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After close to a decade of discussion, two of France’s most highly-regarded business schools have announced a formal merger. Reims Management School, famous for its focus on the champagne business, and Rouen Business School already run joint degree programmes and an executive education campus in Paris.

The merger follows similar moves by several other French grandes écoles. Ceram Business School and Groupe ESC Lille formed Skema in November 2009, and BEM Management School Bordeaux and Euromed Management in Marseille announced plans to merge in January 2012, for example.

The impetus behind the series of mergers is both a growing recognition that business schools need to be of a larger scale to compete globally and the growing problem of funding - the grandes écoles are traditionally funded by the local chambers of commerce, which are themselves being merged.

One issue which gave rise to widespread speculation in France over the merger was who would be in charge of the new school. It has been announced that Yves Bénard, former chairman of Reims Management School, will be chairman of the new school and Frank Bostyn, who was the project manager for the merger, will be its dean. There will be further announcements in May.

In the Financial Times Masters in Management rankings, Rouen Business School was ranked 19th in the world in 2012 for its grandes école programme and Reims Management School was ranked 25th.

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