Jean-Francois Manzoni: Biography highlights

Academic specialising in leadership, change and organisational development Jean-Francois Manzoni is the INSEAD Professor of Leadership and Organisational Development where he helps leaders to face the challenges that confront them more effectively.

Full biography of Jean-Francois Manzoni

About Jean-Francois Manzoni

Jean-Francois Manzoni is a skilled speaker and persuasive expert who will work with his audience to help them face their challenges and give practical techniques for reshaping management culture.

He is the President (Dean) of IMD, where he also serves as the Nestlé Professor. His research, teaching, and consulting activities are focused on leadership, the development of high-performance organizations and corporate governance.

He studies the content of change (including the use of levers such as strategy, structure and systems), the management of the change process and the role of leaders therein. His work in this area has appeared in several books, articles and over 30 cases, four of which received Case of the Year Awards from the European Foundation for Management Development or the European Case Clearing House. He also acted as content expert in the development of a ground-breaking computer-based change management simulation, the Change Pro Simulation®.

Professor Manzoni studies how leaders can create a high-performance work environment and what they can do to modify their leadership style in that direction. This stream of research has led to several articles and a book entitled The Set-Up to Fail Syndrome: How good managers cause great people to fail (Harvard Business School Press, with Jean-Louis Barsoux). This book, which built on Manzoni’s and Barsoux’s initial Harvard Business Review article introducing the term “set-up-to-fail syndrome”, received two Book of the Year awards and is being discussed in undergraduate, MBA and executive development programs all over the world.

Jean-François Manzoni also focuses on interpersonal dynamics within the Boardroom and between management and the Board. Ongoing research examining the impact of interpersonal dynamics on increasingly diverse Boards of Directors received the 2011 Research Award on Leadership & Corporate Governance from the Association of Executive Search Consultants. A Fellow of the Singapore Institute of Directors, Professor Manzoni served for two years on the Board of Singapore’s Civil Service College (2015-2017) and from January 2018 will serve on the Board of AACSB International, the world’s largest business education alliance.

Jean-François Manzoni has Canadian and French citizenship and has a Doctorate from Harvard Business School. He had earlier graduated from l’Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales de Montréal and worked with Ernst and Young in Montreal before receiving an MBA from McGill University.

Prior to re-joining IMD in 2016, he spent 5 years on INSEAD’s Singapore campus where he founded and directed the LEAP programme (for Leadership Excellence through Awareness and Practice), a ground-breaking modular leadership development programme for senior executives. Between January 2011 and September 2013 he also directed the Global Leadership Centre supporting INSEAD’s leadership-related coaching, teaching and research activities throughout the world. Prior to that, Professor Manzoni had spent seven years at IMD (2004-2010), where he served as Professor of Leadership and Organisational Development and directed, among other programmes, IMD’s Breakthrough Program for Senior Executives.

He had earlier spent twelve years on the faculty of INSEAD (Fontainebleau), where he founded and directed the PwC Research Initiative on High Performance Organizations (funded by a €5 million grant from PriceWaterhouseCoopers, at the time the largest corporate donation ever received by the school).

He is the recipient of several awards for excellence in teaching, Professor Manzoni is a frequent keynote speaker. He has also delivered consulting, top management team support and leadership development work for several international organisations, which has led him to work in more than thirty countries over the years.

Professor Manzoni is a member of several International Advisory Panels, including the Human Capital Leadership Institute and Singapore’s Public Service Division.

Current/Past Roles and Positions

  • Co-author of the influential book ‘The Set-Up To Fail Syndrome’
  • Professor of Management Practice, Human Resources and
  • Organisational Development at INSEAD
  • Director of the INSEAD Global Leadership Centre

Speaking Style

  • Amusing, educational, informal, interactive and passionate.


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LEAP: Leadership Excellence through Awareness and Practice
LEAP: Leadership Excellence through Awareness and Practice

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