Michael Porter

(20 Jan 2009)
Michael Porter 

Michael E. Porter is indisputably the foremost authority on modern competitive strategy.

Generally recognised as the father of the modern strategy field, Professor Porter has been identified in a variety of rankings and surveys as the world’s most influential thinker on management and competitiveness. His expertise spans 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 Professor 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 Analyzing Industries and Competitors,” in its 63rd printing 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. "On Competition" (Harvard Business Press) was re-issued with new and expanded content in October 2008. Professor Porter has received six McKinsey Awards for the best Harvard Business Review article of the year, including an unprecedented four first-place awards.

Professor Porter has served as a strategy advisor to top management in numerous leading U.S. and international companies, among them 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 advisor to the Boston Red Sox.

He is actively involved in assisting governments and advising national leaders in the U.S. and abroad, including Armenia, Ireland, India, Kazakhstan, Libya, Nicaragua, Portugal, Russia, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand. The Latin American Center for Competitiveness and Sustainable Development is based on his thinking about economic development for groups of neighboring countries.

Extending his work on competitiveness to states, provinces, and other sub-national regions, Professor Porter led the Clusters of Innovation project, which developed a framework for economic policy in U.S. regions. 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 toward economically distressed communities and poor and developing countries.

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

He received a B.S.E. with high honors in aerospace and mechanical engineering from Princeton University in 1969, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and Tau Beta Pi. He received an M.B.A. with high distinction in 1971 from the Harvard Business School, where he was a George F. Baker Scholar, and a Ph.D. in Business Economics from Harvard University in 1973.

Born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Professor Porter lived and traveled throughout the world as the son of a career Army officer. At Princeton, he played intercollegiate golf and was the New England champion. He was named to the 1968 NCAA Golf All-American Team. After graduating from college, Professor Porter served through the rank of captain in the U.S. Army Reserve. He maintains a long-time interest in the esthetics and business of music and art, having worked on the problems of strategy with arts organizations and aspiring musicians. Professor Porter has two daughters and resides in Brookline, Massachusetts.

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