Beardsley leads learning and leadership development for all McKinsey professionals and serves as a top adviser to some of the world’s leading companies. An elected member of McKinsey’s global board of directors from 2011 to 2014, he has been based for most of his 26-year career with the leading management consulting firm in its Brussels, Belgium office.
Beardsley succeeds Robert F. Bruner, who is completing his 10th year as Darden’s dean, and last year announced his intention to return to the faculty at the end of his second term.
“The Darden School of Business is moving from strength to strength,” U.Va. President Teresa A. Sullivan said. “Scott Beardsley’s knowledge and vast experience will help guide the school to greater heights of excellence. We are very fortunate that Scott will build upon the strong legacy of Bob Bruner, who, along with his team, achieved recognition for Darden as the world’s best graduate business education experience.”
“Scott rose to the top of a highly competitive and global pool of candidates,” U.Va. Executive Vice President and Provost John D. Simon said. “He brings to Darden a deep and global understanding of business, a successful track record of developing business leaders at all levels and experience in and passion for education, teaching and research. He has the leadership skills required to advance this dynamic, world-class institution, and we’re excited for what’s ahead. We see this as a great opportunity – not just for the University – but for the individuals and organizations who come to Darden to equip themselves as the best-prepared business leaders of the 21st century.”
“I am honored by the opportunity,” Beardsley said. “I believe deeply in Darden’s values and its clear and focused mission to improve the world by developing responsible leaders and advancing knowledge. I am very excited to be part of the University of Virginia family, and its Jeffersonian commitment to excellence. I look forward to working with the school’s outstanding faculty, staff, students and alumni to shape a vision for the future and to ensure that the world is keenly aware of Darden’s exceptional MBA, executive education and Ph.D. offerings, which are personalized for each learner and delivered by a faculty second to none.”
Beardsley received a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering magna cum laude from Tufts University and an mba from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management, where he received highest honors as a Henry S. Dupont III Scholar and served as editor and marketing manager of the MIT Sloan Management Review. He is a candidate at the University of Pennsylvania for an executive doctorate in higher education management, expected in May.
Beardsley joined McKinsey & Company in 1989, was elected partner in 1995 and senior partner 4½ years later – among the fastest to rise to senior partner. Prior to his current global role in developing the talent and capabilities of McKinsey’s more than 12,000 professionals, Beardsley led the firm’s strategy practice. Within McKinsey’s model of shared governance and tightly knit partnership, Beardsley co-led for years the committees that elect partners and senior partners. A global strategy and regulation expert, Beardsley has served leading clients in the telecom, technology, public, nonprofit and professional services arenas. Through his work in the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the United States, he has a proven track record of impact, entrepreneurship and innovation.
In addition to spending two years on McKinsey & Company’s Knowledge Committee, which oversees knowledge research at the firm, Beardsley has led major research efforts on topics such as technology trends, the knowledge economy, regulation, IT productivity, performance transformation and broadband. Through his research in business in society, he helped McKinsey incubate the McKinsey Climate Change Special Initiative, which dealt with issues such as carbon abatement and sustainability.
McKinsey Global Managing Director Dominic Barton congratulated U.Va. on Beardsley’s appointment. “Scott has been an amazing leader, from our board of directors to the strategy practice, and is one of our very best values-driven people developers,” he said. “He has been instrumental in creating and implementing many impactful innovations in how McKinsey approaches capability building and leadership development that will benefit the firm for years to come. Scott is a true global citizen, and we are sorry to see him go, but know he will thrive in his new role as dean of the Darden School.”
A frequent author, speaker and media commentator, Beardsley has presented at the World Economic Forum at Davos and teaches as a faculty member in McKinsey’s programs. Previously, he lectured in the mba program of the Belgian business school Institut d’Administration et de Gestion. He chairs the board of directors of the American Chamber of Commerce in Belgium.
From a family of educators, Beardsley was born in Maine, grew up in Vermont and Alaska, and is a citizen of France and the United States. He and his wife, Claire Dufournet, have three sons.
In a letter to the Darden community announcing the appointment, Simon thanked the search committee, chaired by Darden Professor Kenneth M. Eades, for executing the global search, “which yielded a wealth of interest and talent from all corners of the globe.” He also expressed gratitude for the thoughtful advice he and Sullivan received from faculty, staff, students and alumni during the course of the search.
“The Darden community’s engagement and outpouring of energy and interest demonstrates that the school is well-positioned for the future,” he wrote. “After careful deliberation, we came to the confident conclusion that Scott Beardsley is the right person to lead the school forward.”
The Darden community will welcome Beardsley and his family at a special event of its traditional First Coffee on Jan. 20.