Megan Pierson, senior associate provost and senior university counsel at Stanford since 2006, has been appointed chief of staff to President Marc Tessier-Lavigne, effective Feb. 1.
As chief of staff, Pierson will advise the president on a wide variety of special projects, initiatives and executive duties and will serve as a liaison between the president and various stakeholders.
“Megan has already provided me with a deep perspective on Stanford’s operations. As a long-time employee and an alum she is dedicated to the campus community and will be a caring, responsive partner for students, faculty, staff, alumni, donors and the broader community in their interactions with my office,” Tessier-Lavigne said. “With Megan’s appointment, we are consolidating our team and ready to move forward on a host of university initiatives, including our long-range planning efforts.”
Pierson has been interim deputy chief of staff since Tessier-Lavigne took office on Sept. 1, together with Roberta Katz serving as interim chief of staff. Katz, who served as associate vice president for strategic planning under President John Hennessy, will remain in the Office of the President and continue working with Tessier-Lavigne and Pierson in the specific areas of student relations and strategic planning.
Katz had agreed to be temporary chief of staff to help onboard the new president, putting on temporary hold a research project to improve understanding of the cultural norms and values of so-called Generation Z. With Pierson’s appointment, Katz will be able to resume this project. “I want to thank Roberta for her expert help in getting me started and her willingness to continue focusing on student relations and university strategy going forward,” Tessier-Lavigne said.
Pierson has served dual roles since joining the Stanford administration in 2006, working on both academic and administrative matters across the university. As senior associate provost for faculty affairs, she worked for the provost, leading the team responsible for university policies on faculty appointments and various other academic matters. As senior university counsel working for the general counsel, she provided legal and strategic advice for the university’s online education initiative and for international teaching, research and service activities. She will continue in these roles on a part-time basis while successors are appointed.
“I am immensely grateful for the opportunities I have had to work with dedicated staff, faculty and leaders,” Pierson said. “I am excited about the opportunity to support Marc, the new leadership team and the broader university community in service to the mission and values of Stanford.”
Before assuming her current position with Stanford, Pierson served in general counsel positions with two publicly held communications companies and previously as a partner at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP. In those roles she advised clients on a broad variety of legal issues, including operational concerns, strategic initiatives and mergers and acquisitions, including the $70 billion Verizon Wireless joint venture.
Pierson received her bachelor’s degree (with distinction) from Stanford University and her J.D. from the University of Southern California.