… to reconsider their having fired President Teresa Sullivan (UD predicts that they will reappoint her), UD asks you to consider this angle of the scandal:

It’s also hard to ignore the role of gender in these events. I have briefly met, or at least been in the same room with, both Sullivan and her predecessor, John Casteen… Casteen is the picture of a classic university president in appearance and affect, a tall white man of distinguished age who spoke with total confidence and authority, verging on arrogance. Sullivan was more of a listener, offering constructive commentary while letting others have their say. She is also a matronly woman of 62 who doesn’t evoke simple-minded visions of “bold leadership” in the management-consulting, advertisement vein.

All true, and indeed throughout these events UD has thought about the likelihood that the absence of lean mean chiseling at the top has been driving the hedgies bonkers. The interim replacement these people chose, the head of the biz school, looks just like Robert Rubin.

What they forgot, for all their expensive public relations advice, was that this sort of move can backfire very very badly.

Two words: Susan Boyle.

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  1. University Diaries » The interim president at the University of Virginia… Says:

    […] name which will erase all memories of someone having appointed a matronly woman president (details here), but who combines the two qualities – dynamic business sense and enthusiasm for online […]

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