The announcement that iconic French car maker Citroen has appointed Linda Jackson as its CEO caused more surprise, in the press, because she is British than because she is a woman.
Encouragingly, with General Motors now run by female chief executive Mary Barra, gender is no longer a surprise. And Jackson’s suitability for the job was not in question after her successful stint as Citroen’s UK & Ireland boss where she reduced discounts, boosted vehicle sales and created a positive relationship with dealers and customers alike.
So why was her selection as a Brit greeted with surprise? Presumably this was due to an old misconception that French businesses are more xenophobic than others. In fact France has a particularly strong record as far as developing global businesses and looking outside its frontiers.
Building on this record HEC, the leading French business school, has opened a representative office in London earlier this year, to increase the pipeline of students joining HEC programs and develop corporate and university relations locally.
HEC has a long established record in spreading high quality executive education globally, but this is a timely move just as the school has been ranked #1 by The Financial Times in its 2014 annual rankings of business schools for the provision of executive education for senior managers and executives.
HEC has already been offering a complete portfolio of executive education management programs out of Doha in Qatar since 2010, including an executive MBA, a specialized master degree in strategic business unit management, as well as open enrolment courses for executives in the region – and custom programs for individual companies.
In China, HEC has launched its HEC Executive MBA in 2007 – a degree accredited by the Chinese Ministry of Education and delivered by local HEC teams in Beijing and Shanghai. Custom programs for regional and global corporations are also designed in partnership with leading Chinese universities such as Tsinghua and CEIBS.
HEC’s executive education outreach is well established in Africa, where an active network of executive clubs has been developed in Western and Central Africa – effectively building a network of leaders in the region that has now around 200 members.
Local needs for high quality management programs also present themselves in the economies undergoing transformation in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, such as Poland, Lithuania and Kazakhstan, where HEC has developed degree programs in collaboration with local universities, governments and businesses.
2014 FT Rankings of Business Schools for Executive Education