Michael Arena appointed Dean of Crowell School of Business

Former Amazon and General Motors executive will join Biola as Crowell dean in July 2023.


Courtesy of Sarah Dougher

Michael Arena will join Biola as dean of the Crowell School of Business.

Hannah Larson , Editor-in-Chief

On July 1, 2023, former Amazon and General Motors Executive Dr. Michael Arena will step into the position of Dean of Biola’s Crowell School of Business. The current dean of Crowell, Gary Lindblad, announced his retirement last fall and will continue in the position through June 2023. 

“Dr. Arena comes to this post with vast experience in some of the most senior levels of executive leadership at Bank of America, General Motors, and, most recently, Amazon,” Provost and Senior Vice President Dr. Matthew Hall said in a Biola press release. “His expertise in talent development, strategic planning and innovation and organizational health stand out. But so too does his evident character, heartfelt concern for others and a love for Christ.” 


According to the Society for Human Resource Management, Arena earned his Ph.D in Organizational Dynamics from the Union Institute and Industry and served as a design thinking coach within the Stanford School. He spent two years with MIT’s Media Lab as a visiting scientist studying network theory. Arena worked as a professor at the University of Pennsylvania since June 2016 as a member of the Organizational Dynamics Faculty, according to his LinkedIn. Arena also wrote a book titled “Adaptive Space: How GM And Other Companies Are Positively Disrupting Themselves and Transforming Into Agile Organizations” based on his experience at General Motors. 

“I am pleased to welcome Dr. Michael Arena as our incoming dean,” President Barry Corey said in the press release. “His experience as a corporate executive, adjunct faculty member at University of Pennsylvania, author and innovator makes him an ideal leader at Biola University.” 

In a letter sent to all current students in the Crowell School of Business, Hall explained that he created a search advisory committee to select Lindblad’s successor in partnership with the CarterBaldwin search firm. Hall explained that Arena stood out from early on in the process due to his experience in high levels of executive leadership as well as his humility. 

“I have been struck by his humble spirit, his evident care for people as individuals and his ability to listen well,” Hall said in the letter. “He also demonstrates a heart for ministering to others and has used those passions to launch initiatives to invest in other leaders and in their spiritual and emotional health.”

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