Prof Michael Porter

Business Leader

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Professor Michael Porter is indisputably the foremost authority on modern competitive strategy. Generally recognised as the father of modern strategy, Porter has been identified in a variety of rankings and surveys as the world’s most influential thinker on management and strategic competitiveness. His expertise span competitive strategy, the competitiveness and economic development of nations, states, and regions, and the application of competitive principles to social problems such as health care, the environment, and corporate responsibility. He is the Bishop William Lawrence University Professor, based at Harvard Business School.  A University Professorship is the highest professional recognition that can be awarded to a Harvard faculty member.  In 2001, Harvard Business School and Harvard University jointly created the Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness, dedicated to furthering Porter’s work.

He is the author of 17 books and over 125 articles, including his seminal works: “The Competitive Advantage of Nations,” which has guided economic policy in countless nations and regions; and “Competitive Strategy: Techniques for Analysing Industries and Competitors,” currently in its 63rd print, and which has been translated into 19 languages. His book "Redefining Health Care: Creating Value-Based Competition on Results" (2006; Harvard Business Press) is influencing thinking and practice not only in the United States but numerous other countries.  His book "On Competition" (Harvard Business Press) was re-issued with new and expanded content in October 2008.  Porter has received six McKinsey Awards for the best Harvard Business Review article of the year, including an unprecedented four first-place awards.

Porter has served as a strategy adviser to top management in numerous leading companies in the United States as well as globally, including Caterpillar, DuPont, Procter & Gamble, Royal Dutch Shell, Scotts Miracle-Gro, SYSCO, and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company.  He currently serves on the board of directors of Thermo Fisher Scientific Corporation and Parametric Technology Corporation, and is senior strategy adviser to the Boston Red Sox.

Porter is also actively involved in assisting governments and advising national leaders in the United States as well as in Armenia, Ireland, India, Kazakhstan, Libya, Nicaragua, Portugal, Russia, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand.

The Latin American Centre for Competitiveness and Sustainable Development is based on his thinking about economic development for groups of neighbouring countries.

Extending his work on competitiveness to states, provinces, and other sub-national regions, Porter led the Clusters of Innovation project, which developed a framework for economic policy in various regions in the United States. In addition, he is dedicated to addressing the relationship between competition and important social issues such as poverty, health care delivery and the natural environment. He has devoted growing attention towards economically-distressed communities and poor and developing countries.

Porter is founder of three major non-profit organisations: The Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC), the Centre for Effective Philanthropy, and FSG-Social Impact Advisers.  He also currently serves on the Princeton University Board of Trustees.

Porter graduated with a BSE with high honours in aerospace and mechanical engineering from Princeton University in 1969 where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, the oldest honour society for the liberal arts and sciences and one of the oldest undergraduate societies in the United States.  He was further elected to Tau Beta Pi, an honour society founded in 1885 to mark those who have displayed distinguished scholarship and exemplary character as undergraduates in the field of engineering.  In 1971 Porter received an MBA with high distinction at the Harvard Business School, where he was a George F. Baker Scholar, which is a scholars programme founded by the family of leading financier and philanthropist George F. Baker. The selection process is highly competitive with prospective scholars interviewed by the Board of Trustees and the College Dean's academic administrator. The scholars are liberal arts majors with strong academic records, leadership skills, a demonstrated commitment to service and who have an interest in pursuing a career in business.  In 1973 Porter received a Ph.D. in Business Economics from Harvard University.

Born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Porter lived and travelled throughout the world as the son of a career Army officer.  After graduating from college, Porter served through the rank of captain in the United States Army Reserve. He maintains a long-time interest in music and art, and has helped work on the problems of strategy with arts organisations and aspiring musicians.