Thomas J. Tierney

Chairman and Co-founder

Tom Tierney’s personal mission is to serve exceptional individuals and organizations to help them achieve breakthrough social impact. His professional experience spans a wide range: CEO, social entrepreneur, author, teacher, philanthropic advisor, and consultant. Over the past few decades, Tom’s work has generally focused in the areas of philanthropy and leadership, with a naturally strategic and intensely pragmatic orientation. He remains a creative, curious and avid learner.

Tom joined Bain & Company in 1980, and became partner three years later. From 1987 to 1992, he served as the Managing Director of Bain’s San Francisco office. In 1992, as the firm completed a management buyout, Tom became Bain’s president, reporting directly to acting CEO Mitt Romney. In 1993, Tom assumed full leadership responsibilities as Bain’s first Worldwide Managing Director. Under his leadership, Bain grew its revenues six-fold, while significantly expanding its global operations.

In 2000, Tom left his position as Bain’s CEO to co-found The Bridgespan Group, an independent nonprofit focused on helping philanthropists and nonprofit leaders achieve breakthrough results—while simultaneously generating practical knowledge shared freely across the social sector. In addition to nurturing Bridgespan’s growth and innovation, Tom concentrates on building platforms that will further enhance the flow and effectiveness of philanthropic funding. He also privately advises a select number of extraordinary philanthropists and nonprofit leaders.

Tom has co-authored two books, Aligning the Stars, published in April 2002 by Harvard Business School Press and Give Smart: Philanthropy That Gets Results, published in March 2011 by Public Affairs. He has written numerous articles, delivered countless speeches and been privileged to lecture at many fine universities, including Harvard and Stanford. Tom led the production of Conversations with Remarkable Givers, an unprecedented collection of insightful videos, drawn from dozens of interviews with philanthropists and foundation leaders.

Thomas Tierney was born in San Francisco, California. He received his BA in Economics with highest distinction from the University of California at Davis, where he worked his way through school. Upon graduation, he worked as bus driver, before landing a job as a field engineer for Bechtel in North Africa. He subsequently earned an MBA with distinction from the Harvard Business School. Tom was the fifth person to hold the class of 1951 Chair for the Study of Leadership at West Point; honorably following Jim Collins and coach “K” (Krzyzewski) in service of this outstanding institution. In 2016, he was the recipient of Harvard Business School’s esteemed Alumni Achievement Award.

Tom currently serves as Chair of eBay, Inc. as well as Chair of the Harvard Business School Social Enterprise Initiative. He has served on the boards of many accomplished nonprofit organizations, most recently as Chair of The Nature Conservancy, and Chair of Stanford’s Hoover Institution.

Tom is the proud father of two sons, Colin and Braden, and considers his wife of 36 years, Karen, his best friend and closest advisor.

Publications

Videos

Effective Philanthropy 


Univ. of Oxford, Rothermere American Institute

05/07/2014 | 43 mins

Effective Philanthropy 


The Bridgespan Group

07/26/2011 | 3 mins

Effective Philanthropy 


California Community Foundation

07/27/2011 | 3.5 mins