Thomas A. Stewart is the Chief Marketing and Knowledge Officer (CMKO) of the global management consulting firm Booz & Company. Stewart most recently served as editor and managing director of Harvard Business Review, and is a best-selling author, an authority on intellectual capital and knowledge management, and an influential thought leader on global management issues and ideas.
During Stewart’s six years with Harvard Business Review, the magazine was a two-time finalist for general excellence in the National Magazine Awards, and received an “Eddie” in 2007 from Folio Magazine.
Previously, Stewart served as the editorial director for Business 2.0 and as a member of Fortune’s Board of Editors. He is the author of two books, Intellectual Capital: The New Wealth of Organizations, and The Wealth of Knowledge: Intellectual Capital and the 21st Century Organization, published by Doubleday Business in 1998 and 2003, respectively.
Stewart is a fellow of the World Economic Forum. He is a summa cum laude graduate of Harvard College, and holds an honorary Doctor of Science degree from Cass School of Business at City University, London.
Question: Beyond a simple title, how do you describe what you do for a living?
Tom Stewart: I’m the editor of the Harvard Business Review, and also its managing director, which means I’m in charge of both the editorial and the commercial sides of the magazine. The fundamental job … my fundamental job as the editor is to work with the staff – the other … the senior editors who work with me and for me – to produce that magazine every month … you know, nine articles plus other stuff in the magazine … and deliver that to a quarter of a million important decision makers in business. So the fundamental job is to put the magazine together. The job of which that … I mean that’s the work. The role – the job – is then to be engaged in a conversation with the staff, with business leaders, with academics – not only in business school but in other places – with experts about what the issues are that are most important to the men and women who are running important organizations. You know, we define our mission as “Improving the practice of management and its impact in a changing world.” And I’ve sort of sub-defined that and say we … we’re … we’re accomplishing our mission if we help people to become better leaders … if we help people see the future first … if we help peoples identify and solve their toughest problems … and if we help people know what really works as opposed as to what’s fat and bull shit.
Recorded on: 6/22/07