Switzerland’s IMD, one of the world’s top business schools for executive education, has hired a former member of its senior academic team to be its next president.
Jean-François Manzoni will begin a five-year term as head of the Lausanne-based school next January, returning to his former employer after five years teaching at Insead’s Singapore campus.
The appointment follows a succession process that started in summer 2015, and one of the new president’s most important challenges will be to maintain IMD’s success in the lucrative — but highly competitive — market for executive education.
Professor Manzoni’s experience at Insead includes jointly leading various executive education courses, including the school’s flagship International Directors Programme, aimed at board-level executives. He also co-founded its Leadership Excellence Through Awareness and Practice programme.
His teaching, research and consulting activities were focused on leadership, the development of high performance organisations and corporate governance. Prof Manzoni, who has both French and Canadian citizenship and is married with four sons, admitted that it was not an easy decision to return from Singapore, both professionally and for family reasons.
However, he added that his seven years teaching at IMD had been among the happiest in his life and the president’s job was too good an opportunity to miss.
“IMD is an organisation that is clear about what it is and what it does,” he said, praising the sense of a “shared destiny” both between faculty members and between academic and other staff, which he had experienced during his previous period at the school.
Mr Manzoni added there were several elements of Swiss life he was also looking forward to rediscovering on his return this September.
“One of the things I like about Switzerland is that things work, people are nice and there is a strong work ethic,” he said.
He will start teaching full time at IMD this autumn before taking up the president’s role at the beginning of 2017.