Edouard Husson, dean of ESCP Europe

Edouard Husson has stepped down as dean of ESCP Europe following more than a week of intrigue and political wranglings.

The dean of the pan-European school was summoned to the Paris chamber of commerce and industry (CCI) more than a week ago, but it was early this morning that CCI Paris Île-de-France announced his departure, to be replaced by interim dean Pierre Koch, secretary general of ESCP and a non-academic.

CCI Paris Île-de-France, which was created through the merger of the Paris and Versailles chambers of commerce, oversees all three of the top-ranked business schools in the Paris region - HEC Paris, Essec and ESCP - as well as the undergraduate business school Novancia. The appointment of the dean at ESCP, which lays claim to be the world’s oldest business school, is determined by the CCI.

Prof Husson’s departure will reactivate concerns among students and alumni about CCI’s plans for the school. Last week nearly 2,500 students signed a petition to lobby against any future changes to the school’s pan-European strategy - ESCP has campuses in Paris, London, Berlin, Madrid and Turin. However, in a statement the CCI confirmed its commitment to ESCP’s distinct European identity, plans for digital and pedagogical innovation, and the launch of a bachelor programme.

Prof Husson was seen as a breath of fresh air when he was appointed as dean of ESCP less than two years ago. A history professor, he was previously vice-chancellor of the Universities of Paris and adviser to the French Minister of Higher Education and Research.

The frontrunner to replace Prof Husson as dean is likely to be Delphine Manceau, dean of European executive education at ESCP.

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