Howard Naylor Fitzhugh (October 31, 1909 (Washington D. C.) – July 26, 1992 (Yonkers, New York)) was one of the first African American graduates of Harvard Business School and is also credited with creating the concept of target marketing.
Fitzhugh earned a full Scholarship to Harvard at the age of sixteen while still a student at Dunbar High School. Fitzhugh, intent on becoming a doctor, studied the sciences and graduated cum laude from Harvard University in 1930. Three years later, he earned his MBA from Harvard Business School (HBS), Class of '33. Despite his excellent academic performance, Fitzhugh could not find work in his field and returned to his native Washington, D.C., to teach a business course at Howard University. This was only supposed to be a temporary position, but Fitzhugh taught at Howard University for 31 years teaching marketing and management. At Howard, he developed the university's marketing program, organized its Small-Business Center and advised the student marketing association for many years. One of the many students whose business careers he influenced was his former (Howard University) research assistant, Lillian Lincoln Lambert, who was the first African-American woman to graduate from Harvard Business School 1969.
In 1965, Fitzhugh accepted a marketing position at the Pepsi-Cola Company. He worked in establishing the African-American community as a lucrative mass market and created the concept of target marketing in corporate America. He eventually became Vice President for Special Markets at Pepsi.
In 1974, Black Enterprise named him the "Dean of Black Business." The following year, Vice President Nelson A. Rockefeller presented Fitzhugh with a special black enterprise achievement award. Fitzhugh was also a founding member and past president of the National Association of Market Developers, aimed at black consumers, and acted as a consultant for major corporations and, from 1975 to 1981, for the Census Bureau. He helped to found the Black Alumni Association at HBS and become its first chairman in 1978.
Fitzhugh died at the age of 82 in July 1992 at New York University Medical Center. After his death, HBS established an endowed professorship in Fitzhugh’s name. Pepsi also created a fellowship at Harvard University which enable students from Howard University and other historically and predominantly black colleges and universities to attend Harvard Business School.