After a four-month international search, HEC Paris has chosen to make its interim Dean Eloïc Peyrache the winner of a process that led to five final candidates for its deanship.
Peyrache, who has been a professor of economics at HEC Paris for nearly 18 years, competed against one other unidentified internal candidate as well as three from outside the school, emerging as “a clear favorite” by a 12-member recruitment committee assisted by the search firm Korn Ferry.
He took over on an interim basis in October after Peter Todd announced that he would step down from his job to focus more fully on his recovery after being diagnosed with a brain tumor 18 months earlier. In one of his final interviews, Todd spoke with Poets&Quants just before he left the job he had held since July of 2015. Peyrache’s full-time term officially began Jan. 18th and will run until June 20, 2025.
HEC PARIS RECENTLY NAMED TOP BUSINESS SCHOOL IN EUROPE FOR SECOND YEAR IN A ROW
A charismatic leader who is passionate about education and convinced that business schools must have a key impact in society, Peyrache will be assuming the leadership of the school at a time when the school is riding high. In December, HEC Paris was named the top business school in Europe for the second year in a row by The Financial Times. HEC’s full-time MBA program, ranked third best in Europe by the FT and ninth in the world. The school also made a 10-point jump in The Economist’s 2019 ranking to place 3rd in the world. Under Todd, the school adopted three major themes of differentiation, placing bigger bets on entrepreneurship, digital transformation and social responsibility.
Well before being named interim dean, Peyrache had been assuming a larger public role at the school while serving as the head of degree programs. When HEC Paris’ Foundation announced its 2019-2024 fundraising campaign at the end of 2019, it was Peyrache who was front and center, not Todd in a promotional video for the effort.
Peyrache recently provided Poets&Quants with his New Year’s resolution. “After a very difficult year for everyone, there is a strong need to unleash the magic and making sure that a business school like HEC Paris is part of the solution,” he said. “We will do so by investing even more in research that will change the world, be it around AI, climate change or new modes of leadership. We will do so by making the sense of purpose – of the HEC community and of business at large – decisive. We will do so by transforming our students into entrepreneurs of change.”
THE NEW DEAN JOINED HEC PARIS IN 2003 AS AN ECONOMICS PROFESSOR
The search for a new dean began quietly in September of last year. It was led by Daniel Bernard, president of HEC Paris’ Governance Committee. “Thanks to the school’s international reputation and the all-encompassing nature of the post – Dean and Director General – this recruitment campaign received highly-qualified candidacies corresponding to the academic criteria of excellence and managerial experience which the recruitment committee had fixed itself,” according to a statement from the school. “After a rigorous four-month procedure, five final candidates – three external and two internal – were interviewed in Paris by the Recruitment Committee. In the course of the interviews – which were notable for the richness and depth of the exchanges with each candidate –, the candidacy of Eloïc Peyrache emerged as a clear favorite.”
Peyrache began his career at HEC in 2003. An associate professor in economics, Peyrache held several leading positions in the HEC group since he gained tenure in 2009. He was appointed associate dean of the Master in Management (Grande Ecole program) in 2009. Those duties were extended to the pre-experience Masters portfolio (15 masters programs) in 2010. He also led HEC initiatives on Equal Opportunity Policy and on Entrepreneurship since 2014.
In February of 2019, he was appointed dean of programs. In that role, he had overall responsibility for the development and management of the entire portfolio of HEC academic programs including the pre-experience programs (Grande Ecole, MS and MSc), the MBA, executive degree programs and executive education. Since 2011, he has also been a member of the French commission for the evaluation of French Business Schools at the Ministry of Higher Education and Research.
A FOCUS ON THREE THEMES: ENTREPRENEURSHIP, DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION & SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
Peyrache graduated from Ecole Normale Supérieure at Paris-Saclay. He holds an economy agrégation, a master’s in mathematical economy and econometry from the Toulouse School of Economics (TSE) and a doctorate in economy. His research is in the field of contract theory and more specifically on information transmission in intermediation markets.
“The Board of Directors of the school is delighted with this nomination and would like to assure Eloïc Peyrache and all the school’s staff of its total confidence in their capacity to address the numerous challenges in the years to come,” according to the school’s statement.
Before stepping down, Todd told Poets&Quants he believes the school has made significant progress in its three themes of entrepreneurship, digital transformation and social responsibility. “I think we have seen over the last five years we have made big advancements in each one of those things,” said Todd, “whether that is new degree programs, a joint degree with our engineering school in digital transformation, the opening of our incubator in the center of Paris, or the creation of our new purposeful leadership tracks in our MBA program that are around the social responsibility theme. The next challenge is how those three things connect together…to give our students and ourselves the opportunity to have more impact out in the broader community.”