997, after writing cover stories for Fortune magazine, where he was a writer for many years, on Brain Power in 1991 and on Intellectual Capital in 1994. At the time, drawing on my background in capital markets, I saw an immense opportunity in applying the nascent ideas of intellectual capital to financial markets and investor relations. (Some of these ideas are described in a 2002 speech I gave at KMWorld titled “A Financial Markets Perspective on Intellectual Capital”). I took Tom to visit many of the top fund management teams in Australia. At the time it was great to see the very positive reaction to his ideas, but the reality is fund managers globally have been rather slow to take up the ideas. The response from the broader investment community is improving, but it’s slow going.
Tom was kind enough to provide me with a great blurb for my book Developing Knowledge-Based Client Relationships when it came out in its first edition in 2000 (“Ross Dawson has done a brilliant job…”). His earlier insights provided some of the context for the book.
I don’t know what the background to the announcement is, though there is at this point no new editor-in-chief appointed. The only media coverage of this so far is in the Boston Globe, and there is nothing yet in the blogs. I do know that Tom has no specific plans at this points, other than to continue to pursue his work of the last decades in applying journalism to lead business into the future. I look forward to hearing his next move.
June 6, 2008 – BOSTON, MA Harvard Business Review, www.hbr.org, announced today that Thomas A. Stewart has resigned as Editor and Managing Director of the magazine. Stewart joined Harvard Business Review in 2002. During his tenure, HBR was twice named a finalist for General Excellence in the National Magazine Awards, won the 2007 Folio Magazine “Eddie” award for best issue and launched fruitful content partnerships with such organizations as the World Economic Forum. “We thank Tom for his many contributions to Harvard Business Review,” said David Wan, CEO of Harvard Business Publishing, “and look forward to the continued growth and development of this great magazine franchise.” Thomas A. Stewart said, “It has been an honor to work with the amazingly talented staff and authors of HBR, to maintain together the magazine’s high standards and devotion to improving the practice of management.”