More than 2,000 students and alumni from ESCP Europe have signed a petition to protect the multi-campus school, amid fears that the Paris chamber of commerce (CCI) has plans to change its European strategy.
Concerns surfaced over the weekend as it emerged that Edouard Husson, dean of ESCP, had been summoned to a meeting on Monday at the CCI. Among the rumours were that the chamber planned to merge ESCP with Novancia, an undergraduate business school in Paris that specialises in teaching entrepreneurship, although these fears have now been largely allayed. However, the future of the school’s international strategy, and the future of its dean, are both unclear.
Using the hashtag #keeped, the student organisers launched and promoted the online petition, saying its goal was “to defend our heritage, our present identity and our project to change tomorrow’s world”.
The Paris CCI is in charge of the governance of ESCP, even though it provides just 15 per cent of the operating revenues. It is also in charge of appointing the dean.
Established in 1819, ESCP lays claim to being the world’s oldest business school. However, the modern day school was created in 1999 through the merger of ESCP and EAP Europe – both schools were funded by the Paris CCI, as was HEC Paris.
Today ESCP has campuses in Paris, London, Berlin, Madrid and Turin.
The chambers of commerce in France have come under pressure in recent years from the French government to cut their spending and the business schools have been seen as a relatively easy target. However, according to the president of the Paris CCI, Pierre-Antoine Gailly, “the CCI Paris Ile-de-France continues to provide its strong and unwavering support to ESCP Europe in its development plans and reaffirms its specific European identity”.
This article has been added to since initial publication.