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Imperial Gets New Dean From Lisbon

Francisco Veloso becomes dean of Imperial Business School in August of 2017

Imperial College London yesterday (March 13) tapped the dean of a rival European school to the the new dean of its business school. Francisco Veloso, who has led Católica Lisbon School of Business and Economics as dean since 2012, will join Imperial on Aug. 1.

Imperial credited Veloso, a professor of innovation and entrepreneurship, with helping to make Portugal’s leading business school “an institution with international reach – now ranked among the top 25 Business Schools in Europe by The Financial Times. During his time as Dean, international students numbers have been multiplied several fold, while the school’s research presence in top international journals has doubled.”

He succeeds Nelson Phillips, a professor of entrepreneurship who has been acting dean since last summer when Anand Anandalingam stepped down from the post. Imperial slipped five places in the latest Poets&Quants‘ ranking of the best international full-time MBA programs, falling to 51th from 46th a year earlier.

Veloso leaves Lisbon after a difficult tumble in his school’s Financial Times ranking this year. Lisbon plunged 30 places to a rank of 70th on the newspapers global list from 40th last year. It was the steepest fall of any business school this year. Imperial also had a tough time of it, dropping 10 spots this year in the fT ranking to place 45th.


Walking into a rankings drop in the aftermath of Brexit, Veloso will have plenty to do to turnaround the school. Imperial’s full-time MBA program has a relatively small intake of about 65 students which makes it difficult to attract employers on-campus. So he will face a strategic decision on whether to expand enrollment at a time when the full-time MBA market is less robust. Veloso will need to more closely connect the one-year MBA program to the DNA of Imperial College and provide MBA students with a more significant global experience. Veloso will also have to do what few European schools have done successfully: Fundraising.

Imperial called Veloso a leading authority in innovation and entrepreneurship, whose research has focussed on how firms and regions develop and leverage science and technology for economic growth. His work has included studies into the development of Silicon Valley and into the innovation and scientific impact of developing nations.

He retains an adjunct appointment at Carnegie Mellon University, where he was tenured as a full professor earlier in his career. As a member of the Board of Directors of the Carnegie Mellon – Portugal Program he oversaw the establishment of a research funding initiative and dual PhD programs between Carnegie Mellon and several Portuguese universities. At Carnegie Mellon, he also led a university wide interdisciplinary program which equips students to harness technological change to drive innovation and entrepreneurship.


“I am truly honoured with this appointment and delighted to join such a world class institution,” Veloso said in a statement announcing his appointment. “The Imperial College Business School has achieved so much in its short history and is uniquely positioned for the future. The growing importance of technology-driven innovation and entrepreneurship across all business areas and fields is creating opportunities that fall squarely into the school and college strengths. I very much look forward to working with the community of faculty, alumni, students and staff to propel the Business School to even more greatness.”

Born in Lisbon, Veloso completed an undergraduate degree in Physics Engineering, before receiving his PhD in Technology Management and Policy from MIT in 2001. In 2008 he was awarded the Alfred P. Sloan Industry Studies Fellowship for research on innovation in the auto sector. Veloso’s expertise is prized by government and policy makers, acting as an advisor to both the Portuguese Government and to European Commissioner Carlos Moedas on innovation, entrepreneurship and industrial development.

Imperial Provost James Stirling also heaped praise on the appointment. “Francisco’s commitment to academic excellence, innovation and a global outlook make him the ideal person to head Imperial College Business School through its next stages of aspiration and growth,” Stirling said in a statement.

“His extraordinary leadership at Católica Lisbon saw the school flourish into an institution that is respected across Europe. His foresight and experience will be invaluable. I look forward to working with him to take the Business School from strength to strength.


About The Author

John A. Byrne is the founder and editor-in-chief of C-Change Media, publishers of Poets&Quants and four other higher education websites. He has authored or co-authored more than ten books, including two New York Times bestsellers. John is the former executive editor of Businessweek, editor-in-chief of Businessweek. com, editor-in-chief of Fast Company, and the creator of the first regularly published rankings of business schools. As the co-founder of CentreCourt MBA Festivals, he hopes to meet you at the next MBA event in-person or online.