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Francine Lafontaine to Be Recommended as Interim Dean of Michigan Ross


Francine Lafontaine, associate dean for Business+Impact and William Davidson Professor of Business Administration at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business, will step in as the business school’s interim dean, effective May 24, subject to the University of Michigan’s Board of Regents’ approval at the virtual May 20 meeting.

Lafontaine succeeds Scott DeRue, Edward J. Frey Dean at Michigan Ross, who will step down on May 23 to move to an executive position in the private sector.

“Professor Lafontaine combines her commitments to education and research with a deep dedication to the success of her faculty colleagues and students at Michigan Ross,” said Susan M. Collins, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at U-M. “As interim dean, she will lead the school in furthering its work to ensure that business has a positive impact in the world and assuring continued work toward its goals of diversity and inclusion.”

Lafontaine began her academic career as an assistant professor at Carnegie Mellon University.  She joined the Michigan Ross faculty as an assistant professor in 1991, and was promoted to associate professor in 1995 and to professor in 2000. She was the Jack D. Sparks – Whirlpool Corporation Research Professor of Business Administration from 2005-07 and has held the William Davidson Professor of Business Administration chair since 2010. 

“I am truly honored and excited to serve Michigan Ross as interim dean,” said Lafontaine, who also is a professor of business economics at Michigan Ross and professor of economics at U-M’s College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. “I look forward to working with the Ross community and with colleagues throughout campus in this new capacity. This will surely be one of the greatest experiences of my career.”

From 2016-20, Lafontaine served as the senior associate dean for faculty and research at Michigan Ross. Prior to that, she served as the director at the Bureau of Economics for the U.S. Federal Trade Commission from fall of 2014 to the end of 2015. She also was the chair of the Business Economics and Public Policy group at Ross from 2003-2012.

Her research focuses on industrial organization, vertical relationships, contracting and franchising, and entrepreneurship, along with related public policy issues. She has received several research grants, including from the Sloan Foundation and the National Science Foundation.

Lafontaine’s awards and honors include the 2020-2021 Andy Andrews Service Award at Michigan Ross, the Ross senior faculty research award in 2012-2013, and an honorary doctorate from the University of Rennes 1 in 2013.  She served as president of the Society for Institutional & Organizational Economics in 2018-2019 and as president of the Industrial Organization Society from 2010-2012.

She earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree and master’s degree in applied economics from HEC Montreal at the University of Montreal. She received a PhD in economics from the University of British Columbia.

About Michigan Ross

The Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan is a diverse learning community grounded in the principle that business can be an extraordinary vehicle for positive change in today's dynamic global economy. The mission of Michigan Ross is to build a better world through business. Through thought and action, members of the Ross community drive change and innovation that improves business and society.

Michigan Ross is consistently ranked among the world's leading business schools. Academic degree programs include the BBA, MBA, part-time MBA (Evening, Weekend, and Online formats), Executive MBA, Global MBA, Master of Accounting, Master of Supply Chain Management, Master of Management, and PhD. In addition, the school delivers open-enrollment and custom executive education programs targeting general management, leadership development, and strategic human resource management. For more information, visit

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