- IMD Business School
News Stories · Leadership

IMD initiates an early leadership transition

President Jean-François Manzoni will step down two years early at the end of 2024, following a few months of transition with his future successor.
October 2023

Jean-François Manzoni’s tenure as IMD President started in January 2017. In the summer of 2020, his mandate was renewed for five years (2022-2026) with an understanding that if circumstances enabled it, an early transition might be considered.

“In the academic world, unlike the private sector,” said Manzoni, “leadership successions tend to be determined by the timing of (typically five-year) mandates. While this approach may well lead to acceptable outcomes on average, there is no reason to believe that it always leads to optimal timing, as optimal timing should take into account dimensions like the level of energy and commitment of the current leader, the evolution of the competencies/capabilities required by the job and the level of readiness of potential successors.”

In our case, I proposed to the Board to bring the transition forward by two years to enable me to move back to a faculty role and to enable IMD to name a younger, more technology-savvy leader who will have a 10-year runway to lead IMD to new heights.”

IMD Supervisory Board Chairman Michel Demaré explained: “While it is fair to say that the Supervisory Board would have been delighted for Jean-François to complete his mandate, we understand his reasons and, very importantly, we agree that the circumstances are indeed supportive of a late 2024 transition at the helm of IMD.

“The Institute came out of the COVID crisis in a very strong and very promising position, with several years of innovation and investments paying off in terms of revenue growth, quality of program design and delivery, faculty attraction and retention and overall R&D performance.  We also believe that the school has a clear and appealing Vision 2030, as well as a group of faculty and staff members who will be willing and able to step up and lead the Institute’s progress toward this Vision.”

The IMD Supervisory Board and Faculty Representative on the Foundation Board will lead the search process over the next few months, with the goal of identifying the next President by next summer and enabling an effective hand-over of activities and relationships to the incoming President.

“We are deeply grateful to Jean-François Manzoni for his leadership over the last seven years,” said Michel Demaré. “His commitment to the Institute and its stakeholders has been admirable, and we know that he will continue to give it 100% of his energy until his last day as President. IMD is deeply committed to the notion of stewardship – the idea that leaders must pass on to their successors an even stronger organization than they found – and this is exactly what we will all be working toward.”

Manzoni concurred: “The last test of a leader is how they pass the baton to the next generation of leaders. I look forward to being succeeded by a great leader and a great team, who will bring to the job the right capabilities for the future and a 10-year time horizon ahead of them.  We will work together to ensure a great transition that will help the new team to hit the ground running and take us to new heights. I will then return to the professorial ranks, supporting our new leadership team and continuing to contribute – as a faculty member – to IMD’s mission and success.

There will be time then for me to look back on eight years at the helm of IMD and to give detailed thanks to a great many individuals. That will be then.  In the meantime, there is a lot of work to be done over the coming 15 months. I know I can count on the support of all components of the IMD community including alumni, faculty and staff, to keep doing our very best, individually and collectively, to continue to challenge what is and inspire what could be to develop leaders and organizations that contribute to a more prosperous, sustainable and inclusive world.”