Alan M. Garber, an economist and physician who is Harvard’s provost and chief academic officer, will now serve as its interim president.

The Harvard Corporation described Dr. Garber as “a distinguished and wide-ranging scholar” in a statement on Tuesday. “We are fortunate to have someone of Alan’s broad and deep experience, incisive judgment, collaborative style, and extraordinary institutional knowledge to carry forward key priorities and to guide the university through this interim period,” the Corporation said.

Dr. Garber, who was appointed provost in 2011, has a Ph.D. in economics from Harvard and an M.D. from Stanford. He is a member of the Association of American Physicians, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine.

Lawrence H. Summers, a former Harvard president and former Treasury secretary, said in an email that Dr. Garber, “who is universally liked, admired, and respected, is a superb choice as interim president.”

In an interview with The Harvard Crimson in November, Dr. Garber said that he regretted the university’s initial statement in response to the war in Israel and Gaza. The statement was denounced by politicians, academics and Jewish groups who said that it did not condemn Hamas strongly enough, and he spoke positively about a more forceful statement that followed from Dr. Gay, which condemned Hamas for “terrorist atrocities.”

Dr. Garber added that the crisis over the university’s response to the war has been the most serious that Harvard has faced during his tenure as provost.

“The community was immediately divided, and that is not true of every crisis that we face,” he told The Crimson. “It is a combustible situation, and one in which many people are grieving.”

According to the Harvard Corporation, Dr. Garber will serve as president “until a new leader for Harvard is identified and takes office.”

Anemona Hartocollis contributed reporting.

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