Wharton’s Barbara Kahn Named 2019-21 MSI Executive Director

At the Fall 2018 Trustees Meeting, Barbara Kahn, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, was announced as MSI Executive Director for 2019-2021. She succeeds Carl Mela, The Fuqua School of Business, Duke University, and will begin her MSI appointment in July 2019.

Barbara is the Patty and Jay H. Baker Professor of Marketing at The Wharton School. She is an internationally recognized scholar on variety seeking, brand loyalty, retail assortment issues, and patient decision-making whose research provides marketers a better understanding of the consumer choice process.

As Executive Director, she will partner with MSI leadership to ensure that MSI’s research program continues to meet the ever-changing needs of today’s marketers.

“With her deep connections to top academics as well as companies leading change in the retail sector, Barbara will bring a unique perspective to the Institute as we continue to build innovative programs and initiatives that deliver value to our corporate members,” said CEO Cheryl Toto.

“I am delighted that Barbara will be the next Executive Director,” said Carl Mela. “She is an outstanding scholar whose work is highly esteemed by marketing academics and practitioners.” 

From 2007-2011, Barbara was Dean and Schein Family Chair Professor of Marketing at the School of Business Administration, University of Miami, and before that, she was Dorothy Silberberg Professor of Marketing at The Wharton School. She is past president of the Association of Consumer Research (ACR), is an ACR and Society of Consumer Psychology (SCP) fellow and has served on editorial boards and published numerous articles in leading academic journals.

She is the author of several books, most recently, The Shopping Revolution: How Successful Retailers Win Customers in an Era of Endless Disruption. Her research has been highly impactful in the marketing community and has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, NPR, Forbes, the New York Times, the Financial Times, “Today Show”, and many other outlets.

A long-time friend of MSI, Barbara has co-authored several working papers, served as a reviewer, and spoken at or chaired numerous MSI conferences. She was an Academic Trustee from 1998 to 2004.

“I believe deeply in the value of MSI to unite academics and industry in creating really meaningful research,” she said in a videotaped address to Trustees at the recent Board of Trustees meeting. “I think Cheryl and I have a similar vision of the leadership role MSI can play in the future, and I’m excited to explore the possibilities.”

The Shopping Revolution: How Successful Retailers Win Customers in an Era of Endless Disruption
Barbara E. Kahn [Book] (2018)


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