- IMD Business School
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Luigi Dusmet de Smours 1927-2020

April 2020

IMD regrets the passing of Luigi Dusmet de Smours  on April 1 , 2020. He was 93.

Luigi was appointed Dean of IMEDE in 1967 . He had previously honed a career in academic administration within the University of California system.

His twelve year tenure proved to be transformational and served to provide the foundation upon which IMD stands today. The Annual Program, a unique Executive Development experience of nine months duration offered by IMEDE since its establishment in 1957 was succeeded in 1972 by the nineteen week Program for Executive Development (PED) which was offered twice a year. In addition IMEDE welcomed its first MBA participants in January of the same year. The seventies saw the expansion of IMEDE’s program portfolio to include a small number of Open Enrolment Programs of various duration which complemented the Seminar for Senior Executives launched earlier. These offerings were enhanced, on occasion,  by  customized programs commissioned by a handful of clients.

Marketing was formalised while the statutes of the IMEDE International Alumni Association (IIAA) were modified such as to expand membership  of the Association to include AP, PED and MBA Graduates as well as participants in the longer open enrolment offerings. Local Chapters began to proliferate globally.

Until 1972 IMEDE had depended on recruiting Visiting Faculty from Business Schools around the world, although predominantly from  within North America. They served on one or two year contracts. In 1972 the Institution began to recruit a number of younger European faculty who were anticipated  to remain for a longer period of time. However the concept of a career faculty was not formalised until 1978. It was at this time that the forerunner of IMD’s Pension Fund was established.

Luigi was a dapper individual and his office bore out his fastidiousness, “a place for everything  and everything in its place “. For any meeting his desk would be clear of all but the pertinent documents. He participated in the impromptu volleyball games after lunch but set an example to participants and faculty alike as to when it was time to get back to work. Games stopped promptly on the hour. He was also an avid tennis player. What he lacked in skill was more than compensated for by guile and enthusiasm.

A thinly veiled caricature of Luigi appears in Nick Morrison’s novel “ Intercept”, which is set at a mythical Business School located in Lausanne. Morrison is a PED Alumnus. In describing in detail the opening of a five month Executive Program, the School’s Dean delivers Luigi’s immortal words, “Absences are never excused; they are, at best, explained.” During his tenure Luigi missed very few openings and repeated these words every time.

Luigi, along with his second wife Mimmi, went to extraordinary lengths to insure that faculty, participants and their families felt settled in Lausanne. Each participant  group was invited to their home, a spacious apartment in the Château d’ Echandens, while Graduations , particularly those in the Spring,  were festive community celebrations.

Upon leaving IMEDE Luigi became a partner in an Executive Search firm based in Zurich before moving on to become Head of Human Resources at Nestlé. By then the majority of  his senior colleagues were IMEDE alumni, many of whom  he had known as participants during his  tenure.