- IMD Business School
Jean-Francois Manzoni - IMD Business School
Jean-François Manzoni

President and Nestlé Chaired Professor of Leadership and Organizational Development

Jean-François Manzoni is President of IMD and Nestlé Chaired Professor of Leadership and Organizational Development. His research, teaching, and consulting activities are focused on leadership, the development of high-performance organizations, and corporate governance. In recent years he has been concentrating increasingly on ways to ensure leadership programs have lasting impact, particularly through the use of technology-mediated approaches.

At an organizational level, Manzoni studies the content of change (including the use of levers such as strategy, structure, and systems), the management of the change process, and the role of leaders therein. His work in this area has appeared in several books, articles, and over 30 cases – four of which received Case of the Year awards from The Case Centre (formerly the European Foundation for Management Development or the European Case Clearing House). He also acted as content expert in the development of the Change Pro Simulation®, a groundbreaking computer-based change management simulation.

Thankfully, a growing number of leaders understand that the question is no longer whether they should, but rather how they can ensure their organization’s financial success also contributes to a more sustainable and inclusive world. Our mission at IMD is to help them to make it happen.

At an individual level, he studies how leaders can create a caring, high-performance work environment. This stream of research has led to several articles and a book entitled The Set-Up to Fail Syndrome: How Good Managers Cause Great People to Fail (with Jean-Louis Barsoux). The book, which builds on Manzoni’s and Barsoux’s initial Harvard Business Review article introducing the term “set-up-to-fail syndrome”, received two Book of the Year awards, and is discussed in undergraduate, MBA, and executive development programs all over the world.

On the corporate governance side, Manzoni focuses on interpersonal dynamics within the boardroom and between management and the board. His research examining the impact of interpersonal dynamics on increasingly diverse boards of directors received the Research Award on Leadership and Corporate Governance from the Association of Executive Search Consultants.

A Fellow of the Singapore Institute of Directors, he currently serves on the board of Keppel Corporation, an international diversified group listed on the Singapore stock exchange (where he also chairs the nominations committee and is a member of the remuneration committee). He previously served on the Boards of AACSB International (the world’s largest business education alliance) and Singapore’s Civil Service College, among others.

Alongside these lifelong interests, Manzoni has also been increasingly interested in closing the growing managerial “knowing-doing gap”, i.e., the gap between what managers kind of know they should be doing and the extent to which they actually behave that way in practice. One aspect of this quest, accelerated by the COVID-19 crisis, has been exploring the role that technology can play in helping to design and deliver interventions that a) produce significant and lasting individual impact, and b) can be scaled effectively and efficiently to large numbers of individuals in order to build a real capability within the organization.

The recipient of several awards for excellence in teaching, Manzoni is Co-director of IMD’s signature program Orchestrating Winning Performance (OWP) and teaches on the High Performance Leadership (HPL) open program and Executive MBA (EMBA) course.

He re-joined IMD in 2016, having already served on the IMD faculty between 2004 and 2010 when he was Professor of Leadership and Organizational Development and Director of the their Breakthrough Program for Senior Executives (BPSE).

He previously served on the faculty of INSEAD in Singapore and Fontainebleau where he founded, and for four years directed, the PwC Research Initiative on High Performance Organizations. He later directed their Global Leadership Centre, supporting their leadership-related coaching, teaching, and research activities throughout the world.

A citizen of Canada and France, Manzoni received his doctorate from Harvard Business School. He had earlier graduated from L’École des hautes études commerciales de Montréal and worked with Ernst and Young in Montreal before receiving an MBA from McGill University.

Manzoni is a frequent keynote speaker and discussion partner for business leaders, including through the IMD CEO Dialogue Series in which he holds frank and insightful discussions with CEOs of various organizations. He has also performed consulting, top management team support, and leadership development work for several international organizations, which has led him to work in more than 30 countries over the years.

He currently serves on a number of International Advisory Panels of industry bodies (e.g., digitalswitzerland), academic institutions (e.g., EHL Hospitality Business School) and corporations (e.g., Novartis Culture Leadership Advisory Board).

Selected publications
Academic publications
Insight for Executives