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University of Tennessee

Eugene Soltes

Eugene Soltes

Jakurski Family Associate Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School

Eugene Soltes is the Jakurski Family Associate Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School where his research focuses on corporate misconduct and fraud, and how organizations design cultures and compliance systems to confront these challenges. He teaches in several of the school’s executive education programs and was the recipient of the Charles M. Williams Award for outstanding teaching.

Professor Soltes’ work on corporate misconduct and fraud culminated in the book Why They Do It: Inside the Mind of the White-Collar Criminal, which was described by Kirkus Reviews as “a groundbreaking study” on white-collar criminality. The book explores why often wealthy and successful executives engage in deception. The investigation draws on more than seven years of interaction with nearly fifty of the most high-profile former executives. The book refutes popular explanations of why seemingly successful executives engage in fraud and shows that most executives make decisions the way we all do―on the basis of intuitions and gut feelings. The trouble, Soltes shows, is that these gut feelings are often poorly suited for the modern business world and often lead to the harmful acts that we so often read about in the news.

At the organizational level, Professor Soltes examines how firms voluntarily disclose information to investors, employees, and regulators. This research has been published in leading finance, accounting, and economics journals and has resulted in numerous awards including the Hillcrest Behavioral Finance Award, California Corporate Finance Conference Award, and the Financial Research Association Best Paper Award.

Professor Soltes is a popular keynote speaker and frequently advises firms about their compliance programs and training. He is regularly invited to speak to regulators, including the Department of Justice, Securities and Exchange Commission, United States Treasury, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Professor Soltes’ research has been widely quoted by the media including in The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, The New York Times, NPR, and The Economist.

Prior to joining the faculty of the Harvard Business School, Professor Soltes received his PhD and MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, and his AM in statistics and AB in economics from Harvard University.