London Business School Dean To Step Down Early; Search Begins For Replacement

London Business School Dean François Ortalo-Magné

London Business School Dean François Ortalo-Magné will step down at the end of the 2023-2024 academic year

London Business School is looking for a new dean, a year earlier than expected.

François Ortalo-Magné, dean of the UK’s premier B-school since 2017, announced today (October 9) that he will step down at the end of the 2023-2024 academic year to return to the classroom. LBS’ ninth dean since its foundation, Ortalo-Magné will join the B-school’s faculty as a professor of management practice next year, teaching in the MBA and executive education programs while also serving in an advisory capacity to the new dean as executive dean of external relations.

“By this summer, I’ll have been in post for seven years, relaunching the LBS brand, navigating the Covid years and establishing a strategic five-year plan,” Ortalo-Magné says in the school’s announcement. “The foundations and the talent are in place with great momentum towards exciting times ahead. So, it is now the right moment for me to pass the baton to a new leader for this remarkable school.”

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story stated that Ortalo-Magné’s departure would be three years before the end of his term; when he leaves at the end of the current academic year it will be one year before the official end of his second term. 


London Business School Dean François Ortalo-Magné

London Business School Dean François Ortalo-Magné: “I look forward to sharing my passion for impactful research with new generations of curious minds keen to benefit from our world-leading research and faculty”

Ortalo-Magné came to London Business School from Wisconsin Business School, where he was dean for five years after joining the school as a professor in 2011. Before joining Wisconsin’s faculty, Ortalo-Magné, whose main research focus was on real estate and housing markets, was a tenured faculty member in the economics department at the London School of Economics. He received a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Minnesota in 1995 and a master’s in agricultural engineering and management from France’s Ecole Supérieure d’Agriculture de Purpan in 1990.

Ortalo-Magné began his first term as LBS dean in August 2017 and won a second term that began in August 2022. Among his accomplishments in the LBS deanship, he presided over London Business School’s No. 1 rankings in The Financial Times’ prestigious annual list in 2018 and 2019; however, the school has been in a bit of a rankings free-fall since then, sinking to 8th in 2022 and another eight places, to 16th, in 2023. LBS ranked 9th in Poets&Quants‘ latest international schools list, down six spots in a year.

Ortalo-Magné’s success as LBS dean might better be gauged by the status of the fundraising campaign Forever Forward, which launched in November 2022. The school reports “significant progress” toward the campaign’s initial target of £200 million over five years, having reached more than half of the scholarship goal of £60 million — a fact credited with boosting the school to its highest-ever proportion of women students in the full-time MBA this fall. A web page dedicated to the campaign shows the school has raised a total of £71.4 million after approximately 11 months, nearly half of which (£34.2 million) is earmarked for scholarships, along with £11.5 million for research and £21.3 million for “innovation”.

The outgoing dean is also credited with overseeing a surge in new business for his school: Last year, LBS revenues for executive education and degree education reportedly reached their highest-ever level. And, LBS reports, innovation has not faltered under his leadership, with a new Innovation & Transformation team supported by philanthropy and serving as a “real catalyst of progress around the school,” Ortalo-Magné says.


David Pyott, chair of London Business School’s Governing Body, says the panel has approved a global search for Ortalo-Magné’s successor, with an appointment expected to be announced in early 2024.

“As dean, I’ve loved every interaction with our students, alumni, and executives,” Ortalo-Magné says. “I look forward to sharing my passion for impactful research with new generations of curious minds keen to benefit from our world-leading research and faculty. LBS attracts such wonderful diverse talent and I’m so grateful for all the support I’ve received from colleagues, our alumni and friends of the school. Special thanks to my wife, Sondra, who’s been at my side as we have served the school together.

“The school will be celebrating its 60th anniversary next year, a great opportunity to celebrate our history and fuel the impact yet to come. I look forward to supporting the next dean, our chair, David (Pyott), and our community. Onwards.”

Adds Pyott: “Dean François has made major contributions to the long-term strength of London Business School during his tenure. It has been and will continue to be a pleasure to work with a dean who is committed to improvement in performance and reputation of LBS as a leading global business school.”


Ortalo-Magné’s time as LBS dean will be largely remembered as a period of extreme turmoil caused by the worldwide coronavirus pandemic that disrupted all B-school functions from the classroom to research to fundraising from early 2020 and well into 2021. LBS’ dean reflected on Covid-19’s impact in an interview with P&Q in May 2021:

“Covid came in two steps because we have a campus in Dubai,” he said. “We had about 10 days in between the two but, we did the same as everyone else, and switched to online. We did not find a way to substitute the face-to-face experience,” he added, but said he believes that the education LBS provided was “just as impactful” as in normal times.

“One thing that surprised us was how certain audiences engage much better online actually than face-to-face. As a school, we do a lot of executive education, and a number of clients told us that they have never experienced their introverted employees being as engaged as they were during the pandemic. That is something that we will keep integrated in what we do, because, again, it is part of diversity and being more inclusive and allowing people to thrive.”

Mulling the long-term impact of the pandemic to the MBA degree, Ortalo-Magné said, “I see employer demand, and prospect demand. I don’t know how many MBAs the world needs, but there is a demand.”

What is the value? That depends on the MBA.

“If you want academic rigor, if you want diversity, if you’re open and curious to be inspired to different perspectives on yourself in the world, then yes, an LBS MBA can be for you. If you want an MBA because you want the toolkit, you know where you want to go and you want tools to achieve that, then there are better and more efficient ways to achieve that.” The LBS MBA, he stressed, is a “deeper, transformational journey.”


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