INSEAD the business school for the world

A Pivotal Dean in INSEAD's History

Antonio Borges was a highly-respected dean, talented faculty member and widely-regarded business leader. He was chosen to head INSEAD’s MBA programme in 1986 after receiving a PhD in economics from Stanford in 1980 and returning there as a visiting professor. He served as dean of INSEAD from 1995 to 2000 after sharing the post with Ludo Van der Heyden from 1993 to 1995.

As dean, Antonio spearheaded INSEAD’s push to become an international business school by setting up a second campus in Singapore, which opened in 1999. He was proud to welcome the first Asia Campus promotion in September 1999 and presided over its first graduation ceremony in December 2000.

We will remember Antonio’s outstanding drive and vision for the school – a real transformation of INSEAD’s culture – moving from teaching to research and launching a rigorous recruitment campaign.  Antonio’s drive also meant advancements for Faculty and Research relating to compensation, evaluation and attention to research. During his tenure, he also raised €118m in donations, unheard of at that time for a European business school.

Under his deanship, INSEAD’s reputation grew considerably and he became the first and only Portuguese figure to have been featured on the cover of Fortune, the US magazine labeling INSEAD as ‘the school that virtually invented the concept of international business education”.

One distinguished professor, Economist Ilian Mihov, now dean of INSEAD, remembered:  “In economics departments it is anathema to move to a business school and at that time it was unheard of to go to Europe.  Antonio was the one who persuaded me to come to INSEAD.”

As Antonio’s Deanship drew to a close, he was honoured to receive the French Legion of Honour for his contribution.  He spoke fondly of his “French” experience, and after leaving us in 2000 to take up his position as Executive Director at Goldman Sachs he retained strong links with the school, seeing two of his sons join the MBA programme he used to lead. 

From Goldman Sachs, Antonio went on to hold key positions in the banking sector, serving also as Director for Europe of the International Monetary Fund in 2010-2011. 

Last year, Antonio accepted an invitation from Pedro Passos Coelho, Portugal’s prime minister, to oversee the privatisation and renegotiation of public-private partnerships that Lisbon is undertaking as part of a €78bn bailout programme agreed with the EU and IMF. The prime minister praised Borges this week for his “lucidity and determination”.

We will remember Antonio as a remarkable man who played a significant role in shaping INSEAD’s history and who contributed to make the school what it is today.