Indian American academic Soumitra Dutta Jan. 30 abruptly resigned from his post as dean of Cornell University’s business school, though the institution said that Dutta will remain at the college as a full professor of management.
Dutta has never taught a course at Cornell, according to the courses of study archive. Cornell hired Dutta in 2012 to lead the SC Johnson Graduate School of Management, which later aligned under the business college umbrella along with the School of Hotel Administration and the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, the Cornell Sun reported.
According to the report, Dutta’s resignation as dean — a post he’s held since July 2016 when the business school launched (see India-West article here) — was a shock to students, faculty, alumni, staff and donors.
In an email to business college members announcing Dutta’s resignation, Provost Michael Kotlikoff referenced “the college’s many accomplishments to date” but did not thank Dutta or acknowledge the founding dean by name except to say that he had offered his resignation, the Sun reported.
“The college has achieved so much in the past year, and I am confident that it will continue to thrive,” Kotlikoff wrote.
Lynn Perry Wooten, dean of the Dyson School, said in an email to colleagues Jan. 31 that she was thankful for the departing dean’s “leadership and the foundation he has helped build for the college,” the publication added.
The university confirmed to the Sun that Dutta would remain on as a full professor.
The report added that there was no indication Dutta’s resignation was coming. He recently met with business leaders on the West Coast and provided an update on the College of Business to alumni, and met Alumni Affairs administrators.
A week later Dutta represented the College of Business at an event in New York, and he is listed as a keynote speaker at an information technology conference in India, where he was born, in late February, the report said.
Dutta joined Cornell in 2012 after spending more than two decades as a professor of business and technology at Fontainebleau, France-based INSEAD, replaced by noted academician Dipak Jain. At the time, Dutta, the 11th dean of Cornell’s Johnson business school, was the first person to be named dean of a major business school in the U.S. coming from a business school outside the country.
Previously, Dutta has held visiting professorships at U.C. Berkeley’s Haas School, Oxford University’s Oxford Internet Institute and the University of Cambridge’s Judge School. Additionally, he has advised several governments on national information and innovation policies and has consulted with leading international organizations.
Outside of university work, Dutta has worked as an engineer with General Electric in the U.S. and in Japan for Schlumberger.
Dutta is a graduate of IIT Delhi, earning a B.Tech degree in electrical engineering and computer science, and U.C. Berkeley, where he earned his master’s and doctorate degrees in computer science, as well as his M.B.A.